Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Southern California
Car Year: 2009
Car Model: Forester XT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I am surprised that the proper method for parking on a hill was not mentioned. When uphill you cramp your steering wheels to the left and ease the vehicle back until the right tire rests against the curb, (if there is one) then it makes no difference in which order you engage the handbrake or the transmission park position. When parking downhill you turn the front tires hard right and roll forward until it is up against the curb (again, if there is one). In rural areas, where there are no curbs, this is not possible, of course.
My habit has always been to keep my foot on the brake as I slide my tranny lever to PARK, engage the handbrake, then take my foot off of the brake pedal. I have been doing it this way for both my ATs as well as my manuals for 58 years, not because I don't trust the pawls, but because it's a pain in the butt trying to take it out of P with pressure on the parking pawl.
Now, I have built many an automatic tranny in my time so here is an interesting factoid: Contrary to common thinking, the primary purpose of the transmission's "Park" position (and parking pawl) is to keep the engine's power from reaching the drive wheels when the engine is running, not to stop the vehicle from rolling when parked - this is the job of the e-brake.
Transmission shops will always tell you to engage the e-brake first to keep stress off of the pawl. Not because it will harm the tranny, but because it will wear out the pawl faster and it ain't cheap to open up a tranny to replace a pawl. Parking pawls are very well made compared to the old days. Nevertheless, don't count on them primarily.
Mike Harrington, 2009 Forester XT, Black, Navi.