Skillful engine braking – how to do it?
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Skillful engine braking – how to do it?

Engine braking technique can be extremely useful and helpful for drivers, but many people do not know how to brake with the engine, because this element of driving is overlooked when learning. How should engine braking be done properly?

In a nutshell, engine braking involves slowing down your car with the help of the engine, which, when it stops receiving air when you close the throttle, begins to produce a braking force. In this way, you can slow down your car without using the braking system, and thus slow down the wear and tear on your car. 

Why is engine braking used?

Braking systems in civilian passenger cars are quite simple and usually consist of small discs along with pads and calipers. They are not designed to work longer under load. Therefore, after a few hard brakes, you may find that the braking efficiency has significantly decreased, and this is already quite a danger. For this reason, many drivers help themselves with the engine, the use of which reduces brake wear. 

Engine braking is useful especially in the mountains, where a prolonged descent without braking would lead to acceleration to dangerous speeds. However, the brakes may not be able to withstand the constant slowing of the car, so in the mountains you should use engine braking as much as possible, reducing to third or even second gear, which will allow you to maintain a safe speed during mountain driving. 

How to brake properly with the engine?

To start decelerating with the engine, you must first of all let off the gas. At this point, de facto, we are already braking just with the drive unit. However, in order for this to be effective, it is important to remember that we can not drive with the clutch depressed, and it is necessary to choose the right gear ratio to effectively brake our car. 

Braking will be most effective in lower gears, but you need to reach them gradually. In the case of cars with gasoline engines, the gear ratio is best changed at about 2,500 rpm and very gently release the clutch, so as not to jerk the car, and also not to increase clutch wear. In this way, we reduce gears until the second gear, and at the very end we usually help ourselves to brake to zero with the brakes. 

When should you not engine brake?

Engine braking should be considered especially when it is slippery. Then too aggressive braking with the engine can make the car go into a skid, and this, as you know, can turn into a very dangerous situation. Therefore, in difficult conditions, engine braking must be carried out with great care. 

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