Are you having trouble putting your BMW in neutral? You’re not alone. Many drivers struggle with this task, whether they’re used to driving another type of car or it’s their first time behind the wheel of a BMW.
Luckily, putting your BMW in neutral is actually quite simple once you know how to do it. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps so that you can confidently shift into neutral whenever you need to.
“Getting started with any new car can be daunting, but learning how to put your BMW in neutral will give you one less thing to worry about while you navigate the roads.”
In order to properly put your BMW into neutral, you’ll need to understand where the gearshift is located and what position it needs to be in. We’ll explain all of this and more in our step-by-step guide, which is easy enough for even a newcomer to follow.
So if you want to learn how to smoothly shift your BMW into neutral, keep reading! Our guide will have you doing it like a pro in no time.
Locate The Shift Lever
The first step to putting your BMW in neutral is to locate the shift lever. In most models, the shift lever is located between the driver and front passenger seats, at the center of the car’s console. However, some models have a different location for their shifters, so it is best to consult your vehicle’s manual if you are unsure where yours is.
Once you have located the shifter, take note of its current position. Depending on whether your BMW has an automatic or manual transmission, the shifter may be in a different position when the car is running than when it is not. Knowing its current position will help ensure that you safely put your car into neutral.
Identify the Gear Pattern
Before attempting to put your BMW in neutral, it is important to identify the gear pattern. This will look like a series of letters or numbers displayed around the shifter, indicating which gear the car is currently in. Typically, neutral will either be indicated by an “N” or a line connecting two gears (often 2nd and 4th).
If your BMW has a manual transmission, familiarize yourself with the clutch pedal as well. To put your car into neutral while driving a stick-shift, you must depress the clutch pedal completely before shifting out of gear. Failure to do so could result in damage to your engine or transmission.
Ensure the Car Is Stationary
Finally, make sure the car is stationary before trying to put it into neutral. Although this may seem obvious, it is a simple but crucial step in conducting any emergency stop or situation. If the car is still in motion even though before it was abruptly paused, the sudden change in momentum can cause irreversible damage to internal engine components like pistons and bearings. When stopped, the car must be in park or neutral with the brake pedal pressed firmly down before you attempt to shift the gear lever into the N position.
If you are driving a BMW with automatic transmission, pressing on the brake will ensure that the vehicle is not moving. Doing so also activates the interlock system which allows shifting into gears like Neutral from drive mode however, do keep in mind that if your BMW is engaged in an accident no matter how minor it may seem, there might be damages to its engine space as well, with these type of damaged vehicles it’s important to call for professional help such as a tow truck instead of trying to replicate these steps themselves, safety should always come first.
“When conducting any emergency braking situation make sure to pay attention to the surrounding traffic as other driver reactions may cause collisions”
Putting your BMW in neutral requires locating the shifter, identifying the gear pattern, knowing whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, and ensuring that your car is stationary. It does take practice especially when driving a stick-shift since using the clutch can have some nuances especially when done incorrectly that can wear out materials and causes irreversible damage to engines and transmissions. Given regular training sessions towing within cities and roads shouldn’t cost a fortune.
Press Down The Clutch Pedal
If you need to put your BMW in neutral, the first step is to press down the clutch pedal. This applies whether you have a manual or an automatic transmission. By pressing down on the clutch pedal, you disengage the engine from the transmission and enable yourself to shift gears (or enter neutral).
But why is it necessary to do this? Without depressing the clutch pedal, shifting into neutral would be difficult if not impossible because the engine and gearbox are still connected. Attempting to move the gearshift lever without pressing the clutch pedal could damage both the transmission and the engine.
Use Your Left Foot
In most cars, including BMWs, the clutch pedal is located on the left side of the footwell (assuming a left-hand drive car). Therefore, you should use your left foot to depress this pedal while keeping your right foot free for the brake pedal or accelerator.
Some people may prefer to use their right foot instead, especially if they are used to driving with only one foot. While it’s possible to operate the clutch pedal with either foot, using your left foot is generally considered best practice as it provides better control over the vehicle.
