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Braking, the rules

Following upon recent correspondence in the IAM magazine, I would appreciate your view on the method of holding an automatic car stationary, with the engine running, for short periods of time whilst in traffic. It is my practice to engage neutral, stop and apply the handbrake if required. The advice given is to keep the gear-box in "Drive", with the handbrake applied, but this seems to me to be a conflicting combination, resulting in unnecessary strain on the clutch.

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If the parking brake is effective, the IAM suggestion will work. If the parking brake is not effective, it won't. But as long as you keep your foot off the accelerator and there is nothing wrong with the idle speed, drive should not be engaged against the brakes. However, drive can engage when the engine is running at slightly higher revs during the engine warm-up period, which lasts longer in cold weather, so that will put a strain on the transmission. I always put autos in ‘N’ if the stop is likely to be prolonged. Once vehicles have drawn up behind you don’t stand on the footbrake because that can fry the retinas of the driver behind you.
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