Many car gear shifters feature a protruding button that motorists often ignore, but a driving expert has explained why you won’t want to overlook this switch.
YouTube auto influencer Bubba Blue published a video explaining that this side gear selector control is your vehicle’s Hill Descent Control (HDC) feature.
He explained in the clip that HDC ensures your car doesn’t go into overdrive by eliminating your sixth gear while traveling down inclines, resulting in a smoother and steadier speed.
Overdrive describes a situation where the vehicle’s transmission slips into its highest gear, and it’s best for cruising on level surfaces or going down a gentle slope.
Bubba Blue added that cars going down steep hills with overdrive will cause you to continuously ride your brakes, accelerating their wear.
In contrast, HDC features engine compression that automatically does some of this braking.
However, Bubba Blue noted that the primary drawback of using HDC is that it cuts into your gas mileage because your engine uses more fuel to function.
The internet auto influencer told viewers: “While you’re driving around town if you keep this option on, it will feel like your car’s a little quicker because your RPMs are just already up a little higher, so as soon as you floor it — it just drops it and goes.
“If you’re at the drag strip or something, don’t use this mode because it’s not going to make you any faster. Your car is already going as hard as it can, to go as quick as you go, so it’s like it’s going to make your time any kind of quicker.”
It’s vital to note that some vehicles have HDC systems operating independently of the gear shifter, typically through a button or switch on a driver’s dashboard or center console.
HDC technology was created by Bosch and Land Rover in the early 1990s — according to Auto Assets.