Some opinions on good neutral selection practice please

Richard46

Registered User
I am new to the Audi A3 but previously I had a Skoda with DSG for six years. With that car I always moved into neutral when stopped for more than a few seconds and put on the manual handbrake. I could always feel the vibration of the engine fighting the brake when in Drive so it seemed like a no brainer to use neutral.


I have been told that with the A3 S-tronic /clutch/Auto hill start system going into neutral when stopped for lights etc is not needed and with the A3 stopped in Drive I admit I don’t feel that ‘vibration’ but I cannot help but feel that I should be using Neutral at least when I know the stop is going to be more than a brief one.



What do folks think?



NB I am not a fan of the stop start feature so I turn it off as soon as I start a journey.
 

Adam14

Registered User
Never put my car in neutral, when stopped just activate the EPB, only use P when actually parking up / stopping somewhere.

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Richard46

Registered User
Never put my car in neutral, when stopped just activate the EPB, only use P when actually parking up / stopping somewhere.

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Thanks for that, so I wonder what is neutral for on these cars? Is is it redundant?
 

Adam14

Registered User
Thanks for that, so I wonder what is neutral for on these cars? Is is it redundant?
Never used it, drive , reverse and park

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Lehn

Registered User
Why don’t you just keep your foot on the brake like 99% of the people driving autos and doesn’t have any problems at all? It’s just a car, it’s made to be driven and stopped ;) And yes something this something that can happen and someone knows someone that farted and the gearbox went boom...... Just enjoy the car god dammit :D
 
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Svenedin

Registered User
Thanks for that, so I wonder what is neutral for on these cars? Is is it redundant?

I never use neutral. I just come to a stop at lights in drive and if it's going to be a while I engage the EPB and take my foot off the brake. What's neutral for? Well it disengages the drive train so pushing the car perhaps?
 

Ron240

Breaking the stereotype
Gold Supporter
I always put the gearbox into neutral when I know I'm going to be stopped for more than a few seconds just like I do with a manual. With the latter I don't sit holding the clutch down in first gear so why would I leave an automatic in gear straining against the brake.
I realise this is not a popular way of doing things so maybe I am just old school, but there will undoubtedly be less wear on components in my car compared with a similar mileage car that is never put in neutral at all.
That last part might be slightly controversial, but just seems common sense to me. :)
 

andy.h

Registered User
If the car has stop start it does not matter if you leave the car in drive when stopped as the engine will be stopped but if you do not have stop start I would put the car in neutral if i'm stopped for any length of time. When your stopped and the engine is running the clutch is trying to engage all the time so there will be resistance and you will wear the clutch plates quicker.
 

RichardT

Registered User
I use Hold Assist anyway, so would not put the car in neutral. I used to have a conventional auto many years ago and certainly that did "strain" agianst the clutch/brake when stationary and in D.
But with the S-Tronic I certainly don't have that feeling. You can feel the drive engage when you touch the throttle to move, so I am not convinced about some of the comments above. I think this modern car is more sophisticated.
 

Adam14

Registered User
Agree with Richard above, I'd argue modern cars like this are better. Not had any issues with using the EPB and drive.

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Lehn

Registered User
If the car has stop start it does not matter if you leave the car in drive when stopped as the engine will be stopped but if you do not have stop start I would put the car in neutral if i'm stopped for any length of time. When your stopped and the engine is running the clutch is trying to engage all the time so there will be resistance and you will wear the clutch plates quicker.

Where have you read such nonsense? When you press the brake pedal the clutches disengage, it's as simple as that. At least on modern cars.

A DSG gearbox can only handle very little slip it's another story with traditional torque converter boxes where the torque is "consumed" through the torque converter. That's why you can start a BMW ZF box in manual mode in 2nd gear because the torque converter transfers the torque gradually, this is not possible with our DSG boxes becuase you would need the clutch plates to slip to do this (this is kind of what you say the car does) which isn't convenient at all and that's why you're only allowed to start in 1st gear even in manual mode.
 
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Ron240

Breaking the stereotype
Gold Supporter
@RichardT Your car will move at walking pace or even slightly above in Drive without touching the gas just like any automatic does.
I frequently manoeuvre my car forwards and reverse without needing to touch the gas.
Whether you can feel it straining against the brake or not it is actually doing so.
 

