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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Occasionally when I drive around in sport mode, I like using the paddle shifters to downshift into a lower gear say 5th to 3rd to increase engine braking. My RPM's raise to about 3500 - 4k, and this does help slow my Mini down without having to use the brakes as much. There's also some sweet popping that occurs from the tailpipes too. :p

I'm wondering though, is it ok on the car to do this occasionally? Or is it always best to just use the brakes?

Thanks
 

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Engine braking is quite normal and the advised way of slowing down when brakes are not immediately required, in some quarters.

Why not go to 4th before going into 3rd? Might help relieve any excess stress in the drive train.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Engine braking is quite normal and the advised way of slowing down when brakes are not immediately required, in some quarters.

Why not go to 4th before going into 3rd? Might help relieve any excess stress in the drive train.
Being an auto, it does force me to go to 4th first, but I usually blip the paddle again to third after a couple seconds. Not much engine braking seems to occur at 4th in the auto for some reason. I give it some time to make sure it's not near redline when I downshift again. Is it putting a lot of stress on the drivetrain to go into third with the RPM's at 3500 - 4k? I believe the auto rev matches correct?
 

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No it's ok to be used like that for sports use . However It does put more stress on the drive train so not all the time. It will probably stop you changing to a gear that would over rev the car though ? That's why now learners are generally taught to brake with brakes not engine. Cheaper to replace!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No it's ok to be used like that for sports use . However It does put more stress on the drive train so not all the time. It will probably stop you changing to a gear that would over rev the car though ? That's why now learners are generally taught to brake with brakes not engine. Cheaper to replace!
Yes, the manual states that the auto transmission will not allow you to shift into a lower gear that would damage the engine.

Overall though, occasionally doing so won't damage things right? Like before entering a corner, or sometimes coasting up to a stop light? Or for those nice pops and burbles? :p

Most the time I just let it downshift itself even when in manual mode. I've just been experimenting with engine braking recently.
 

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Honestly, I believe the answer lies in the driver's knowledge of the car and what it "feels like". If you've truly "become one with the car" like you should try to be, you won't do anything that will overstress the engine, valvetrain, or braking system. You will know when you're getting into dangerous territory.

Of course, some people just push the limits without caring much, but I've never be able to do that. Time behind the wheel should answer your question IMO.

I wouldn't rely on safety overrides to save myself from being over exuberant if I were you. Work up slowly to that territory where you could cause serious damage, and feel your way carefully, if you must go there.

Time is your friend (experience will grow), driving overly aggressive without "feeling things" is what keeps mechanics busy!
 
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There's no harm in that. Both your engine and gearbox is full of software to prevent you to do anything that would break the engine or the gearbox. Yes, it does strain the drivetrain but it's designed to be strained. That's what it's for. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Honestly, I believe the answer lies in the driver's knowledge of the car and what it "feels like". If you've truly "become one with the car" like you should try to be, you won't do anything that will overstress the engine, valvetrain, or braking system. You will know when you're getting into dangerous territory.

Of course, some people just push the limits without caring much, but I've never be able to do that. Time behind the wheel should answer your question IMO.

I wouldn't rely on safety overrides to save myself from being over exuberant if I were you. Work up slowly to that territory where you could cause serious damage, and feel your way carefully, if you must go there.

Time is your friend (experience will grow), driving overly aggressive without "feeling things" is what keeps mechanics busy!
You bring up very good points. That is one thing I really like about the MINI is that you do feel very connected to the car. You can truly feel things out. I sort of put myself in the metality of what the car would think/feel if that makes sense. In this case, when driving I feel that I wouldn't want to shift into a gear any lower that would bring the RPM above 4k, as there's no need to, even for engine braking, or acceleration. Even then, I don't do this very frequently. I've never brought the car into a position that it's safety features would have to kick in to prevent damage, not even close, and I don't plan to. Sure I've got all the warranties, but I don't want to have to use them if I don't have to.
 

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Hi,

Occasionally when I drive around in sport mode, I like using the paddle shifters to downshift into a lower gear say 5th to 3rd to increase engine braking. My RPM's raise to about 3500 - 4k, and this does help slow my Mini down without having to use the brakes as much. There's also some sweet popping that occurs from the tailpipes too. :p

I'm wondering though, is it ok on the car to do this occasionally? Or is it always best to just use the brakes?

Thanks
Brakes are less costly than a new engine or drive-train.:eek:
 

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Im a driver trainer by profession and in a manual car the only time you would use engine braking is to keep in a lower gear on a very steep and or very long downhill slope.
In an auto, you could manually select a lower gear in the same situation to prevent an unwanted upward gearchange and loss of engine braking.


Dropping a gear and using engine braking also isn't a very economical way of driving.

I would however read the cars instruction manual as if you use the car in a way not intended there could be a problem with warranty if something goes badly wrong.
 

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Although engine braking should not cause any problems, mechanically, to a modern vehicle, it is not something I find myself doing probably because my first car was a Mk 1 Mini which had a suspect transmission and iffy lay gear which I had to treat with respect.

