Does stalling an engine count as lugging it? I know lugging is not good for the engine for various reasons. Does stalling do those to the engine as well? Thanks

3 Answers 3


Think of stalling an engine as lugging it once. While not good for your engine/car, it won't do the same damage which is possible with lugging your engine. Stalling the engine is basically the engine not having the torque to overcome the demand which has been put on it.

As far as lugging damage, check this answer. Lugging an engine can cause real damage.

  • How come it lugging once? Since it the fuel is not getting fired at all? On my bike my rear wheel locked up during braking. And the clutch wasnt pulled in. Does that count as lugging it also? Thanks for your answers Jul 8, 2015 at 22:58
  • Stalling is lugging it once because the engine fires just the once at the time of the stall then dies. This might/might not equate on a single cylinder 4-stroke engine. With your bike, you stalled it. Jul 9, 2015 at 0:17
  • Okay i understood the first part thanks :) for the second part, it didnt kill the engine though. Just some noises.thanks Jul 9, 2015 at 3:11

Running at low revs "lugging" is not really damaging provided you have appropriate oil pressure, but I'd question the mileage gained by it, modern ECU's will provide appropriate fuel and may run richer trying to raise these speed when you're trying to accelerate from an already high gear. Modern engines are far more tolerant than engines of decades past and are not likely to suffer any internal damage.

The only real concern I would have would be additional wear and tear on items such as engine mounts, transmission mounts and your clutch if you're driving a manual car if you are unable to keep the car from bucking at such a low rev.

Stalling isn't really as bad as people would have you believe IMO, more of an inconvenience or embarrassment. Teaching many people to drive manual transmissions over the years I've never had a stall induced breakdown.

  • 1
    The damage that lugging does comes from the fuel burning at the wrong time, so it tries to bend the crankshaft rather than turning it. This bad news for the piston since it is facing resistince from the both side. And it is even worse for the cran and connecting rods. And running richer will make it even worse since all those components will get that "wrong" type of force. Jul 7, 2015 at 5:13
  • Agree with @Erunanethiel about lugging doing damage. It can cause damage, not only the piston, rods, crank, drive train, but can break piston rings if you do it enough. Its like taking a jackhammer the the entire works, or in car parlance like putting an impact wrench on it ... a really big impact wrench. Jul 7, 2015 at 10:15
  • @Erunanethiel I think you're confusing lugging with detonation which is regulated by timing.
    – Chris
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:32

On my bike, with the clutch out I have locked the rear brakes, though the engine didnt stall. Is this lugging it?

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