Will it cause any damage to the engine/transmission if one switches from N to D without pressing the brake pedal?

I was driving at about 40 mph when I accidentally switched to N. Then after a while I switched again to D, but I didn't press the brake pedal. The auto is Hyundai Accent 2016. The manual says that one should always press the brake before switching from N to D, but is it so bad if I did not press only once?

  • Did you push the little button in too? Or did you slap the shifter from N to D like you're supposed to? :) Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 15:27
  • In both cases I didn't push the button on the lever. I just moved the lever as it is possible to switch between N and D without pushing the button. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


No harm done

On contemporary vehicles there is no direct mechanical linkage between the gear selector and the automatic transmission.

Instead, the gear selector selects a "state" (e.g. N, D, R, 1, 2...) which is relayed electronically to the transmission controller and acted upon if the circumstances are deemed favorable.


Should be no problem at all.

The manual is being overly cautious, since the usual case for shifting from neutral into drive is when you're stopped hold the brake will prevent the car from starting to move until you release the brake. But when you're already moving there is no need to hold the brake.

  • The manual isn't "overly cautious" in the usual situation where you select drive when the car is not moving! A driver used to manual transmission may be used to being stationary and out of gear with no brake applied on a level road (e.g. stopped at a red light), and pressing the clutch and selecting a gear anticipating starting to move soon may be almost unconscious behaviour - with an unexpected result if there's no clutch pedal to depress.
    – alephzero
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 15:00
  • You're right that this is the usual use case, but to say always apply the brake before shifting, and the OP claims this manual says does seem to me to be overly cautious – or at least badly worded, since it doesn't cover the cases where you don't need to apply the brake (e.g., this one or going from reverse to drive at slow speed).
    – dlu
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 22:38

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