The neutral gear serves an essential function for manual drivers. Before you drive a manual transmission, the vehicle must be placed in neutral first. Automotive drivers can move straight into the drive gear and take off, leaving some wondering what purpose the neutral gear serves. Neutral isn’t necessarily a gear; it’s a state when no gear is engaged on the vehicle. In an automatic transmission, the wheels continue to spin independently of the gas pedal, so the car keeps moving. While in neutral, the gas pedal does nothing to speed the vehicle; no power from the pedal is transmitted to the wheels. Neutral is rarely engaged in most driving trips, leaving some automatic drivers wondering – when should you shift into neutral?
During A Drive-Thru Car Wash
Most drive-through car washes have an automotive system that requires the car to be placed in the neutral gear to move and stop fluidly through the scrubs.
If the Car Is Stuck
If the vehicle is stuck or stalled, you may need to give it a push to move it. Before the car can be pushed, it should be placed in the neutral gear. Pushing a vehicle is a two-person job; one person can steer the vehicle while others can push. The neutral gear is handy during stalled emergencies.
During a Tow, if there Isn’t a Dolly
Placing the vehicle in neutral during a tow isn’t ideal or suggested unless the tow truck is missing a dolly. The neutral gear is helpful without a dolly as it keeps the engine on and prevents the transmission from succumbing to significant damage.
To Park Safely During Brake Failure
If the brakes fail during a drive, most people assume it’s best to turn the engine off. This is the wrong idea because turning off the engine also stops all control of the steering wheel. Placing the car into neutral during brake failure is the safest method as it allows you to steer the vehicle to a safe place.
Neutral allows your car to coast. The neutral gear isn’t used often, but it’s always a great idea to know the best times to engage it. The neutral gear should primarily be used during emergencies and mechanical failure. If you find your vehicle stuck or pedals not working, neutral would be a safe decision.