Find. Buy. Drive
CAR FROM JAPAN - Find best deals of used cars from reliable Japanese sellers

What is the Use of Neutral Gear in an Automatic Transmission Car?

‘N’ or ‘Neutral’ is a gear in the cars with an automatic gearbox? Have you ever thought about the functions of this neutral gear? Most people have never had a reason to use it while some drivers don’t even know when and how to use it. Well, it has some unique functions and can even save your life too in critical conditions.

Use of Neutral Gear in Automatic Transmission Car

Shifting to the neutral gear in an automatic transmission will cut off the connection between the engine and the wheels. So, no power will be transmitted to the wheels when you press the pedal. This allows the wheels to rotate freely without drawing much action from the engine, but you will still have some control over the car.

Shifting to the neutral does not do much harm except for putting a bit strain on the brakes when your intention is to stop the vehicle. However, dong it frequently for a long time could damage the torque converter.

Automatic Gearbox
Putting the gear at Neutral helps in some critical situations. (photo source: BMW)

>> Best deals for you: Toyota Prius 2011 for sale, Subaru Impreza 2011 for sale

When to Use the Neutral Gear

There are several occasions when selecting this gear will come handy. Let’s take a look:

Stop a car with a stuck throttle

Think of cruising through the highway at a great speed and suddenly discovering that you have a stuck throttle! Scary, right? Pushing the brake might not be enough to stop the vehicle since the speed is high. In that case, the safe bet is to move the gear to Neutral and use the brake to park safely.

Switching off the engine is not the safest solution since it will cut the power to the steering, making it impossible to stop the car without any damage.

Safe parking during a brake failure

People mostly respond to a brake-fail by killing the engine. It’s a wrong choice since it will leave you with no control over the steering wheel. Besides, it can even lock the wheel mechanism, making the situation more dangerous. Shifting to the neutral gear will help you toggling between the lanes and park somewhere safe.

     SEE MORE:

During towing the car

Putting the vehicle in Neutral during towing is not the ideal way to do it. However, you don’t have any choice when the towing company does not have a tow dolly. The neutral gear will help in keeping the engine on and transmission damage minimal.

>> Find a second-hand car from Japan at best deal here <<

Frequently Asked Questions about Neutral Gear

The gear actually does not have much use other than helping in stopping the car in some critical situations. Check out the FAQs to clear your confusion:

Is There Any Disadvantage of Using the Neutral Gear?

The only downside is that you will have less control over the car. To overcome it, you should practice running the car in that gear mode. It may save your life in some emergencies.

Use Of Neutral Gear
The neutral gear has nothing to do with fuel saving/ (photo source: Alamy)

Does It Save Fuel?

Well, it’s just a myth. It has nothing to do with fuel efficiency since the engine is still running at Neutral. So, most vehicles will use the same amount of petrol in the idle state.

Is Driving in Neutral Dangerous?

Yes, it could be. You should not abruptly shift to that gear when you are driving on a highway at a great speed, except for emergencies. It drastically slows down the car and cuts down many wheel functions, which may cause accidents.

Here are bad habits auto drivers must avoid!

  1. Jimmy says

    Quite an educative page.

    1. Maina Adam says

      That bit about neutral gear is very informative.
      There is a believe especially here in Kenya that automatic gear vehicles are poor performers in slippery conditions especially in mud, how true is a this myth?

      1. Jk says

        Yes since you don’t have the same “clutch motion” so to speak…getting stuck in mud/snow with an automatic is a nightmare the back and forth motion to try get oneself unstuck is curbersome unlike where you just shift the gears in a standard/manual gear…but with that said most vehicles nowadays(automatic ) come with a triptrononic gears…so the up and down shifting of the gears is made possible

  2. Nowel Govera says

    Thank u. For information

  3. Eric says

    Nice piece

  4. shadrack says

    very informative.thanks!

  5. Reuben Mukonda says

    Very informative.

  6. Mojumbe patrick says


  7. Christopher Obongo says

    Very informative

  8. hannington says

    thank you for the information but can u help with [ over drive]. when do I use over drive?

  9. Muwonge stev says

    Nicely taken

  10. stephen mathu says

    very educative.but kindly expound on fuel efficiency and neutral gear.

