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    • building with lego
    • By building with lego 17th Mar 17, 7:52 PM
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    building with lego
    Leaving car in gear while parked- yes or no?
    • #1
    • 17th Mar 17, 7:52 PM
    Leaving car in gear while parked- yes or no? 17th Mar 17 at 7:52 PM
    I have just read the thread about someone's car which was shunted 3m by a rollaway vehicle.

    I always park with my wheels turned, with my handbrake on and in gear, be that 1st or reverse.

    If my car were hit (while parked) hard enough to move it 10 feet, would my gearbox be damaged? Or would it be enough to stop the runaway car as well as mine?



    (The OP in that thread mentioned not having left their car in gear, and that they would do so in future. My pondering is whether an impact that great would do more damage to the gearbox than to the bumpers/ front.)
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Page 2
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 18th Mar 17, 9:47 AM
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    thescouselander
    People have died doing this, after they get squashed between car and wall usually.

    I have an OLD automatic that requires the gearbox to be in park before I can get the key out, and really don't need the handbrake at all.

    I my wife's car, I tend to turn the wheels towards the kurb and leave it in gear if it's parked on a slope. But we live in a flat bit of the UK so don't need to worry.
    Originally posted by Prothet of Doom

    That's very dangerous. The parking pawl in the auto box is not designed to hold the full weight of the vehicle while parked - it could easily snap and the car roll off. Always use the handbrake
    • iolanthe07
    • By iolanthe07 18th Mar 17, 9:58 AM
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    iolanthe07
    I've even heard of people parking gearbox only while on the flat.

    I do this, especially in the winter. In really severe cold there can be issues with the brakes sticking. This certainly used to happen in the days of rear drum brakes.
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    • epninety
    • By epninety 18th Mar 17, 10:40 AM
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    epninety
    If your car is shunted 10ft down the road, the state of the gearbox will have no effect on the scrap value of the remains.
    • JP1978
    • By JP1978 18th Mar 17, 2:33 PM
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    JP1978
    Will only leave in gear if on an incline (as well as wheels turned into and touching the curb if really steep).

    VW group cars and the ford van I have insist that you press the clutch before it allows the engine to start - I assume to encourage leaving the vehicle in gear and to ensure that it doesnt jump forward when started.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 18th Mar 17, 5:14 PM
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    waamo
    Interestingly if you take the Eurotunnel they tell you to park in first gear with the handbrake on.
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    • stator
    • By stator 18th Mar 17, 5:37 PM
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    stator
    Always in gear.

    No the impact wont hurt the gearbox. the tyres will lose grip long before that happens. Unless you have a rare car that will break its gearbox before it can spin its wheels.
    Originally posted by forgotmyname
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    • just trying
    • By just trying 18th Mar 17, 10:06 PM
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    just trying
    In Saab cars, well maybe older ones only. You can't take the key out until it's parked in reverse gear.
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    • MataNui
    • By MataNui 19th Mar 17, 1:36 PM
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    MataNui
    Saw an accident once caused by someone leaving the car in gear when parked. I was at a large supermarket carpark. I was waiting in our car while the wife was shopping. A car parked opposite but one space down from us. An older woman and her daughter got out and went into the shops.

    When they arrived the older woman was driving. They came back to the car and this time the older woman got into the passenger seat and the younger one into the drivers seat. She wasnt in the car properly, had the door open and one leg out but started the engine. Car leapt forward into a bollard. Front of the car was trashed, driver in floods of tears with an obvious and visible broken wrist and an injury to her leg.

    If its only ever you who drives the car then whatever, but if you share the car with someone else then its a bit risky. Obviously the younger women should of been in the car properly and should of checked the gearstick but we all make assumptions and we all shortcut checks from time to time.
    • securityguy
    • By securityguy 19th Mar 17, 3:20 PM
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    securityguy
    In Saab cars, well maybe older ones only. You can't take the key out until it's parked in reverse gear.
    Originally posted by just trying
    To my certain knowledge (as I've owned them) true for 96, 99, old 900, new 900, all 9-3, all 9-5: mostly cars with ignition on the floor. Not true for 9000, as it has the ignition on the steering column. For autos, they lock in park. It started on cars like the 96 with a column shift and then when the shift went down to the floor on the 99 the ignition lock went with it. Later cars (9-3, certainly) have a steering lock as well, done by solenoid, but on most of the older stuff the reverse lock is instead of a steering lock.
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 19th Mar 17, 3:55 PM
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    agarnett
    It is quite an entertaining subject this, and just shows how wide a spectrum of skill and in understanding of the mechanics there is amongst the licensed driving public!

