Shift to Neutral at red lights? - 2014+ Jeep Cherokee Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Shift to Neutral at red lights?

I've had nothing but automatic transmissions for the last 16 years, and it's always been my habit to shift the gear selector into Neutral at red lights or when expecting to remain stationary for some time. When my previous WK began to pop up TRANSMISSION OVER TEMP messages I looked around a bit for opinions on this, and there seemed to be two equally adamant camps: one saying it's utterly unnecessary, the other saying it's very important to shift into Neutral.


So I traded the WK in for a KL.

Since the 948TE has quite a noticeable lag when shifting from Neutral into Drive (and can be somewhat temperamental when finally engaging) I have now changed my habit of a lifetime and keep the KL in Drive. I've checked the transmission temp and the highest I've seen on the EVIC is 71°C (160°F) which doesn't even begin to worry me.

What do you do? Do you shift into Neutral or keep it in Drive?

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:41 PM
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I've been driving automatics for over 50 years....have never shifted to Neutral at red lights.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:53 PM
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Almost 40 yrs of driving, mostly automatics, and not only have I never shifted to neutral as described, but this is the first I've even heard of it for an automatic. Even on a standard, I usually had it in first with the clutch in, unless I was really sitting a while or on a steep hill... I wonder if any of the "shift to N" camp you describe actually reside on this board... will be interesting to see/hear.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:54 PM
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Welcome to the forum

I've driven mostly manuals, but also automatics for work and also the second car because my wife doesn't care for manuals.
I've used neutral at red lights a lot with all the automatics I've driven. Except the Cherokee. Well, I do use it sometimes but this is to get around ESS when I feel like it. Do you have ESS on your TH ? It's the Stop/Start feature that comes with the 3.2L, on 2015+ Cherokees.
Reason why I used neutral before wasn't so much out of concern for tranny temp, but more for that *pushy* feeling when waiting at a red light and feeling the tranny giving a slight push forward when in Drive. I don't have that with the Cherokee because the engine now stops at red lights, so no pushing to worry about...
With ESS, shifting into neutral disables the engine stop feature.

I do use neutral when parking the Jeep, just before coming to a complete stop in Drive, so ESS won't kill the engine before I can shift into Park, which is annoying...

Hope that made some sense

Edit to add : just saw in another thread you have a 2014 TH, so no ESS on yours. If I were in your shoes (or in your TH )
I would probably use neutral a lot... and plan ahead for the slow Neutral > Drive reaction times...
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:13 PM
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shitfting to neatral at lights would have to be a complete waste of time. ive never know anyone that did this in 49 years of driving. even more so now that most cars shut the engine off at ligh ts.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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With ESS this would be a moot question, but my 2014 doesn't have that. I don't know whether that's good or bad; improving mileage doesn't hurt (although the TH gets 25-30% better mileage than the WK even w/o ESS), but on the few occasions I've driven cars with ESS I've found it somewhat stressful.

So, one vote for Neutral and three against, so far.

One of my two daily passengers works at the local Jeep dealership, and she says the mechanics there advocate shifting into Neutral. That's automatic transmissions in general, not specific to our 9-speed.

OTOH, the argument that automatic transmissions are built to handle being in Drive while stationary is quite persuasive.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 08:11 AM
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Since I started driving, nearly 35 years ago, I have had, in my possession, somewhere between 15 and 20 different vehicles, between work and personal ownership. I can only remember 3 of them being manual transmissions. Every one of the automatic transmission vehicles were driven beyond 100,000 miles...a handful of them even went over 200,000 miles, due to the amount of driving I use to do for work. I have never shifted any of them into neutral while stopped, and none of them ever had any kind of transmission issue.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 08:27 AM
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Common practice back when my cars were running so bad they would stall if you did not go into neutral!
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 09:17 AM
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I've never driven anything but automatic, but before my KL I used to drop into neutral at a light. Like Mark said, it got rid of that feeling that the car is trying to push you through the light. I also had the thought that it would improve fuel economy. (Don't know why, just thought it may).

I don't see why it would cause any problems to shift into neutral. The KL does have that short lag to reengage the gear, but (like the ESS for those with it) it's nothing that you don't just plan for.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 01:45 PM
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I noticed that a lot while driving as a passenger in Japan and China. Maybe it's a cultural thing. As many have said in this thread, I've been driving since 1971 with many automatic transmissions and have never shifted to neutral at a light (except as @Desoto said); "Common practice back when my cars were running so bad they would stall if you did not go into neutral!"

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