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Old 07-05-2013, 06:32 AM   #1
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New daily driver questions

I've recently took a job that requires a 45 mile commute from the south side of Chicago to the north side. I've only been there three days and my commute takes (so far) between 1 hour, and 2 hours 10 minutes. I like driving a manual, even in the stop and go traffic and I think it makes me stay more aware of my surroundings. However, I have some questions relating to what is the best style of driving to maximize gas mileage and not beat up my car.

1. If I'm driving full speed (50-90mph) and I see brake lights ahead sometimes I'll just press in the clutch and coast until I know for sure if the traffic is actually slowing or if they are just reaction brake lights. My question is while driving at these speeds and I press in the clutch of course the motor slows to 800-ish rpms. Is this bad? The only part I question is the cooling system. Is there something I'm missing or is this acceptable?

2. In stop and go traffic sometimes traffic flows about 5mph. 5mph, even in first, is less than 2000 rpms. Is it acceptable to ride along at that speed or would I be best served by running in first and then pressing in the clutch and coasting and repeat?

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Old 07-05-2013, 07:02 AM   #2
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It would be far better practice to pop it into neutral when coasting as holding the clutch down while coasting or at lights wears the TO bearing unnecessarily.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:11 AM   #3
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Coasting is generally not a good idea from a safety stand point. You may need that extra 1 or 2 seconds it takes to put your car back in gear in an emergency situation. You'll find you Boxster gets just as good of gas mileage running at 3K rpm as trying to do miserly things to gain mileage. It's not a Prius and wasn't meant to be. Enjoy it as a sports car and you'll find it gets pretty good mileage as one.

I'm not sure how to answer Q2. I could make an argument either way. It's generally accepted that it's not good to run these engines under 2K but the situation you describe would dictate it. Maybe let the car ahead of you get a 3/4 car length lead (just enough so someone doesn't dive in) and then you can run a bit higher rpm to the next stopage.

I'm lucky my stop and go work drive is for lights, not traffic.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:31 AM   #4
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Cobeer, not sure why you depress the clutch when you see brake lights at speeds of 50 plus miles an hour. You should only be depressing the clutch in order to shift gears, or just before you comie to a stop. In stop and go at speeds of about 5 mph, yes you can drive in first gear and depress the clutch when you are unable to maintain that speed (although I usually put the car in neutral and release the clutch and roll to the stop).

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Old 07-05-2013, 08:39 AM   #5
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I also commute in traffic of varying speeds. I shift to neutral when coming up on slow traffic and let the car coast. I don't care at all about fuel mileage but idle is easier and if you do care about mileage, idle is much more fuel efficient than 3K rpms. And yes, I also drive in 1st gear and depress the clutch when speeds drop too low to maintain sufficient rpms. Cooling system will be fine, if the temp climbs the fans will turn on automatically. The primary thing to remember is to be kind to your clutch and avoid slipping it - engage and go - smoothly and efficiently. Prolonged slipping of the clutch will wear it prematurely.
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Last edited by thstone; 07-05-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thstone View Post
I also commute in traffic of varying speeds. I shift to neutral when coming up on slow traffic and let the car coast..

You don't know what your next gear will be if traffic is slightly moving as you approach or it maybe simply stopped. That's why I go into neutral. You do need to stay very alert as you now have not power to go if needed
Give yourself room so you can minimize the accordion effect while staying in gear

I drive at very low speeds in first but you have to be so, so gentle on the throttle so as not to get the Jerk when you start to accelerate.

These cars hate slow speeds. Mine just doesn't run smooth after traffic until I can clear things with a 5-6k RPM sprint
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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You don't have control of your car in neutral while still moving! Bad form!

A performance driving school will teach you why that is important.

Why not down shift and use the engine to slow. I always do and touch the brakes for the benefit of those behind when I slow quickly.

Only time its ever in neutral is at a long stop.

Drive in the slow lane behind a tractor trailer and you will get the hang of it.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:59 PM   #8
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I dont see the Point in putting the car in neutral or press down the clutch under those circumstances.

The reason for it are the ones jb92563 mention

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