  11. Muvengei says

    Very helpful.

  12. Pachalo Chirwa says

    you are a good narrator.. very helpful… keep on posting

  13. Patrick says

    Very useful guidance.

  14. David john says

    Great guidance. Is there much difference between the Toyota v8 and a range rover .maintainace wise. Thnx

    1. Ahmed says

      I always engage my harrier 2004 in automanual especially on highway..there by driving in 4 and may be gear 3…please does this. Have any effect

  15. Bade Kwanya says

    Brilliant and informative.

  16. haswell ganizani says

    Thanks for the free info

  17. Davison kumpama says

    Good advice. So no fuel saving in N Gear.

  18. Richard Tialila says


  19. Nelson Chimaliro says

    This is very educative more especially on Fuel. I believed that driving on Neutral will be saving fuel. This is nice one

  20. Kanyingi says

    Very informative. Thanks and keep up the good job.

  21. Davie says

    Great piece.

  22. Stephen Adagi says

    Tjank for the informative piece.

  23. Nicholas says

    Does frequently engaging the neutral gear in a manual car for a long time damage the torque converter?

  24. Katumba says

    Thanks for the information

  25. Horris says

    Very educative, however most people believe that N gear has an impact on fuel efficiency, can you please clarify on this. Taking the background of manual transmission, this applies

  26. Katende Abdulrashid says

    Its so brilliant to hear

  27. Timothy says

    Fantastic information so educative. I have a van hiace 2rz engine it has only got five months, since I bought it has got a problem of when it’s in motion you approach a hamp or bothole you want to slow down usually stops,seems like it cutting fual, wht can b de problem. l can b more than grad to receive a reply

  28. Prime says

    Thank you

  29. Willard says

    Very educative, thank you

  30. aush says

    Can any one answer my query please. My automatic cars neutral gear N is working same as it is in gear D. What can be the fault?
    i mistakenly put N instead of D and car accelerated when i push the gas pedal.

    1. mkolo says

      Send it to qualified machenic ….do you services for your car??

  31. Brian says

    Hello sir, how do you drive an automatic transmission with Drive(+) gear which has 1,2,3 and a minus (-) and still be safe ?

  32. David says

    How is it that front pullers should towed with the front tyres suspend, because even if you tow it whilst in neutral, you can cause damage to the gear box

  33. Anvar says

    Which gear use at signal point? D or P or N?

  34. Abayomi says

    Thank for this great information

  35. Jackson says

    Can use neutral when waiting in the traffic light?

  36. Afzal says

    Very useful write up. Lots of thanks

  37. […] Neutral Gear in Automatic Cars […]

  38. Kwezi says

    Refreshing the engine after a long acceleration. Advise.

  39. Hassanaly says

    Hi Naoki san, when I am stopped in a traffic jam for instance, I put my car on Neutral as I noticed there is less push from the engine on the wheels so I can brake more effectively and I assume I would save on the brake (ie engine not pushing anymore to move forward thus less brake in use).
    It’s a habit that I got with the time.
    Could you please confirm my assumption?

  40. Richard David Navolo says

    Thanks for the advise..very useful especially when driving everyday..

  41. Brian Gabulaya says

    The advice was useful, thanks.

  42. […] do it. However, you don’t have any choice when the towing company does not have a tow dolly. The neutral gear will help in keeping the engine on and transmission damage […]

  43. Chesire says

    I have a premio, model 2010. While driving on a rough road the leg brake light and abs light appears and disappears, at the dashboard, what might be the problem?

  44. Ahmed mbabi says

    I always engage my harrier 2004 in automanual especially on highway..there by driving in 4 and may be gear 3…please does this. Have any effect

  45. revin says

    What gear should i use when stuck in traffic for 30 secs?

  46. Eunice says

    This is such important information. Someone said that I should put the car to neutral when the car is idling in the traffice jam. I always thought this is what it is for. I would therefore ask, what gear should I engage during our heavy traffic jams when the cars are at a standstill for long periods?

  47. […] Neutral Gear in Automatic Cars […]

  48. Siam Mujtahid says

    Can we drive car in neutral gear?

  49. John Malombe says

    Nice tips

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.