Is engine braking all the time bad in the long run?

  1. WCELingad

    WCELingad Senior Member

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    I have an hour and a half commute to work everyday and my route is going through mountains which is a very steep long windy downhill road and I've been using L all the time when I come to the point that the road starts going downhill. My concern is can frequently shifting between D to L whenever I go downhill eventually damage the transmission or shorten its life?
     
  2. bb49

    bb49 Member

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    I'm interested in hearing the truth to this too.
    I've been down shifting automatics for decades and never had an issue, running some of the vehicles up to 100,000 miles.
    And yes, I do downshift my CVT Civic.
     
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  3. jred721

    jred721 Senior Member

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    In short, no it can't. Engine braking reduces premature wear of your brakes so it does more good rather than harming anything. Shifting to L does increase your RPM but that shouldn't be an issue if you're going downhill because you aren't accelerating that much. If you're shifting to L in situations where you are going down a steep hill or are going downhill for a really long time, there should be no damage to your trans whatsoever. Frequently shifting between D and L isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless your doing it obsessively), it probably causes more wear on the shifter than the actual trans lol.
     
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  4. OP
    WCELingad

    WCELingad Senior Member

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    Thank you, this gave me a peace of mind now lol.
     
  5. coo1rim

    coo1rim Senior Member

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    definite no for manual transmission. For regular automatic, Once it's in gear you're ok, it's the shifting to and from that puts some wear. With CVT, since there isn't no gear, probably how much the rubber band can handle (having the rubber band do it vs the brakes).

    I remember coming down Maui's mountain very rapidly in Subaru CVT while working the gear hard. At the start of the trip a hand-glider was a blip below me and in no time he was a blip above me... the Subi handled it beautifully. In another trip, I did it in dodge Journy which also had a CVT. That car didn't feel happy after that trip.
     
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  6. OP
    WCELingad

    WCELingad Senior Member

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    Mine is up to 70,000 miles after owning it since 2016 and I've only recently started utilizing engine braking for the last 3,000 miles. I hope to continue doing this as I've been told that it is much safer than using my brakes so that I avoid overheating my brake pads according to one of my coworkers at work.
     
  7. OP
    WCELingad

    WCELingad Senior Member

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    Since CVT doesn't have a gear would it be ok to go from D to L at a moderate to high speed like 45+ mph?

    I usually shift to L at 30 mph speed.
     
  8. MDB

    MDB Member

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    Why would that be not ok? My understanding is that D and L are just different presets used by a computer that controls CVT so that it uses a lower virtual 'gear, but always within the a safe range. That's what that computer is for. I have paddles that I use them to affect gear ratio all the time at any speed, to me it's just another control in addition to gas and brake. Changing between D and L occasionally at whatever speed is nothing compared to that.
     
  9. latole

    latole Civic Lx 2018 Manual , Civic LX 2016 Manual

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    It is a case by case, how you shift, speed...
    Brake pads are less expensive than a CVT
     
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  10. MDB

    MDB Member

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    The question is whether it's at all possible to cause increased CVT wear by engine braking.

    Moving D to L must be safe in any situation, since it's computer-controlled.

    Using paddles must be way more foolproof than engine-braking with manual transmission. You can't over-rev the engine no matter what you do because the TCU will not allow you, and you can't cause extensive clutch wear, because the clutch is not involved at all. And no matter what you do engine-breaking cannot result in G-forces comparable to hard acceleration, so even if you do it wrong you should not be cable cause noticeably more CVT wear than otherwise.
     
  11. latole

    latole Civic Lx 2018 Manual , Civic LX 2016 Manual

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    If you are a CVT expert you must be right
     
  12. coo1rim

    coo1rim Senior Member

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    Wrong, you assume manual drivers don't know how to drive. Usually the case when none manual driver is posting about manual. Or they think they know how to drive cause then can get it into gear without stalling. LOL
     
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  13. MDB

    MDB Member

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    Wrong. Please quote where I assumed that.
     
  14. racer

    racer Senior Member

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    While it shouldn't damage your transmission, it may promote a desire to make sure that the CVT fluid does not overheat or gets changed more frequently.. This likely falls under some "heavy use" guideline from the manufacturer. Like in the old days they would say, change your oil every "x" thousand miles.. and then in the fine print would talk about accelerated change cycles under "heavy conditions" - like towing or hills or dusty conditions. Also, since the car doesn't have a CVT Temp gauge, you won't know how hot it gets and if the fluid is getting to hot.

    And, while there is nothing wrong with using your transmission to moderate/slow the car, brake pads/fluid are more than capable nowadays. Guess it comes down to "feel".
     
  15. n2da2nd

    n2da2nd Senior Member

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    I use it from time to time on my CVT. However I would not use it too much since CVT costs more than brake pads. Again, I don't know if downshifting might or might not affect our car in a long term, but avoid risks as much as you can.
     
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