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What is Coasting?

Yes, I confess I’ve done a little coasting in order to make sure the last few droplets of fuel are reserved for getting me to the next petrol station so I can refuel. And – even worse – I’ve egged others on if they’ve considered coasting (this was in my travels overseas in La Paz, Bolivia, where the middle of town was set in a deep valley below the suburbs. There was one particular main drag that was very popular for coasting and seeing how far your momentum would carry you once you got to the bottom).

Coasting is a method used by drivers who have discovered to their horror that the fuel gage is showing empty and there are still at least 20 km to go to get to the next bowser (aaaagh!). In order to preserve your precious reserves in the fuel tank, the driver can shift the gear lever to neutral when travelling downhill with the engine switched off. Coasting can thus save fuel, as you are relying on gravity to provide the force to move your car.

If, while coasting, your car has decelerated too much or you experience brake fade while coasting downhill, then apply a clutch start to the appropriate gear ratio, and engine power and control will be regained once the engine has started.

There is a risk of losing control caused by loss of traction and brake fade involved in coasting, so coasting is considered a dangerous practice.

We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Coasting?’!

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