    There is of course no right answer for everyone. There may be a more consistent answer if we were discussing just one make and model.

    I have driven so many different cars that I long ago lost count. Thesedays I hire a different one almost every week and they vary quite a bit in the handbrake department. Some are manual, some are auto. Some are an interesting mix or something else! I am thinking of a 9-tronic Merc at one end, and a Toyota hybrid at the other. The Merc I would generally trust to sort itself out as its onboard computers are the business. The Toyota I would set the handbrake in most cases.

    Fairly obviously, automatics should be left in "Park" but many modern ones do that automatically when they recognise you have switched off. Whether you use the handbrake depends on whether you are a letter of the law fanatic, or can make a reasoned judgement based on your knowledge of whether the car can possibly move on the slope you leave it on.

    Older manual cars are probably the main thing we are talking about in the thread. I almost always leave those in first gear on the flat with no handbrake if I am leaving it for any length of time. I add modest tension handbrake if there is any noticeable slope. If it is a very steep slope I also give an extra notch on the handbrake, steer into the kerb, and I might even select reverse gear instead of first.

    Some handbrakes, even on more modern cars are very mickey mouse ... not so much long levers with buttons, but silly switch-like controls (but nevertheless mechanically operating). I am thinking of a Citroen I used to own moons ago which "let go" when the missus parked it on a steep slope. She always made sure it was left in gear too when parking after that.

    I too am conscious of the possibility of a less conscientious driver jumping into a manual car after me. If I know it is a possibility e.g. when returning a hire car or handing over a car to a neighbour, I do not leave it in gear (to avoid exactly the sort of accident that MataNui describes). In that case, if I have to leave the vehicle on a slope, I might give it an extra notch on the handbrake.

    I would never leave my own car for any length of time with handbrake yanked on needlessly. As has also been said, many brake mechanisms can get semi-locked on/stuck on especially in damp cold winter conditions.

    And just to add an alternative not yet discussed, I have another vehicle which is long term stored in a large building with other vehicles. In that case I leave it out of gear and no handbrake on so that third parties could push it or tow it out of the way if there was a fire for example.
    Last edited by agarnett; 19-03-2017 at 3:58 PM.
    • Apodemus
    • By Apodemus 19th Mar 17, 4:26 PM
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    Apodemus
    To my certain knowledge (as I've owned them) true for 96, 99, old 900, new 900, all 9-3, all 9-5: mostly cars with ignition on the floor. Not true for 9000, as it has the ignition on the steering column. For autos, they lock in park. It started on cars like the 96 with a column shift and then when the shift went down to the floor on the 99 the ignition lock went with it. Later cars (9-3, certainly) have a steering lock as well, done by solenoid, but on most of the older stuff the reverse lock is instead of a steering lock.
    Originally posted by securityguy
    ...and just to confuse matters further, one of the Saabs that I owned also had its handbrake on the front wheels!
    • reeac
    • By reeac 20th Mar 17, 8:37 AM
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    reeac
    That's very dangerous. The parking pawl in the auto box is not designed to hold the full weight of the vehicle while parked - it could easily snap and the car roll off. Always use the handbrake
    Originally posted by thescouselander
    Many years ago I read that in the US they had a specification for the robustness of the automatic transmission parking pawl such that it could cope with the parked car being shunted by another car parking in front of or behind it.
    Personally I always use the handbrake, supplemented by parking in gear if on a slope. I've never experienced any handbrake problems with three cars that I've owned for 33 years, 15 years and 11 years. They are all conventional lever operated brakes of course, not electrical.
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 20th Mar 17, 9:14 AM
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    BeenThroughItAll
    To my certain knowledge (as I've owned them) true for 96, 99, old 900, new 900, all 9-3, all 9-5: mostly cars with ignition on the floor. Not true for 9000, as it has the ignition on the steering column. For autos, they lock in park. It started on cars like the 96 with a column shift and then when the shift went down to the floor on the 99 the ignition lock went with it. Later cars (9-3, certainly) have a steering lock as well, done by solenoid, but on most of the older stuff the reverse lock is instead of a steering lock.
    Originally posted by securityguy
    To your certain knowledge, ALL 9-3s need the gearbox in reverse to remove the key?

