car tuning

3 Oct 2007

Parking on hills

Today I parked on a pretty steep hill and noticed a difference between what I did and what 99% of other car drivers did. This gives me a great opportunity for a rant and a chance to re-state the patronisingly obvious that most people claim they do but the reality is somewhat different.

Firstly some background information, a car rolling down a hill will cause a lot of damage (just think back to the story of Jack and Jill!) The aim on hills, is to keep the car parked where it is, so when you return it is still in one piece. Is this just me being a bit paranoid? Well when your car has disk brakes all round as most modern cars do, they are subject to the rules of expansion as they get hot. Theoretically then, when you use your brakes a lot the disks warm up, you apply the brake pads to the surface and as the disk cools it contracts thereby loosening the grip of the pads. On a steep hill this can cause it start to roll. Hence the suggestion of what you should when parking on a hill from way back when you learnt to drive.

When parking on a hill, put the car into gear and turn the wheels into the curb or away from the curb depending on whether you are parked facing up hill or down hill. The theory is that if the handbrake fails the engine will help anchor the car and if it rolls it will roll a short way until the wheel hits the kerb and then it stops the car. The worst thing you will find returning to your car is that it has moved a couple of inches.

Now most of the cars I saw didn't bother to rotate their wheels and although I can't tell for sure most seemed to leave the gearstick in neutral.

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