Engine braking is one of the more underrated driving techniques even though it is very useful. We came across this video that explains engine braking and its positives.
Engine braking is somewhat of an overshadowed driving technique, most of us don’t know about it or ignore it. Engine braking is an important technique that every type of driver, new and experienced, should spend time into learning. As the Indian automobile market is dominated by manual transmission vehicles, engine braking can be a very helpful thing to learn and can help you drive smoother. Most modern engines use an ECU to control the engine and your inputs in the vehicle. Brakes are one of the most stressed parts of a vehicle, but you can also use other methods like engine braking to slow you down, depending on the scenario. We have this video to help you.
The video has been uploaded by Engineering Explained on YouTube, we get an idea of how engine braking works. Engine braking, in simple terms, is just the engine acceleration working in reverse. Technically, whenever the driver lets go of the accelerator, airflow to the engine stops. This creates a high manifold vacuum that the cylinders have to work against. This high release of energy makes the vehicle lose speed. Heavier vehicles like trucks which use diesel engines use a system called Jake Brake to effectively slow down their heavy mass. This system opens the exhaust valves to the cylinder before the compression stroke end, which releases the compressed gas trapped in the cylinders that slow down the vehicle. The Jake Brake system is used predominantly by heavy vehicles to reduce the stress on the brakes. Smaller diesel engines also provide engine braking but the effect isn’t as pronounced as in a heavier vehicle.
To start using engine braking when driving, you just don’t have to use the clutch when you lift off of the accelerator. You will feel the vehicle starting to slow down without pressing the brakes. To be able to notice it more vividly, note down the car slowdown rate with the clutch pressed when you lift off of the accelerator. The speed of slowing down without the clutch pressed is much higher than when you’re using it. Lower gears of a gearbox provide higher engine braking compared to higher gears, and you’ll notice engine braking is more pronounced in the former. This is because of the gear ratios because as you can accelerate quicker using the lower gears, the vice-versa also happens.
But as engine braking can be jerky sometimes, you need to learn the process through trial and error. If the speed of your vehicle is high, you can just shift to a lower gear to get more engine braking. This transition makes the driving experience smoother, and over time you get used to placing the gear in the desired ratio to slow down the vehicle rather than use the brakes. An important thing to note is that the brake lights don’t turn on when using engine braking, and motorists behind you may not notice you’re slowing down.
Using engine braking also increases the life span of the vehicles braking system. When both engine braking and conventional brakes are used effectively, you can slow down your vehicle much quicker. We hope this guide came in help to aid your driving.