Protect brake pads and get better fuel economy with engine braking!


Posted by: Okenwa Emeka

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Engine braking is one way to slow down your motor vehicle you probably didn't know of. Read on to know how to engine brake like a pro to get better fuel economy!

One way or the other most drivers have probably used engine braking and not know this as it isn’t a common phenomenon amongst road users. Note that the engine braking method is not as efficient as using the brake pedal because you can only use this method to bring the motor vehicle to a sudden halt. If you are looking to have a new driving experience though you should make it a habit.

1. What is engine braking?

Engine braking occurs when a driver allows the engine components of the motor vehicle to bring it to a slow stop. This is done by taking the foot off the accelerator and downshifting gears. 

2. Advantages of engine braking: better driving experience and fuel economy

You will probably hear a few folks say engine braking isn’t good but contrary to this opinion, here are a few advantages of engine braking

  • It gives you a better driving experience
  • It boycotts the need to use the brake pedal which helps to preserve and increase the lifespan of your brake pads.
  • It reduces fuel usage as a result of the closed throttle mechanism in the engines mechanical process.
  • It helps saving the burn in your disc as you descend a hill or steep area using the engine braking method. This also saves your brake pad from wear and tear.


Engine braking reduces the risk of brake disc burning due to over heating

3. How to engine brake

This video shows a practical example on how to engine brake with both manual transmission and automatic transmission motor vehicles.

Although the engine braking is mostly used with heavy trucks, diesels car engines and manual transmission vehicles, it can be applied also in automatic transmission vehicles as seen in the video illustration below.

Engine braking on both manual and automatic transmission vehicles.

Engine braking is good for your car although if not properly done can cause increase in wear on the cluth plate during downshifting.

So get on engine braking rave and save yourself a few extra bucks from changing your brake pad frequently. 

>>> Have you done this before: Press the brake and the clutch pedals at the same time: What are the risks?

4. Safety measures to take when engine brake

In case of an emergency where the brake still functions, use the brake pedal as the engine braking will not bring your car to a sudden halt. You only apply the engine braking when there is a clear distance between your motor vehicle and that in front of you.

With engine braking, you are slowing down your motor vehicle without using your brake pedal thus your brake light indicator isn’t going to come on. While this is an advantage seeing every time you engage your brake where not necessary and your lights come on, the car in your rear has to do the same. This could be misleading in the same way, when you slow down without any indication to your rear oncoming motor vehicle, there could be a collision from behind. So ensure you are quite a distance from the motor vehicle on your rear also. The engine braking is best applied in case of a brake malfunction or when driving down a steep road.

It is safest to engine brake on a steep road with other motor vehicles not driving too close to you

There is a difference between engine braking and clutch braking. While the former is not harmful to your motor vehicle the latter is. In a manual motor vehicle, when transmitting on a low gear and you apply the engine braking, the engine speed and the wheel speed don’t match up, which may cause severe damage to your clutch. This is the reason for the general assumption that engine braking is bad because it is often mistaken for clutch braking.

>>> Check out other articles on driving safe and smart by Naijauto experts!

Okenwa Emeka
Okenwa Emeka

Okenwa Emeka


Okenwa Emeka is a prolific writer who combines his content creation skills with a strong passion for automobiles to make engaging articles for Naija car lovers. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CAM with a diploma in digital marketing. 

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