Neutral is designed for those times you want the engine to be running but the car to not be moving. If that would cause harm, the manufacturers would have designed in a lockout system to prevent you from doing that. It doesn't save gas, but it could reduce the occurrence of warped brake rotors if they get hot from a lot of city driving. Holding the brakes holds all that heat in one spot. I have the habit of letting my van creep ahead a little at stop lights to let the rotors cool evenly. Even that is not necessary.
What you MIGHT be overlooking on newer cars is the Engine Computer periodically performs self tests on the emissions system during a "drive cycle". If the car goes in for emissions testing and those self-tests have run and passed, you're done. If they haven't run, they have to manually test the emissions. There are very specific conditions that must be met for those self tests to run, including driving at a steady highway speed for a specific period of time, and idling for a specific period of time. A test could be aborted when the transmission is in neutral. That is not a big deal and doesn't apply to a '95 model car.
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 AT 4:42 PM