I find myself having to apply the break pedal everytime I go down an inclination. It's not too steep but the car seems to gain speed faster and faster.

In the other cars I have driven, this was not the case. cars would maintain their speed without much change even without holding the break pedal.

  • Is this considered a "driving question"? Should this be closed as off topic as per this meta-post: meta.mechanics.stackexchange.com/q/1/86. @Larry - I replaced the link with the correct one from meta. Thanks!
    – jmort253
    Mar 27, 2011 at 19:07
  • @jmort I think it is okay, he is asking if there is something wrong with his car. Mar 27, 2011 at 19:15
  • I have to say I wish I had this problem. I'm often disappointed that my car slows down even on moderately steep slopes...
    – Benjol
    Mar 28, 2011 at 12:01

4 Answers 4


This very much depends on the incline.

If it is a slight incline, I would expect that the vehicle would still accelerate, but probably not if you are going fast (Over 30 mph, say). If it's more than a 5 degree incline, then you could probably go highway speeds without touching the gas.

If you find yourself riding the break, as has been suggested, try going into a lower gear, even in an automatic. That should take care of the problem for you, slowing you down without wearing out the brakes.

  • is it okay to change to a lower gear going downhill without stopping? Mar 28, 2011 at 22:57
  • Yes, just don't put it in reverse... Mar 28, 2011 at 23:11

At risk of sounding facetious, yes it is normal. It's due to gravity. The steeper the slope the greater the acceleration.

Exceptions include: some off road vehicles which use intelligent engine braking for downhill, but even they will only cope up to a certain slope angle, loss of grip.

  • 3
    it's worth adding that this is less of an issue with a manual transmission than with an automatic. Gearing down in either transmission will add engine braking to the equation.
    – Bob Cross
    Mar 27, 2011 at 20:36

It could be the gear ratios in your car. Vehicles that are geared lower will hold their speed going down hills using the concepts of engine braking, while vehicles geared really high will be more likely to gain speed as a result of little to no engine braking.

The other cause could be your idle setting. If your car is set to idle really high, it's going to take off on it's own, without pressing the accelerator.

  • Why the downvote? My Ford Truck, geared low, will hold 6MPH when going downhill when it's locked in first. Dodge Caravans with overdrive transmissions, on the other hand, will accelerate downhill on their own as the gear ratio is actually past 1/1 when in overdrive.
    – jmort253
    Mar 27, 2011 at 19:00

It could be various reasons, like speed at which you enter the slope. Probably nothing is wrong with your car.

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