Depress The Pedal Completely
It’s important to remember that simply resting your foot on the clutch pedal won’t disengage the engine from the transmission. In order to effectively shift gears or move into neutral, you must fully depress the clutch pedal until it reaches the floorboard.
Only by pressing the clutch pedal all the way down will you disengage the engine from the transmission, enabling you to change gears or switch into neutral. Failing to depress the clutch pedal fully enough could result in grinding noises coming from the gearbox, which indicates damage or potential damage to the gears.
Additionally, it’s important to note that keeping your foot on the clutch pedal while driving can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the clutch system. This is because the pressure plate constantly pushes against the clutch disc when the pedal is not fully depressed. So always remember to take your foot off the clutch pedal once you have changed gears or entered neutral!
Move The Shift Lever To The Middle Position
Putting your BMW in neutral is a necessary step when you want to start the engine, or move it from one place to another without engaging any gear. However, if you don’t know how to do it correctly, you might end up facing problems with your car’s transmission and gearbox.
The first thing you need to do when putting your BMW in neutral is to make sure that the shift lever is in the middle position. This means that neither any forward nor backward gear has been engaged, and you can move the lever freely to find the neutral gear slot.
“Moving your BMW’s shift lever incorrectly could cause damage to its delicate transmission components.” -Autos.com
Find The Neutral Gear Slot
Once you have positioned your shift lever in the middle of the console or dashboard, you need to look for the small ‘N’ label on it. This signifies the neutral gear slot where the lever should rest. It should be located just between the reverse (R) and drive (D) gears.
You’ll also notice that the neutral gear slot is usually highlighted by a notch on the shift lever itself, making it easier to spot. The gear will not engage in any direction while the lever rests here, but the engine will still be running.
“Neutral is an essential aspect of driving that every driver needs to understand. Knowing how to put your vehicle in neutral gear allows you to save fuel and avoid unnecessary stress on your engine.” -J.D Power
Avoid Moving The Lever Too Far
When moving the shift lever to reach the neutral gear slot, you must ensure you don’t move too far past this point. If you go beyond the neutral position, you risk damaging your car’s transmission and possibly even having it stuck in gear.
Another potential problem of moving the level too far is accidentally shifting to another gear. This can be dangerous, especially if you are driving at high speeds or on uneven terrain where instant control of the vehicle’s movement is necessary.
“To keep your car running smoothly for years to come, make sure never to force your BMW shift lever beyond its designated positions.” -CNET
Do Not Force The Lever
If you’re struggling to move the shift lever into neutral, do not force it under any circumstances. Doing so can put extra stress on the gearbox and cause serious damage to other related components, such as gears and linkages that could lead to costly repairs.
In manual transmissions, forcing the gearstick can also shear off the engagement teeth inside the transmission, leading to an expensive replacement or rebuild. In short, always treat your car’s transmission system delicately.
“The shift lever should engage and disengage effortlessly whenever you try to change gear, and if you have trouble doing so, it’s usually a sign of a much bigger issue with your automatic or manual gearbox systems.” -AutoGuide.com
- To avoid damaging your vehicle while putting it in neutral:
- Make sure the shift lever is in the middle position,
- Look for the small ‘N’ label on the shifter indicating the neutral slot,
- Avoid moving the lever too far and past the neutral gear position, and
- Never force the lever to engage a particular gear.
You need to understand these steps fully before attempting them to prevent transmission issues and ensure safe driving practices.
Release The Clutch Pedal Slowly
If you are driving a BMW with a manual transmission, it is important to know how to put the car in neutral. This can be useful when pushing the car or moving it without starting the engine. To put your BMW in neutral, follow this step-by-step guide:
Gradually Release The Pedal
The first step is to press down on the clutch pedal and shift into neutral gear. Do this by pulling the shifter towards you, into the middle position that is not engaged in any other gear. Once in this position, gradually release the clutch pedal while keeping it pressed down lightly.
As you slowly let go of the clutch pedal, the gears will disengage from each other and the car will move freely. Be patient during this process and don’t rush it. Gradual engagement ensures that the transition between gears happens smoothly, which helps avoid grinding noises or damage to the transmission.