    Neither the 56 plate 1.9TiD cabriolet or the 54 plate V6 Aero I've owned did. Neither did the 07 plate 2.0t estate my brother-in-law owned.
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 20th Mar 17, 9:17 AM
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    BeenThroughItAll
    Will only leave in gear if on an incline (as well as wheels turned into and touching the curb if really steep).

    VW group cars and the ford van I have insist that you press the clutch before it allows the engine to start - I assume to encourage leaving the vehicle in gear and to ensure that it doesnt jump forward when started.
    Originally posted by JP1978
    A GM engineer I spent some time talking to at a trade show a couple of years ago told me that's a side-effect of the real reasons; it forms part of the clutch switch circuit test (particularly on start-stop vehicles), it helps in reducing load on the increasingly fragile starter motors used to save weight, and it helps reduce uneven shock to the DMF on startup to help prolong its life.

    The DMF thing is the main reason I always push the clutch in on any modern car when starting and stopping the engine.
    • neilmcl
    • By neilmcl 20th Mar 17, 9:30 AM
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    neilmcl
    Saw an accident once caused by someone leaving the car in gear when parked. I was at a large supermarket carpark. I was waiting in our car while the wife was shopping. A car parked opposite but one space down from us. An older woman and her daughter got out and went into the shops.

    When they arrived the older woman was driving. They came back to the car and this time the older woman got into the passenger seat and the younger one into the drivers seat. She wasnt in the car properly, had the door open and one leg out but started the engine. Car leapt forward into a bollard. Front of the car was trashed, driver in floods of tears with an obvious and visible broken wrist and an injury to her leg.

    If its only ever you who drives the car then whatever, but if you share the car with someone else then its a bit risky. Obviously the younger women should of been in the car properly and should of checked the gearstick but we all make assumptions and we all shortcut checks from time to time.
    Originally posted by MataNui
    That's more to do with the inexperience and/or poor driving skills of the driver in question. If you don't check you're in neutral when starting the engine then you need to go back to driving school. It's not something I "shortcut" as well as starting with the clutch pedal depressed.
    Last edited by neilmcl; 20-03-2017 at 9:34 AM.
    • Sicard
    • By Sicard 20th Mar 17, 9:43 AM
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    Sicard
    In 45 years I've only ever parked in neutral in a manual with the handbrake on on a level. In all that time the car has never been involved in an accident by being shunted by another car, a lorry an articulated lorry, a tank, a helicopter or a drone. Maybe I've just been lucky.
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    • Ebe Scrooge
    • By Ebe Scrooge 20th Mar 17, 9:51 AM
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    Ebe Scrooge
    I always use the handbrake, and leave it in gear as a "belt 'n' braces" backup. Mind you, that's probably got something to do with my first car many many years ago; the handbrake was - ahem - suspect, at best. But I also always press the clutch pedal when starting - again, a throwback to my old banger days, when it was a lottery whether the damned thing would start anyway, so anything I could do to reduce the load on the starter/battery was a good thing. It's got so ingrained in me now, on the odd occasion I've deliberately tried to start without pressing the clutch, just to prove a point to myself, it feels utterly "wrong" :-)
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    • ColinFishwick
    • By ColinFishwick 20th Mar 17, 9:56 AM
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    ColinFishwick
    I always leave mine in gear. Two weeks ago a Amazon delivery driver vehicle hit my mates car because he didn't put handbrake on. Lucky it didn't happen further down the street as its hilly

    The guy wanted to pay for damage and not via insurance as he just got the job and didnt want to loose it, he claimed he be put of work.

    Yes he has made some money too good to his word. Luckily on minor damage to his BMW

    I like to use gears as a backup in case the handbrake fails or you forget not that I ever have but you never know
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 20th Mar 17, 10:30 AM
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    rtho782
    Given that engine breaking is a thing, and that by leaving it in gear even if it's pushed by a train all it will do is turn the engine over (although it won't start as no ignition) I have absolutely zero worried about it damaging the transmission.
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    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 20th Mar 17, 11:08 AM
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    DoaM
    Given that engine breaking is a thing, and that by leaving it in gear even if it's pushed by a train all it will do is turn the engine over (although it won't start as no ignition) I have absolutely zero worried about it damaging the transmission.
    Originally posted by rtho782
    The "fear" comes from the thought that the gearbox is designed to drive the wheels (from a standing start), not for the wheels to drive the gearbox.

    But I agree ... I will always park in gear if parked on a hill, but I tend not to if parked on the flat.
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