Leaving a Car in Gear When Parked

Leaving a Car in Gear

As new drivers, either currently learning to drive or a newly fully qualified driver, you may be wondering how to best secure your car against rolling when parked. Many driving instructors neglect to offer this advice as it’s not indicative of the driving test, so if you did have any questions about leaving your car in gear while parked, we’ll hopefully answer them here.

Why Leave a Car in Gear When Parked?

Along with using the parking brake, leaving the car in gear when parked adds an additional layer of safety to prevent the car from rolling.

Does Leaving a Car in Gear Stop it from Rolling?

Yes, leaving a car in gear does almost certainly stop it from rolling. When you leave your car parked in neutral, it disconnects the engine from the wheels, so think of it this way, when you’re driving your car, the engine turns and makes the wheels move. So if the your car were to start rolling while in gear, it would need to turn the engine too – and that makes rolling far more difficult.

Should You Leave a Car in Gear When Parked?

When parking your car on level ground, it’s generally recommended to leave your car in gear, though cars have become so reliable that providing you keep your car maintained to the legal safety standard, using the parking brake alone should be sufficient.

Should You Leave a Car in Gear When Parked on a Hill?

Although a properly maintained car should remain secured by the parking brake alone, it’s highly recommended that you should leave a car in gear when parked on a hill. When parked on a hill, any weaknesses with the parking brake system are far more likely to emerge. Leaving a car in gear offers a secondary measure to ensure your car remains securely parked.

Should I Leave My Car in Gear or Neutral?

If you’re parked on a level surface, you can leave your car in neutral. If you’re parked on a slope, leave it in gear. Some drivers always leave their car parked in gear regardless of the surface they’re parked on.

Leaving your car parked in gear adds an extra layer of security against rolling
Leaving your car parked in gear adds an extra layer of security against rolling

Leaving a Car in Gear Downhill

The procedure for leaving a car parked facing downhill is as follows:

  1. Park your car close to the kerb
  2. Turn your wheels towards the kerb
  3. Firmly apply the parking brake
  4. Select reverse gear. If driving an automatic, select ‘Park’.

Leaving a Car in Gear Uphill

The procedure for leaving a car parked facing uphill is as follows:

  1. Park your car close to the kerb
  2. Turn your wheels away from the kerb
  3. Firmly apply the parking brake
  4. Select a forward gear. If driving an automatic, select ‘Park’.

Does Leaving Your Car in Gear Damage it?

Leaving your car in gear does not cause any damage. Leaving your car parked and in gear simply means a connection is formed from the engine to the wheels. Leaving your car in neutral means the connection is broken from just after the gears.

Why Should You Not Leave Your Car in Gear?

There’s no reason that you should not leave your car in gear while parked other than if you forget to press the clutch down before starting. If you do forget, the car may jolt forwards a little as you turn the ignition. Always fully depress the clutch and check your gears before starting the engine.

Leaving a Car in Gear, No Handbrake

On some cars, drivers find that the handbrake sticks when they leave the car parked with it applied. This usually occurs in wet and very cold conditions and drivers that are affected by this often park, leaving their car in gear but with the handbrake off (on level surfaces only). This does not affect most motorists and so it’s advisable to always use your handbrake when parking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.