Ron240

Breaking the stereotype
Gold Supporter
At the end of the day people will drive how they want to drive.....doesn't necessarily make them right or wrong. :innocent:
 

Lehn

Registered User
At the end of the day people will drive how they want to drive.....doesn't necessarily make them right or wrong. :innocent:

Exactly! This is like the octane rating debate.

However, I think it’s important to get the facts straight about how our gearboxes behave, or are at least intended to behave, during different situations. A lot of engineers and programmers have worked hard to make it as convenient as possible for us to drive our cars ;)
 

Richard46

Registered User
So if I hit the brake pedal and engage the EPB (green brake light on dash) then the clutch is entirely disengaged automatically? Is that right.

And thanks for all the opinions folks; appreciated.
 

andy.h

Registered User
I guess the best way to find out is when your stopped with the brakes on and in drive flick it into neutral, if the engine tone changes or there is a blip in the revs then there has been drag when you were in drive.
Not saying this is conclusive proof and personally I tend to agree with Ron above that it is common sense to shift to neutral unless someone can prove otherwise.
 

Richard46

Registered User
I guess the best way to find out is when your stopped with the brakes on and in drive flick it into neutral, if the engine tone changes or there is a blip in the revs then there has been drag when you were in drive.
Not saying this is conclusive proof and personally I tend to agree with Ron above that it is common sense to shift to neutral unless someone can prove otherwise.
I am guessing I will not be the only one trying that tomorrow. I will report my findings.
 

Lehn

Registered User
I guess the best way to find out is when your stopped with the brakes on and in drive flick it into neutral, if the engine tone changes or there is a blip in the revs then there has been drag when you were in drive.
Not saying this is conclusive proof and personally I tend to agree with Ron above that it is common sense to shift to neutral unless someone can prove otherwise.

Have you ever launched your car? Because then you should know the brake pedal disengages the gearbox during standstill.

Imagine this, you're getting ready for a launch, you're pressing the brake pedal all the way down, remember the gearbox is still engaged as you say it would be, you press the gas pedal all the way down and start a launch a 4.000rpm keep it there for 5 seconds while the clutch plates would just grind against each other (this is with your scenario ind mind) you choose to stop the launch. You get out of the car and you can just smell that unmistakable smell of a slipping clutch because you have just been grinding the clutch plates against each other a 4.000rpm... I have made my share of launches and not once have I smelled anything that just had the slightest smell of grinding/slipping clutch plates, never.
 

Chris.D

Registered User
Why don’t you just keep your foot on the brake like 99% of the people driving autos

Does this warp the brakes? Honest question. I actually do this myself but find myself wondering if it has an effect.

Cheers,

Chris
 

AeroMad

Registered User
Just throwing my two pence in here regarding clutch slip with the brake pedal pressed.
The brake switch appears to have two stages, first stage being the initial press on the brake pedal, second being as you pass certain travel on the pedal. Between stage 1 and 2 the clutch will slip to allow slow manoeuvring, pressing the pedal past stage two with the car static disengages the clutch and STOP/START or normal idle is achieved.

Whether this puts it into neutral as well, I don't know...
 

Lehn

Registered User
Does this warp the brakes? Honest question. I actually do this myself but find myself wondering if it has an effect.

Cheers,

Chris

Haven’t experienced this myself or any of my friends for that matter, but I know @jassyo06 puts it in neutral to prevent this so maybe he can enlighten us? (This is actually a reason that makes sense in my eyes regarding putting the gearbox in neutral)
 

Adam14

Registered User
Does this warp the brakes? Honest question. I actually do this myself but find myself wondering if it has an effect.

Cheers,

Chris
Unlikely, but if you know you're going to be stopped for a while, easy enough to activate the EPB and save having your foot pressed down on the brake (plus don't light up the person behind you)

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ZipZap01

Registered User
Have you ever launched your car? Because then you should know the brake pedal disengages the gearbox during standstill.

Imagine this, you're getting ready for a launch, you're pressing the brake pedal all the way down, remember the gearbox is still engaged as you say it would be, you press the gas pedal all the way down and start a launch a 4.000rpm keep it there for 5 seconds while the clutch plates would just grind against each other (this is with your scenario ind mind) you choose to stop the launch. You get out of the car and you can just smell that unmistakable smell of a slipping clutch because you have just been grinding the clutch plates against each other a 4.000rpm... I have made my share of launches and not once have I smelled anything that just had the slightest smell of grinding/slipping clutch plates, never.

