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Leaving car in gear while parked- yes or no?

in Motoring
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building_with_legobuilding_with_lego Forumite
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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.)
They call me Dr Worm... I'm interested in things; I'm not a real doctor but I am a real worm. :grin:
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  • forgotmynameforgotmyname Forumite
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    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.
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  • Jonners85Jonners85 Forumite
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    Always leave mine in gear, just a habit I've fallen in to.


    I don't think any damage would be done as long as it is just a knock and zero Tyre movement.
  • One of our neighbours came running out of the house shouting at my partner as to why he was leaning against the bonnet of his car. The response was that my partner was walking past and saw the car starting to move. Parked on handbrake only...
  • Aylesbury_DuckAylesbury_Duck Forumite
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    Always in gear. It's unlikely but not impossible that the handbrake cable could snap or stretch. In many cars, parking in gear with the handbrake on also locks all four wheels. Stops your student colleagues wheelbarrowing your car down the road....
  • building_with_legobuilding_with_lego Forumite
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    Cool, that seems fairly conclusive then! In my (novice) head the impact would have ground the wheels back and done goodness knows what to the box, but my mind is more at ease.

    I've even heard of people parking gearbox only while on the flat. Makes sense if the above posts are accurate.
    They call me Dr Worm... I'm interested in things; I'm not a real doctor but I am a real worm. :grin:
  • The only time I park left in gear is when on a hill or slope, which is hardly ever.

    Cars do not roll whist on flat ground but there is always the chance of someone driving into a parked car, would leaving it in gear be wise in that situation?

    Should you leave it in forward or reverse if the ground is flat? :o
  • Aylesbury_DuckAylesbury_Duck Forumite
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    The only time I park left in gear is when on a hill or slope, which is hardly ever.

    Cars do not roll whist on flat ground but there is always the chance of someone driving into a parked car, would leaving it in gear be wise in that situation?

    Should you leave it in forward or reverse if the ground is flat? :o
    I'd choose based on the situation. If I was parked nose-in to a wall or another car, I'd park in reverse. That way, if I mistakenly started the car with it still in gear, it wouldn't jump forward and crash. I'd park in a forward gear if I'd reversed up to something and parked.
  • I always leave parked in first gear if flat or facing uphill, or reverse if downhill. I depress the clutch before starting the engine.
  • RobisereRobisere Forumite
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    I never leave mine in gear. It is an automatic, though. :) And I put the handbrake on.

    But before I suffered spinal damage and used a manual gearbox car, I always left it in second gear, handbrake on.

    I have a niece who was trapped between two cars at traffic lights in icy weather. Car in front was waiting for green, car behind came up too fast, lost control and shoved hers into the front car. Her handbrake was off and she came out of it with severe whiplash injury and lifelong spinal problems, due to a double shunt into both cars. Front car had hanbrake on, did not move when she was pushed into it. She rebounded again, back into the car behind, which was trying to reverse away.
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  • photomephotome Forumite
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    I have been driving for 36 years and always leave in gear
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