Which do you want to last longer: your transmission or your marriage?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

OK, I've had it. My soon-to-be-wife has a commercial driver's license and
assumes that she knows a lot about driving. Well, she does, but this is
something I can't understand. Her car is a 1996 Escort with automatic
transmission. She insists that when I park the car, I a) shift into Neutral, b)
apply the parking brake, c) release the foot brake, and then d) shift into Park.
The rationale for this is to relieve pressure on the automatic transmission; she
was told to do this by her colleague "Dan the Van Man." I don't understand. I am
happy to apply the parking brake with the foot brake firmly applied (thus making
sure that the car is resting on the brakes, and not on the transmission), then
shift into Park prior to releasing the foot brake. But she demands that I do it
her way. Is there any rationale for this? -- David

TOM: You want car advice or marital advice, David?

RAY: We'll give you both. Car advice first. No, there's no rationale for what
she's doing. She's got several extra steps in there. And what you do is not only
perfectly acceptable, it's absolutely right.

TOM: When you come to a stop, your foot is already on the foot brake, right?
Then, with your foot still on the brake, you put the car in Park and apply the
parking brake. Then you release the foot brake. Voila!

RAY: Doing things in that order leaves the weight of the car resting on the
parking brake rather than the transmission and makes it easier to get the car
OUT of Park later (when you reverse the order), especially if you're parked on
any kind of a hill.

TOM: So the answer is, she's wacko, David.

RAY: Now for the marital advice: Tell her she's absolutely right. While she's
going through several unnecessary steps, she's not harming anything by doing so.
She's still ending up with the same effect. And since this is obviously
important to her, just do it because you love her.

TOM: And every time you go through this stupid, time-consuming routine, you can
think about how charming and unique she is, and how lucky you are to be married
to such an unusual woman. After all, which do you want to last longer, David?
Your marriage or your car?

* * *

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