Going into neutral at stop lights?

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I found myself going into neutral at long interval stop lights lately.

Aside from the general coolant and transmission fluid/filter maintenance, my theory is this will help cool the transmission and hopefully prolong its lifespan.
Heat is the number one killer in most transmissions. I think this especially holds true if in a hotter climate area blasting the AC at max capacity. On top of that, I believe going into neutral reduces clutch pack wear inside the transmission as well as reduce heat produced by the torque converter.

I've read mixed opinions on this, some say it's not worth it, others say it will help minimally, what's your opinion?
 
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Maybe for a cop car parked on the side of the road for hours at a time, or if your car has a mechanical problem that causes it run rough at idle in gear, but this more like an OCD issue. Transmissions go hundreds of thousands of miles without doing this, so why bother? If you're stationary that long, turn off the engine and save some gas at least. In a few years this will be moot as most people will drive EVs.
 
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On top of that, I believe going into neutral reduces clutch pack wear inside the transmission as well as reduce heat produced by the torque converter.

I've read mixed opinions on this, some say it's not worth it, others say it will help minimally, what's your opinion?
Every time you put it back in gear, the clutches engage to bring the freewheeling parts to a stop, putting wear on them. The clutches are not moving against each other leaving it in gear, so you're actually putting more wear on the clutches by doing that.
 

CKN

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I found myself going into neutral at long interval stop lights lately.

Aside from the general coolant and transmission fluid/filter maintenance, my theory is this will help cool the transmission and hopefully prolong its lifespan.
Heat is the number one killer in most transmissions. I think this especially holds true if in a hotter climate area blasting the AC at max capacity. On top of that, I believe going into neutral reduces clutch pack wear inside the transmission as well as reduce heat produced by the torque converter.

I've read mixed opinions on this, some say it's not worth it, others say it will help minimally, what's your opinion?

Driving in the Sunbelt for over 45 years and never doing this I would say you are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
 
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lube_n00b

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Sitting there in neutral is fine and all... until something goes wrong around you. Reaction time is going to be a lot longer if you have to get the vehicle back in gear before you're able to move (and avoid something).
Very valid point from safety perspective. But in the case that you get rear ended, leaving the trans in neutral vs park won't leave your transmission broken. Still probably better to leave it in drive in one of those scenarios though.
Maybe for a cop car parked on the side of the road for hours at a time, or if your car has a mechanical problem that causes it run rough at idle in gear, but this more like an OCD issue. Transmissions go hundreds of thousands of miles without doing this, so why bother? If you're stationary that long, turn off the engine and save some gas at least. In a few years this will be moot as most people will drive EVs.
Newer transmissions don't seem to(CVTs). I know manual transmissions and a few automatics have, but most transmission will die before the engine does.
Bad idea. You'll forget it's in neutral and hit the gas and go nowhere then drop it in drive.

I've had vehicles with trans temp readouts and sitting in drive stopped doesn't increase temp.
it hasn't happened to me yet, but true, it definitely can, although I don't think that's a huge issue, it's just embarrassing and probably annoying to those behind you😅
Every time you put it back in gear, the clutches engage to bring the freewheeling parts to a stop, putting wear on them. The clutches are not moving against each other leaving it in gear, so you're actually putting more wear on the clutches by doing that.
Didn't think about this, very valid reason to change the way I drive.
 
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Constantly engaging and disengaging an automatic transmission at stop lights over the long haul will do more harm than good, it isn't doing the clutches any favors. Part of the torque converter's job is to allow a vehicle to sit at lights in Drive. At a rail road crossing where you're going to sit several minutes taking out of gear makes it easier on the driver, that's the only time I shift into neutral.
 

lube_n00b

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I wonder what happened to old Charles?
Very heated thread lol. Case settled, I'll stop doing this now.
 

Pew

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Maybe in very specific circumstances it would. For example, the DCTs in the Evo (SST) and the Focus (PowerShift) have some sort of pressure that's still applied when at a stop while in gear. The Evo was IIRC, 5% pressure when at a stop; so as awesome as the SST was when it was released, had a common issue of needing a rebuild before 100K miles if driven around town alot. One of the ways to alleviate that issue was go stay in Sport mode so the initial clamping forces were higher and by going into N when at a stop.

These are specific cases though so 99.99999% of the time you'd be fine.
 
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my theory is this will help cool the transmission
If your car offers the data (via a scanner, for example), monitor the ATF temperate and see if it really makes much difference. I suspect it won't.... Then look at the safety aspect (others have alluded to already) and personally, I'd leave it in drive.
 
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Before I would do that, I'd:
1) ensure im using full synthetic ATF to combat heat.
2) if you're that concerned, add an oil cooler.
3) change fluid at a severe interval.
those three will be far more effective.
 
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Been doing this for years - or even put it in park.

I get so worn out with traffic and red lights.... I refuse to have to hold the brake down for what is mounting up to be several minutes..... more minutes stopped than going.

Yes, I have been told and heard from many techs over the years that putting it in neutral allows some cooling to take place.
 

lube_n00b

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Before I would do that, I'd:
1) ensure im using full synthetic ATF to combat heat.
2) if you're that concerned, add an oil cooler.
3) change fluid at a severe interval.
those three will be far more effective.
My car runs on Dexron-II/III, but I'll look into the oil cooler idea
 
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Considering I don't own any auto transmission vehicles, I do the same myself.
(y)
Same here, but only for extended lights, not if I'm first in line (so I don't make everyone behind me wait after it turns green while I put into gear), and not if I'm last (in case some idiot comes up behind me at ramming speed, so I can get out of its way).
 
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