Downshift vs Braking – Which is Better?Jun 26th, 2015
A common debate among stick-shifting drivers is whether to downshift or brake with their vehicle. Supporters of downshifting argue that it eliminates the wear and tear of your brakes while counterparts defend braking say you spend less money on gas and you don’t have to stress over potential engine and transmission damage.
The main reason why people choose to downshift (or engine brake) is to save money on their brake system. Not having to spend extra money on brake pads, discs and rotors can help the driver save a fair bit of money in the long run. Let’s be honest, there’s also the joy a driver feels when the rumble of a downshifting engine kicks in!
However, downshifting puts added strain on the engine and transmission. These parts are far more costly to replace than the brake system. In addition, studies have shown that engine braking does chew up more gas than regular braking. While the amount of extra gas may not be a overly significant, the long term savings can be substantial.
Unless you’re on a hill where constant braking would be impractical, you should probably avoid downshifting. It may be fun to hear the exhaust grumbling when you drive, but it won’t be fun when you find out you need your engine or transmition replaced.