I only really use the brakes when approaching junctions anticipating a full stop, so though I may change down just for better control, I don't use the engine as a brake.
 

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It IS, however, the way to get those nice pops from the exhaust. Tried it with my steptronic the other night coming home from hockey... all the way down my road ha haaa ohh it was lovely
 

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Dropping a gear and using engine braking also isn't a very economical way of driving.

I would however read the cars instruction manual as if you use the car in a way not intended there could be a problem with warranty if something goes badly wrong.
Could you elaborate that a bit? What exactly is it that makes using engine breaking uneconomical? How on earth could engine braking void the warranty?

BTW, I currently have a VW Beetle 2.0TSI DSG and Alfa-Romeo Giulietta TCT. In the Alfa, the map is the 'right way' around (i.e. pull for bigger gear and push for smaller gear) and in Beetle the 'wrong way' (i.e. push for bigger gear and pull for smaller). Guess how many times I've accidentally pushed/pulled in a wrong gear while in manual mode? :) It scared the s**t out of me, when I was driving the Alfa, accelerating and accidentally pushed the stick for a bigger gear. (Had been driving the Beetle for couple of weeks.) Hit the limiter, sounded spectacular, but (of course) nothing was broken. >:D
 

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The auto gearbox will be designed to cope with any and all loads that the car can put on it.
Modern engines and gearboxes are put through unbelievably arduous testing conditions , and as mentioned before the gear box itself has protective systems that prevent you from changing down a gear when the road speed is too high or vice versa . So if that fails then it going to be covered by warranty anyway.

Enjoy the car - drive it how it suits you - It is designed, tested and built to take it !
 

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The auto gearbox will be designed to cope with any and all loads that the car can put on it.
Modern engines and gearboxes are put through unbelievably arduous testing conditions , and as mentioned before the gear box itself has protective systems that prevent you from changing down a gear when the road speed is too high or vice versa . So if that fails then it going to be covered by warranty anyway.

Enjoy the car - drive it how it suits you - It is designed, tested and built to take it !
You are so correct.

I've been driving myself for a while (never a passenger) but the other day I had to get a lift from a friend for 2x 2 hour journeys.

She drove a manual clubman in which she had mashed first gear so much that it was juddery to ****, so we started from a mangled second, burning up clutch, and then for some reason her practice was to skip third gear and go straight from 2 to 4. At this point we were at motorway speeds, and only at around 90 miles an hour would she change to fifth gear... and never used 6th.

Did I mention that the tire pressure warning system was flashing up the entire journey... And she said steering feels a bit funny... (I checked the tyres visually and they seemed OK).

We didn't die though so for her there was no reason to address these things.

I feel like cars can take a scary amount of beating. Remember that cars have been around so long that the mechanisms driving them have a common base technology which has been punished in millions of configurations across the planet, so briefly downshifting should be just fine.
 

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Mmm and they advertise the car on px one lady owner! As you say though, not wanting to be sexist it is amazing how most people seem to neglect cars these days, and converserly/perversely how reliable they are! Some never check fluids or tyres between services etc etc!
 
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Could you elaborate that a bit? What exactly is it that makes using engine breaking uneconomical? How on earth could engine braking void the warranty?

Engine braking/trailing throttle, ie coming off the gas is an economic way driving as you are reducing the gas and engine revs per minute. However dropping a gear whilst not reducing speed gives increased revs per minute therefore increased gas used.
Depending on the speed and lower gear selected and frequency of use, it could promote rapid engine braking, which obviously puts more strain on the transmission. Not saying it could void the warranty, I just said to read the handbook to check on the recommended use of manual shifting down.
 

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That's why now learners are generally taught to brake with brakes not engine. Cheaper to replace!

Agree brakes are cheaper than gearboxes and that statement has been used for decades, especially with truck drivers. However the reason that learners (and also advanced drivers) are taught 'brakes to slow, gears to go' is that brakes are more efficient these days and engines more flexible with 5 or 6 speed boxes so 'block' gear changes ie missing out gears is advocated on manual gearboxes.
Typically changing 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th up the box and 4th then braking to 2nd gear speed down the gearbox.


When I learnt to drive, my 1972 Vauxhall Viva had non servo drum brakes all round, 4 speed manual gearbox and there was little chance of missing gears out due to the inflexible engine, 4 speed box and the need for engine braking due to ineffective brakes :eek:.
The F56 is a big improvement on the R56 of 2007, but a giant leap forward on a 1972 Viva with hardly any brakes or safety features :laugh:
 

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... However dropping a gear whilst not reducing speed gives increased revs per minute therefore increased gas used.
Agreed. The discussion topic was about engine braking, so I thought the discussion was about reducing speed with engine braking. :D

Revving up is fun, but uneconomical. i do both. I guess I'm using engine breaking to compensate the revving >:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Not saying it could void the warranty, I just said to read the handbook to check on the recommended use of manual shifting down.
I have read the handbook regarding manual shifting, and it just says that it won't allow a downshift if the engine speed is too high, same as upshift if it'll stall or lug the engine. It'll also automatically upshift if it's going to hit the rev limiter. Other then that there's no recommendation on how to use this feature.
 
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