Heavy brake pedal pressure *almost* disengages the clutch during standstill - the clutch does not disengage fully when the gear selector is in D. However, the clutch remains engaged only to a very minimal level. It's easy enough to feel this, by holding the car on the brake in D and switching to N - you can feel the slight tension in the drive train unwind as the clutch releases. It's not much, but there is some. Alternatively, if you are skilled in VCDS, you can monitor the clutch pressure in real time and see for yourself. The clutch engagement is so slight, you'd easily think it was disengaged, and it took me nearly 2 years to work out that the clutch didn't actually disengage fully.

Light (or no) brake pedal pressure at standstill partly disengages the clutch, and holds the clutch slipping with moderate pressure. This ensures that pulling away is quick; the torque is already being transferred by the clutch, and the car will start to move as soon as the brake pedal is released. There will be a modest amount of wear and heating of the clutch in this condition, so it is best to minimise this operation.

Using launch control does exactly what you say it does. Grinds the clutch at 4000 rpm. However, on the S3, the clutch is oil immersed, so it won't heat up enough to burn. It will heat up the clutch and the oil a lot. Do a few launches in a row, and you'll get gearbox overheat warnings on the dash.
 

dannyboy1985

Registered User
As above you should never need to put an stronic box in neutral. Is is disconnected or “almost” it’s not like the old ones where it’s constantly pulling. As you let the brake off you can feel it start for low speed driving but as soon as the brakes are applied it stops that slight pull.
 

Lehn

Registered User
Heavy brake pedal pressure *almost* disengages the clutch during standstill - the clutch does not disengage fully when the gear selector is in D. However, the clutch remains engaged only to a very minimal level. It's easy enough to feel this, by holding the car on the brake in D and switching to N - you can feel the slight tension in the drive train unwind as the clutch releases. It's not much, but there is some. Alternatively, if you are skilled in VCDS, you can monitor the clutch pressure in real time and see for yourself. The clutch engagement is so slight, you'd easily think it was disengaged, and it took me nearly 2 years to work out that the clutch didn't actually disengage fully.

Light (or no) brake pedal pressure at standstill partly disengages the clutch, and holds the clutch slipping with moderate pressure. This ensures that pulling away is quick; the torque is already being transferred by the clutch, and the car will start to move as soon as the brake pedal is released. There will be a modest amount of wear and heating of the clutch in this condition, so it is best to minimise this operation.

Using launch control does exactly what you say it does. Grinds the clutch at 4000 rpm. However, on the S3, the clutch is oil immersed, so it won't heat up enough to burn. It will heat up the clutch and the oil a lot. Do a few launches in a row, and you'll get gearbox overheat warnings on the dash.

I will see if I can check this later through OBDeleven. If this is the case I will rest my case and feel terribly sorry by being so cocksure ;)
 

Ormesome

Registered User
Unlike others, I think this is quite an important thread. Especially given that we now have systems like Hill Hold Assis that keeps the brakes on for us at traffic lights etc.... I would like to know a definitive answer. I was stuck in traffic for 4 minutes today, hill hold assist engaged for that time (not handbrake), S-tronic gearbox in "D". So, does this mean that the car is in drive or does the system engage and disengage the gear when at a standstill or start/stop is engaged? It is interesting. I guess we are all comparing it to our experiences in a manual car but the S-tronic is far from that.
 

AlS3BE

Registered User
The dsg is smart enough to disengage the clutches when stationery and engage when you need to pull away. the ecu is designed to stop you wearing away the clutch packs. Supposedly the wet clutches are better for wear as it’s drowned in fluids so less wear.
I was told you shouldn’t shift into neutral as this will stop the lubricating system churning the oil round and cause it to overheat as heat is your biggest enemy in these funky gearboxes. Not sure if there’s any truth in that but that was years ago with the first/second gen dsg boxes. I’ve seen these boxes well into the 150k+ in company cars with no problems and driven like conventional torque converter autos. Then again I’ve seen 20-30k with mechatronics failure so like everything it’s hit and miss.
 

Ron240

Breaking the stereotype
Gold Supporter
I was told you shouldn’t shift into neutral as this will stop the lubricating system churning the oil round and cause it to overheat as heat is your biggest enemy in these funky gearboxes.
I'm not suggesting this is right or wrong, but if it is true then it is very important and people need to be made aware of it by being clearly stated in the owners manual.
Having thought about what I just said there......not many people would actually find out about it. :D
 

AlS3BE

Registered User
I'm not suggesting this is right or wrong, but if it is true then it is very important and people need to be made aware of it by being clearly stated in the owners manual.
Having thought about what I just said there......not many people would actually find out about it. :D
It kinda made sense to me at the time. Even though the clutches are disengaged, when stationery, there is still drive going to the gearbox from the engine and the selectors are ready and primed to select gears. In neutral nothing is going to the gearbox so nothing is turning like oil pump or however oils moves around and the selectors aren’t ready. I’m not an engineer and definitely not a gearbox expert just something I was told by an old vw tech many moons ago.
 
