While many drivers think they have figured out a hack that is saving them paying extra in fuel prices, experts warn that they could be causing more damage than they realise.
A survey of 1,000 drivers found that 45 per cent admit to driving in neutral – also known as ‘coasting’.
This so called hack could be doing some serious damage to their vehicles, not to mention putting them at risk of a fine, according to car hire price comparison website LeaseLoco, who conducted the study, Wales Online reports.
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By coasting, drivers risk a fine of a £1,000 – and hundreds of pounds in garage bills AS rule 122 of the Highway Code states that: “Coasting, a term describing a vehicle travelling in neutral or with the clutch pressed down, can reduce driver control,” Wales Online reports.
Coasting reduces driver control in the following ways:
engine braking is eliminated
vehicle speed downhill will increase quickly
increased use of the footbrake can reduce its effectiveness
steering response will be affected, particularly on bends and corners
it may be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed
Failure to have proper control of a vehicle can result in a potential fine of £1,000 or even discretionary disqualification, warns LeaseLoco.
The firm’s chief executive John Wilmot said: “Coasting is no longer beneficial to energy efficiency due to the fuel system in the majority of modern cars.”
“When we drive downhill in gear our engine ECU detects that the accelerator isn’t engaged and cuts fuel from going into the fuel injectors. We use no fuel or very little when driving downhill in gear.
“However, when we drive downhill in neutral our engine and wheels become disconnected.
“This forces a small amount of fuel to be sent to the engine due to the car not receiving the rotational power it needs from the wheels, instead of drawing that power directly from the wheels.”
LeaseLoco also said ‘coasting’ can cause damage to vehicles – which could also be a costly motoring mistake.
You will wear out your brakes much quicker
When driving in neutral, drivers become reliant on the mechanical brakes due to the engine brakes disengaging. This can wear out the mechanical brakes much quicker. Also, because you are more likely to be going much faster than usual, as mentioned above, you are going to be braking with much more force required over the same journey, meaning brake discs and pads wear at a quicker rate.
Coasting with the clutch down is also going to cost you a lot more in the long run
The clutch release bearing is the part of the clutch system that disengages the engine while the clutch pedal is pressed down. If this clutch release bearing is under stress for longer periods than is necessary you’ll need to replace it quicker than usual. A faulty clutch release bearing requires the dismantling of the entire clutch mechanism so it can cost a lot more than many may anticipate.
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