Driving on a flat surface does not put excess stress on your vehicles engine, but, traveling up steep inclines can lead to an overworked engine. However, there are a few techniques you can follow to lessen the stress on your engine and climb inclines smoothly while maintaining relatively low Revolutions Per Minute (RPMs).
Whether your vehicle has a manual or automatic transmission, it is best that you keep the following driving tips and methods in mind when trying to tackle inclines and hills
Driving a vehicle with a manual transmission up an incline is a little different from driving a car with an automatic transmission up an incline. Unlike an automatic transmission, you can shift a manual transmission into a lower gear for higher RPMs, if needed.
Step 1: Gather speed as you approach the incline. Try to have enough forward momentum to get part way, or even all the way, up the hill before downshifting into a lower gear to maintain that power.
Ideally, you should approach the incline in fourth or fifth gear, while accelerating the car at about 80 percent power.
- Warning: Use caution when climbing a hill and ensure that you do not gather too much speed. Keep in mind any sharp turns in the road and reduce the amount of acceleration you give the vehicle as you approach. This is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the road you are driving.
Step 2: Downshift if necessary. If you notice that your engine is struggling to stay at its current speed, shift into a lower gear.
This should increase the RPMs as the engine cycles through the lower gear, adding power to your momentum.
On really steep hills, you might need to downshift through consecutively lower gears until you find one where the vehicle maintains the necessary momentum to crest the hill.
Step 3: Upshift to save on gas. If you notice your car gaining momentum on its uphill climb, shift to a higher gear for better fuel economy.
You may need to do this on hills that flatten out before climbing again.
Step 4: Downshift in tight turns. You can also downshift if you come upon any sharp turns while climbing an incline.
This allows you to maintain power and momentum as you make your way through the turn.