I'm just having my first auto transmission car, with press to start button.

How I start the car

  1. Press the brake pedal
  2. Press the "press to start" button to turn on engine
  3. Move gear from "P" to "R" (Or "D")
  4. Push down hand brake
  5. Release the brake pedal

I was wondering, is this the correct way to stop the car?

How I stop the car (1)

  1. Press the brake pedal
  2. Move gear from "D" (or "R") to "P"
  3. Press the "press to start" button to stop the engine
  4. Release the brake pedal
  5. Pull up hand brake

Or, should I stop the car in the following way?

How I stop the car (2)

  1. Press the brake pedal
  2. Press the "press to start" button to stop the engine
  3. Move gear from "D" (or "R") to "P"
  4. Release the brake pedal
  5. Pull up hand brake

My confusion is on step 2 & 3.

  • Move gear from "D" (or "R") to "P"
  • Press the "press to start" button to stop the engine

I'm not really sure which is the correct order. Does it matter, or do any of these methods cause mechanical damage or excessive wear?

  • Throw a parachute. Or an anchor. Or Batman's grappling hook. :)
    – JoErNanO
    May 25, 2016 at 15:15

6 Answers 6


You may not have a choice. On many "button cars" you cannot just kill the engine while the transmission is still in gear. This is a safety feature to prevent you from bumping it and turning off the engine on the highway by accident.

You really don't need to change how you stopped the car from when you had keys, just push the button instead of turning the key. Hence, your sequence could be:

  1. Press the brake pedal
  2. Put the transmission in "P"
  3. Apply the parking brake
  4. Release the brake pedal
  5. Push the button to stop the engine

Now the steps are not critical as far as when you apply the parking brake, etc, but the keys are you want to stop the car with the brake, then put it park to prevent anything from rolling, apply the extra safety of the parking brake, then kill the engine.

I hope that helps!

  • 1
    Actually, setting the parking brake before letting off the brake pedal will reduce the wear on the transmission, especially on a hill. Get in the habit. May 25, 2016 at 3:58

You may not need do it one way or another, but the correct habit would be to stop and then Park the vehicle before turning it off.

Why? Well, you're not doing any damage making the selection on the gearbox if the engine is running. You set the vehicle's controls appropraitely and the last thing you do is turn it off.

Consider the opposite, do you put the car in drive, and then start it?

Most cars for decades have prevented the key being removed before Park is selected, again suggesting the first thing is to set the vehicle stationary before anything is done with turning off the engine/removing the key. This is somewhat lost in cars with remote keys, but the habits should be the same.


If the car is fully stopped then either way is fine. Neither will cause damage to your car. I however would recommend getting into the habit putting it into park first then cutting the engine because if you cut the engine first you may forget to put it in park later. If it is still in drive the car could potentially roll away.


The correct terminology is "to park the car". This is what I've been taught on an automatic transmission:

  1. Come to a complete stop in "D".
  2. Put shifter into "N".
  3. Apply parking brake, release service brake to let the car rest completely on the parking brake.
  4. Put shifter into "P" (most cars do not need the service brake to be applied when going up into "P", but your mileage may vary)
  5. Turn off ignition.

Step 2 and 3 is there to prevent the car's weight from resting on the parking pawl in the transmission.


How to Stop a Car (Correct Way)
1.Press the brake pedal
2.Pull up hand brake
3.Move gear from "D" (or "R") to "P"
4.Release the brake pedal
5.Press the "press to start" button to stop the engine

Why? You want the handbrake to hold the car stationary. You don't want to stress the Parking gear, it can fail without warning.

Once in a while you'll want to test your car's handbrake by going on a hill, putting the gear in neutral (N) and see if the handbrake holds the car stationary. If it moves then they require adjusting.


How would stop at traffic lights?

  • Press the brake pedal
  • Apply the parking brake
  • Release the brake pedal

All you're doing when stopping "completely" is adding to the end of this sequence:

  • Put the transmission in "P"
  • Push the button to stop the engine
  • 1
    Who uses the parking brake at stop lights? That doesn't seem safe.
    – JPhi1618
    May 25, 2016 at 14:52
  • 1
    What is the benefit to this process? I see added complexity and a negative benefit as well as increased risk of some kind of an incident. May 25, 2016 at 16:07
  • I've been recently told that this is taught in the UK to some extent.
    – JPhi1618
    May 25, 2016 at 16:09

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