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Long Downhills Everyday (Downshift of Use Brakes?)

 
Old 12-03-14, 01:59 PM
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HanaleiISF
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Default Long Downhills Everyday (Downshift of Use Brakes?)

I live up a steep canyon road that is about 4 miles down without stop signs (the speed limit is 30 mph and is heavily patrolled). What would cause less stress and expense on the car in the long run downshifting or using the brakes? We do this trip at least 2 times a day. People have told me that replacing the brakes is cheaper than replacing the transmission, but I wanted to know what CL thought.
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Old 12-03-14, 02:20 PM
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I'd use my brakes. Seems less stressful. Open up the windows if you want too.
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Old 12-03-14, 02:36 PM
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4 miles of steep canyon road, I would use engine braking first. and apply brakes if you need the extra oomph. Brakes are cheaper, but you don't want them to overheat if you're riding them too long. I don't know the capability of the 3IS brakes, but I wouldn't want to find out going down a canyon.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:18 AM
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Mix and match. I spread out the use of both evenly.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:23 AM
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The owners manual says to use engine braking when possible to preserve the brakes.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:34 PM
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brakes are cheap, transmission is not
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Old 12-04-14, 11:51 PM
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Brakes are cheaper, but downshift one or two gears to keep from riding the brakes too much.

Gary
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Old 12-05-14, 05:05 AM
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Swacer
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Originally Posted by unowned View Post
brakes are cheap, transmission is not
+1

Using the engine to brake on a regular basis is bad on the drive train. This applies to both Sticks and Autos.

Brake pads are always cheaper than transmission components.
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Old 12-05-14, 05:58 AM
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It really is not going to affect the life of the drivetrain noticeable using engine braking.

For long downhill canyon roads you should absolutely not be using the brakes to keep your speed. You will overheat the brake system and not have it when needed. Most large canyon roads/highways even have signs posted telling you this as well as having runaway truck ramps for exactly this reason.

Mike
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Old 12-05-14, 06:07 AM
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And they're on a 30 mph road, shouldn't be higher than 4th or 5th gear AWD.

Gary
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Old 12-05-14, 06:56 AM
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The canyon road is pretty steep, so I have to keep it in 3rd gear in my AWD all the way down. Coming up is a blast everyday though, since the speed traps are positioned for cars speeding down the canyon. Thank you for the suggestions everyone.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:07 AM
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When driving a manual transmission car I always leave it in a lower gear. I always thought that was what everyone did. I do not see why it would be any different from an automatic car.

Last edited by darkdream; 12-06-14 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by darkdream View Post
When driving a manual transmission car I always leave it in a lower gear. I always thought that was what everyone did. I do not see why it would be any difference from an automatic car.
I agree, drove a stick for 9 years, engine braking, rev matching, all the time and never had any issues. I only changed the clutch once after 95k miles. My father has 265k miles on his stick shift work truck, only 2 clutches and a couple of drive belts, same driving habits. He's very religous about the 3k mile oil changes though. I'm sure as long as you're not keeping the revs too high for too long, shouldn't be too bad.
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Old 12-05-14, 01:45 PM
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Both: downshift to slow down the car and then use the brakes lightly to bring yourself to a stop
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Old 12-05-14, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by unowned View Post
brakes are cheap, transmission is not
Originally Posted by Swacer View Post
Brake pads are always cheaper than transmission components.
You guys realize we're not talking about a flat road right? I know this is one of the most common phrase being passed around and I think it's being said without much thought. If you're attempting to stop, then the statement holds true, use your brakes. If you're going down a steep hill, use engine braking to maintain speed but obviously use your brakes for a complete stop.

The last thing on many people's mind going down a steep road is how much it costs to replace brakes vs some transmission part. Get me down that hill safely and I'll worry about the consequence later (doubtful). Assess the situation and make your call.
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