My brakes on my car have failed.

I cannot afford to replace them anytime soon. Is a acceptable to stop a car by putting the car into reverse gear, giving it some gas so it does not stall, and then raising the clutch to the bite point to slow the car down?

It will be a few weeks before I cannot afford to replace my brakes, and I need to drive to work in order to pay for the brake replacement.

EDIT: I have tried this, and it works! Only problem is it requires a lot of force to get the car into reverse gear.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 4:38
  • After trying this a few times, I think my car has had another failure, maybe the brakes are stuck on or something, because my car is starting to produce a very pungent smoke. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 4:46
  • 1
    No, I think you've destroyed your clutch already. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 4:50
  • 1
    That doesn't sound like any vehicle I would drive sober, in any way in any case nohow. Get the brakes checked out.
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 7:32
  • 4
    If you cannot afford to maintain a safe vehicle on the roads, then you should walk, cycle or take the bus. Other road users and pedestrians expect to be reasonably safe while on the road.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 7:55

1 Answer 1



For (at least) three reasons:

  1. It's not safe. You're using the transmission/clutch to slow the vehicle down in a manner it wasn't designed to do.
  2. You're destroying your clutch. You state you cannot afford to get the brakes fixed, yet you're causing an extreme amount of wear on your clutch assembly, which costs a WHOLE bunch more to replace than the brakes do.
  3. You're destroying your transmission internals. When shifting at speed from forward to reverse, you're causing an extreme amount of wear on the internals of the transmission (synchros, dogs, bearings). You think you cannot afford to replace the brakes? Wait until you have to pay for a new transmission ... oh, and the clutch while you're at it as well because of #2.

This is really a poor idea. Will it slow you down? Yes, as you've already proven it. Is it a good idea? Absolutely not. Think of nothing further than the safety of you and your passengers. Then think of the lawsuit someone is going to file against you when they find out your car isn't able to stop using the brakes because there wasn't any. I would bet in some jurisdictions, you could be put in jail for something like that.

Bottom line: Just don't do it, as it's not a good idea.

  • 3
    I joined the community just to upvote this answer. If you don't have any money to replace your brakes, you surely won't have enough money to pay for the accidents you might cause, the lawsuits you'll get or the families you might destroy. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 10:20
  • Also note that brakes have much more power than the motor. If you push down gas and brake pedal simultaneously, the engine stops. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 11:52

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .