Is coasting in neutral bad for a manual transmission car?

The answer to this question is yes. Even though coasting in neutral may not have any real negative effect on the internal mechanics of a manual transmission car, it can still cause considerable damage to the clutch system and the brakes.

Therefore, before a driver tries to save on their gas bills by coasting down a steep hill, it is best to do your research first.

Fortunately, there is information online that explains why coasting in neutral in a manual transmission car can cause a certain amount of damage to the brakes and the clutch. With this in mind, here are a few things that you may want to know.

Causes Damage to the Clutch System

Whenever a driver decides to coast down a hill in a manual transmission car, it usually causes a chain of events to occur. One of the most significant is it leads to the overuse of certain parts inside the clutch, which is called the throw-out bearing.

The throw-out bearing is one of the components in the clutch system that serves a specific function. For instance, the throw-out bearing is designed to disengage the engine of a manual car while the clutch pedal is being pressed.

Consequently, while the car is coasting in neutral, the throw-out bearing may be under severe stress for extended periods. This added stress may even cause the clutch to fail.

It can be quite costly to replace this faulty part. For example, if you take your car to a local mechanic shop, they may charge between $30 to $800 since it requires dismantling the entire clutch mechanic to complete these repairs.

Causes Damage to the Braking System

It is also important to note that the brakes can be damaged when coasting in neutral, too. The braking system is normally the part of a manual car that suffers the most.

Since coasting significantly increases the load on the brakes of a manual transmission car, the brake pads and brake disc will wear out at a much higher rate. This is normally because more braking force is required when the car is coasting in neutral.

Otherwise, the resistance from the engine usually helps with slowing down the vehicle without the use of the footbrake. In essence, there is less wear and tear on the braking system if the car is driven normally without coasting in neutral.

Is it better to coast in neutral or in gear?

With the cost of gas continuing to skyrocket, many car owners are doing everything that they can to save on the cost of fuel. In some cases, saving more on fuel may even mean coasting downhill.

For instance, if the driver would like to save gas, they may take their foot entirely off the pedal. By removing the foot from the pedal, the car will automatically coast down steep hills.

However, before the driver starts coasting, they will also have to determine if it is better to coast in neutral or in gear. With that being said, here are the key differences between driving in each.

Coasting in Neutral

As mentioned above, when coasting in neutral, the braking system and the clutch can sustain a significant amount of costly damage. Therefore, if you want to prevent unnecessary damage to your vehicle, coasting in neutral is not recommended at all.

Coasting in Gear

On the flip side, when the clutch and gear are both in, the driver can coast easily without these problems.

This is primarily because the coasting in gear method can manage the strain without putting excess pressure on the clutch or the braking system.


Based on information supported by many different auto manufacturing and car repair sites, coasting in neutral in a manual transmission car can damage specific parts of the vehicle.

Over time, the clutch and braking system can be damaged to excessive wear and tear. Therefore, if a car owner would like for their manual transmission car to remain in good working condition, it is much better to coast the car in gear to eliminate these issues.

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