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Do you get nervous driving up a hill or an incline? Don’t worry ’cause you’re certainly not alone. Even the most experienced drivers have a hard time driving uphill, and a lot of manufacturers know that. It’s why you’ll find most modern vehicles on the market today have the hill start assist feature.

What Does Hill Start Assist Do?

As you might’ve guessed from its name, hill start assist is a neat feature that assists you whenever you’re starting your vehicle on a hill or incline. It stops your vehicle from rolling backward by applying pressure on your brakes.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t increase your traction. It’s an entirely different feature from your vehicle’s traction control system.

How Does Hill Start Assist Work?

Whenever you stop on a slope or hill, sensors in your vehicle send a signal to trigger the hill start assist system. For a short while, this feature will hold your brakes for you until you can start your car again. This means you don’t have to worry about your vehicle rolling backward when you move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal.

On a manual vehicle, this feature keeps your brake pressure until you let go of the clutch.

Hill Start Assist vs. Hill Descent Control

It’s easy to mistake hill start assist for hill descent control, but they’re actually two very different features. While hill start assist prevents rollback when driving uphill, hill descent control is all about keeping your driving speed steady when going downhill.

Hill start assist doesn’t manage your vehicle’s speed when you’re driving uphill. It just applies the brakes to stop you from rolling back, and it deactivates as soon as you start moving again.

On the other hand, hill descent control works in the background as you’re driving down rough, uneven terrain. It works with your vehicle’s braking system to stop your vehicle from going past a certain speed.

What Are the Benefits of Hill Start Assist?

Not all vehicles have hill start assist, but those that do certainly offer great advantages for their owners. Here are some of the benefits of owning a vehicle with this feature:

Reduces Chances of Collisions

What might be the most obvious advantage of hill start assist is how it increases road safety. Nobody wants to roll back when driving up a hill and for good reason. Rolling backward can lead to collisions and other accidents, but the hill start assist feature can help keep you and your passengers safe from that.

Makes Driving Manual Vehicles Easier

If you drive a manual vehicle, then you probably already know how hard it is to drive uphill. This is because a manual vehicle typically starts in a neutral position whenever you accelerate from a stop. This isn’t really an issue on flat roads, but it can become a problem when you’re starting from an incline.

With gravity pulling your vehicle downward, it’s a lot more likely for your vehicle to roll backward before the clutch can switch gears. That is unless your vehicle comes equipped with the hill start assist feature, which will automatically hold your brakes for you until you can take off.

Easier To Haul a Heavy Load

Have you tried transporting cargo uphill with the hill start assist feature? Because it’s going to be a lot easier, even if you’re driving with a heavy load. Hill start assist applies the brakes for you, so you can focus on driving uphill without having to worry about your cargo pulling you back down every time you stop and go.

Relieves Stress

Driving uphill can make even the most experienced drivers nervous, but having hill start assist is a great way to relieve some of those nerves. Hill start assist can relieve stress and improve your mental performance, making it easier to focus on driving.

Less Wear and Tear on Certain Parts

With the hill assist start feature, you can also expect less wear and tear on certain parts of your vehicle, such as the handbrake, clutch, engine, and drivetrain.

Because the hill start assist applies the brakes for you, you typically use the handbrake and clutch less often, so there’s less strain on them. The same goes for the engine and drivetrain, which also experience less strain since they no longer have to counteract the backward momentum of your car rolling back.

Which Manufacturers Have Hill Start Assist?

Not all vehicles have hill start assist, but most modern vehicles do. Some manufacturers will have a different name for this feature, but they mostly function the same way. For example, Kia and Ford both refer to this feature as Hill Start Assist, while Subaru’s name for hill assist is Hill Holder and Mazda calls it Hill Launch Assist.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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