I use Hold Assist anyway, so would not put the car in neutral. I used to have a conventional auto many years ago and certainly that did "strain" agianst the clutch/brake when stationary and in D.
But with the S-Tronic I certainly don't have that feeling. You can feel the drive engage when you touch the throttle to move, so I am not convinced about some of the comments above. I think this modern car is more sophisticated.

I have the hill hold assist (green P) but if you put it in neutral (facelift anyway) it disengages the hold assist - I did this when I first got my S-Tronic and realised it was starting to roll back

Neutral I assume is if the car needs to be pushed
 

Richard46

Registered User
I guess the best way to find out is when your stopped with the brakes on and in drive flick it into neutral, if the engine tone changes or there is a blip in the revs then there has been drag when you were in drive.
Not saying this is conclusive proof and personally I tend to agree with Ron above that it is common sense to shift to neutral unless someone can prove otherwise.
Just tried this (with start stop off) and the rev counter did not give the slightest flutter, nor any change in engine tone. Looks like no clutch contact/friction; near as damn it anyway; when completely stopped in drive.
I am convinced will leave neutral for pushing it which I fondly hope aint going to happen ever.
 
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andy.h

Registered User
I was told you shouldn’t shift into neutral as this will stop the lubricating system churning the oil round and cause it to overheat as heat is your biggest enemy in these funky gearboxes.

When in D while stoped there should be no oil churning around in the gearbox as when your stopped none of the shafts in the gearbox will be turning, when in N it is possible for an input shaft to be turning but that depends on what happens to the clutch when stopped and after looking through lots of websites i've come to the conclusion nobody seems to know for sure. Also there is an oil pump for the gearbox which appears to be driven by the engine.

I found this link which might be of interest - http://www.evosoft.dk/diagrams/DSG_02E.pdf

In the section about actuators (page 50) it states a few times "The most important factor for calculation of main pressure is the actual clutch pressure, which is dependent on engine torque." there is no mention about anything to do with brake pressure.

Another interesting thing is that the clutch requires hydraulic pressure to engage and the clutch springs actually are used to disengage the clutch.

Unfortunately there is no mention of what happens when stopped in D or N.
 

Ormesome

Registered User
Just tried this (with start stop off) and the rev counter did not give the slightest flutter, nor any change in engine tone. Looks like no clutch contact/friction; near as damn it anyway; when completely stopped.
I am convinced will leave neutral for pushing it which I fondly hope aint going to happen ever.

Any difference if its in HHA mode or normal handbrake mode?
 

Richard46

Registered User
Any difference if its in HHA mode or normal handbrake mode?

Did not try that sorry. I just presume I have the/a 'handbrake' on by pushing firmly on the brake pedal?

By normal handbrake mode you mean actually pulling the handbrake button up 'manually'? To be honest I am a bit confused by the different terms. I presume HHA is hill hold auto?

Driving this car is a diddle and a pleasure, understanding it is not. Perhaps I should just stop thinking and Drive. :blink::friendly wink:
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Quite, but do everyone a favour and pull on the ehb when someone pulls up behind you. Hill hold assist applies all four brakes and illuminates the brake lights...
 

Ormesome

Registered User
Did not try that sorry. I just presume I have the/a 'handbrake' on by pushing firmly on the brake pedal?

By normal handbrake mode you mean actually pulling the handbrake button up 'manually'? To be honest I am a bit confused by the different terms. I presume HHA is hill hold auto?

Driving this car is a diddle and a pleasure, understanding it is not. Perhaps I should just stop thinking and Drive. :blink::friendly wink:

Hold Assist basically keeps the brakes on at the lights until you set off. Saves you the "effort" of keeping your foot on the brake. The handbrake engages the hand brake fully.

I might be wrong with the terminology there. I cant remember what the system is called when Hold Assist isn't installed on a car. There is a standard system that keeps the handbrake on for a few seconds whilst your on a hill so you dont roll back...
 

cuke2u

Registered User
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