It’s one of those words. Depending upon how you spell it, the words can take on drastically different meanings. (If you’re into English, you’ll recognize that as a homonym or homophone.) Although an engine breaking is a terrible circumstance, engine braking can actually be a great concept. So, what is it? Engine braking is an alternative way of slowing your vehicle. Specifically, instead of pressing the brake pedal, you lift off the accelerator and downshift. When you’re off the accelerator, your engine takes in less air and, therefore, has no choice other than to produce less power. Although engine braking is more often associated with manual transmissions where the driver does the downshifting, it can also be used with automatic transmissions. In that case the vehicle does the work for you. For more information on braking topics and to get exceptional brake repairs, visit Lewis Automotive in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Your automobile’s brake pedal is a wonderful tool. It allows you to slow and stop your car as the need arises. However, there are also some benefits to staying off the pedal and taking advantage of engine braking as appropriate and when it’s safe to do so. Most obviously, it can help your brakes last longer. Each time you engage the braking system, you’re generating friction. The heat and rubbing eventually wear out certain components, necessitating brake repair. Conversely, each time you’re able to slow down without using brakes, you’re saving that small amount of abrasion. Over time, this can extend the usable life of the components. What’s more, you’ll actually use less fuel. Instead of hurtling at full throttle (which uses a lot of fuel) and then ending the run with a hard braking maneuver–and then repeating–letting off the accelerator stops fuel consumption earlier. At today’s pump prices, saving a bit now and a bit later can really add up to a benefit for your wallet. As with any automotive suggestion, use good judgment and common sense. Engine braking is not always appropriate, and it should never be your strategy if you need to make an emergency stop. Also, be kind to your transmission if you decide to employ engine braking. Don’t downshift from high speeds or skip gears.
Even if you “save” your brakes with proper maintenance, careful driving, and using engine braking when possible, you’ll eventually need brake services and repairs. Fortunately, expert brake repair is close by at Lewis Automotive. We’ve been family-owned and operated for more than 50 years.