Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

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AverageSnowflake
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Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by AverageSnowflake » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:21 pm

Hello Community,

I'm new here, but after reading some of the posts, it seems like a great group of people. I know this has been asked before, but I figured I'd bring it up again, as I have been reading mixed responses.

My wife and I were out in our 2014 Subaru Outback. When we came to a stop at a light, I notice that she pulled the shift knob into neutral, but I didn't see her use the clutch. I asked about it, and she said she always drives like this.

She is usually the one to drive the car, as the storage space is nice for groceries, and it's easier for her to put our daughter in the car seat (while I'm meanwhile stuck with our boring hybrid for my long daily commutes). Needless to say, when I'm home, I will almost always drive the Outback. This is why I never noticed her behavior before.

The next time I took the car out, I tried the method. I noticed that the shift knob will easily slide out of gear into neutral as you slow to a stop. This makes sense mechanically; I had just never thought about it before. I had always used the clutch when putting the car in neutral, but apparently it isn't necessary.

She's been driving like this for about two years now. Is she putting unnecessary wear on the transmission? I joked that she should "stop being lazy," she just laughed and said "old habits die hard, and I have enough to think about when I'm driving aside from minor shifting habits" (which is certainly true). However, If it's damaging the car, I'll be sure to bring it up again.

Sorry for the long story, and thanks in advance for any replies.
2014 All-Wheel-Drive Subaru Outback with a 6-speed MT.

2005 Front-Wheel-Drive Honda Civic Hybrid with a 4-speed AT. (The Boring One).

IMBoring25
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Re: Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by IMBoring25 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:39 pm

As long as it's done when there's no load through the transmission, either by doing it at the right speed or by applying the right amount of throttle, it does no harm. If it comes out of gear easily and smoothly, no harm, no foul. If you ever have a time that you try it and it doesn't easily and smoothly pull out of gear, don't force it. If you have any question about what needs to happen from that stage, use the clutch.

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potownrob
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Re: Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by potownrob » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:30 pm

What IMB said. Only thing is shifting into the next gear without the clutch, even if there's no resistance and it goes right into gear, can cause unnecessary wear on a synchronized gearbox. I'll have to find where I read about that. It went into more detail than anything I recall reading on the SS.
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AverageSnowflake
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Re: Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by AverageSnowflake » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:59 pm

Thank you for the responses.

IMB, I let her know not to force it, and she says she never does. She just pulls gently until it comes easily out of gear.

Potownrob, regarding upshifting, we both always use the clutch for that. That's one of the main functions of the device!

I think you're right though. Unless you're matching the speed of the engine to the speed of the tires closely, I imagine such habits would put unnecessary wear on the synchronizers. Their job would seem harder if the transmission gears are moving. If you found that source, I'd be interested in reading it.

Regardless, I don't think we're in any hurry to abandon the clutch for shifting entirely. It's one thing to pull the shifter out of neutral when stopping, but not using the clutch to shift in general... we might as well get a manumatic car! And who wants that?

Thanks again for the responses. Best to all.
2014 All-Wheel-Drive Subaru Outback with a 6-speed MT.

2005 Front-Wheel-Drive Honda Civic Hybrid with a 4-speed AT. (The Boring One).

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potownrob
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Re: Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by potownrob » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:58 pm

AverageSnowflake wrote:Thank you for the responses.

IMB, I let her know not to force it, and she says she never does. She just pulls gently until it comes easily out of gear.

Potownrob, regarding upshifting, we both always use the clutch for that. That's one of the main functions of the device!

I think you're right though. Unless you're matching the speed of the engine to the speed of the tires closely, I imagine such habits would put unnecessary wear on the synchronizers. Their job would seem harder if the transmission gears are moving. If you found that source, I'd be interested in reading it.

Regardless, I don't think we're in any hurry to abandon the clutch for shifting entirely. It's one thing to pull the shifter out of neutral when stopping, but not using the clutch to shift in general... we might as well get a manumatic car! And who wants that?

Thanks again for the responses. Best to all.
will try to find that info. Glad you found one of the last manual outbacks. My dad has a 2015 outback with the cvt and lets just say it's not the same at all.
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Re: Question About Shifting to Neutral Without Using Clutch

Post by theholycow » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:58 pm

I instinctively have perfect timing and I do it all the time...except the occasion where my instinct fails and I get stuck in that twilight zone between in-gear and neutral. Then it's a panic clutch stomp so I can break free of that condition...
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