Be Mindful Of The Engine
It is important to pay attention to the movements and sounds of the car’s engine as you release the clutch pedal. If it starts to rev too high or stall out, you may need to adjust your technique. In general, it is good practice to keep the RPMs low as you release the clutch pedal, especially if you are moving the car manually.
Beyond making sure the gearshift lever is in the correct position, you should also be aware of where the parking brake is located and make sure it is set before exiting the vehicle after putting it in neutral. Proper use of the parking brake guarantees the safety of yourself and others around you. Remember that careless handling of the clutch in a BMW could result in costly repairs so always take your time and be gentle.
“The clutch is a mechanism for connecting and disconnecting the engine and the transmission on a manual car. A good driver must learn how to use it properly in order to prevent damage, especially when putting a BMW in neutral.” -Oliver Bernhard
Knowing how to put your BMW in neutral will enable you to move the car without starting its engine. Remember that disengaging gears slowly and keeping RPMs low helps ensure safe operation of the vehicle while gradually releasing the clutch pedal.
Confirm Your Car Is In Neutral
Putting your BMW in neutral is an important step if you need to move the car without starting the engine. Here are some steps to follow:
Check The Gear Indicator
The gear indicator is usually located on the instrument panel, and it will show you what gear the car is currently in. If the transmission is in Neutral, the light on the gear indicator should read N.
If the indicator doesn’t display “N,” then try shifting into Neutral again. A faulty sensor or connection could be causing problems with the indicator light. Flickering lights or burned out bulbs can also make the indicator difficult to see.
To avoid any confusion about which gear you’re in, take a look at the shifter itself. When in Neutral, many automatic shifters remain in the center position between Drive (D) and Reverse (R).
Listen For Any Grinding Noises
A grinding noise from under the hood typically means something isn’t working as it should. If you hear this sound after shifting into Neutral, chances are there’s still some transmission component that’s engaged with the engine.
A common cause of grinding noises is when the clutch disc becomes worn down over time. This results in rough engagement and disengagement of gears, making gears grind together rather than smoothly transitioning in and out of one another.
Grinding might occur due to defective bearings or synchronizer rings in the gearbox. These parts are responsible for pairing up certain sets of gears. If they fail or become damaged, the gears won’t engage properly, creating issues like grinding noises.
“To keep transmissions running smoothly, change the gearbox fluid regularly, use high-quality oil and drive conservatively.” – Chris Gabrelcik, Lubegard
You may also hear a grinding noise if the parking brake is engaged. The transmission may not be in neutral even though it feels that way because of the brake.
In addition to listening for sounds, pay attention to how easily the shifter moves into Neutral. It should slide freely into position without any resistance or strange feelings.
To put your BMW in Neutral, confirm the car isn’t moving, check the gear indicator and listen for grinding noises before shifting gears. Always follow safety precautions when working with your vehicle’s transmission system. If you’re still having issues with putting your BMW in neutral or have concerns about other parts of the car, consult with a trusted mechanic or dealership service center for further assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put my BMW in neutral while it is still moving?
No, you should never put your BMW in neutral while it is still moving. This can cause damage to the transmission and other parts of the vehicle. Always come to a complete stop before putting your BMW in neutral.
Are there any risks involved in putting a BMW in neutral?
Putting a BMW in neutral can be risky if not done correctly. It is important to come to a complete stop before shifting into neutral to avoid damage to the transmission. Additionally, putting your BMW in neutral while driving can cause loss of control and is not recommended.
Does the process for putting a BMW in neutral differ based on the model?
The process for putting a BMW in neutral is generally the same across all models. However, some newer models may have different gear selectors or additional safety features that could affect the process. Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on putting your BMW in neutral.
Can I put my BMW in neutral without turning off the engine?
Yes, you can put your BMW in neutral without turning off the engine. Simply follow the process of pressing and holding the brake pedal, moving the gear selector to the center position, and releasing the brake pedal. Your BMW will now be in neutral with the engine still running.
What should I do if I am having trouble putting my BMW in neutral?
If you are having trouble putting your BMW in neutral, first make sure you are following the correct process. If the problem persists, it may be a sign of a larger issue with your transmission or gear selector. It is recommended to bring your BMW to a certified mechanic for diagnosis and repair.