Feathering the accelerator, also known as feathering gas pedal, is applying the lightest pressure on the car’s accelerator pedal. Feathering aims to propel the car slowly around the corner or down the hill while maintaining speed and saving the engine from overworking. 

Feathering the accelerator requires skills just like any other practice. So, as a learner or even a pro driver who has never done it before, you can go wrong. Usually, it involves placing your heel on the floorboard and lightly pressing the accelerator pedal with the edge of your shoe outsole.

How do you know you are feathering gas pedal correctly? You should notice the perfect balance of speed and vehicle handling without overshooting or crashing. And finally, you’ll enjoy several benefits, as gearheads claim. One of the benefits of gas pedal feathering is an improved gas mileage.

Read more benefits of accelerator feathering in the next topic. Also, you will learn the step-by-step accelerator feathering procedure in this article. Read on!

What are the Benefits of Feathering the Accelerator?

The accelerator pedal feathering comes with several benefits related to the car engine lifespan and fuel saving. Below we have discussed all the benefits of feathering the throttle:

1. Prolonged Brake Pads’ Life

When descending the slope or driving in high traffic, feathering helps to maintain a constant speed and to avoid unnecessary braking. Less braking helps in prolonging brake pads and the brake shoe lives.

Prolonged Brake Pads’ Life: photo

2. Prevents Excessive Wear of the Brake Rotors

Brake rotors are circular discs that the brake pads rub against when you press the brake pedal. They convert kinetic energy (motion) into thermal energy (heat), and if this process is done repeatedly and for a prolonged time, brake rotors can wear. Accelerator feathering saves the rotors from excessive wear.

Read more: Do you have to bleed brakes after changing pads?

3. Improved gas Mileage

Feathering the gas pedal helps the vehicle maintain a constant speed without overworking the engine. As such, the engine consumes less fuel. Improved gas mileage means you save on fuel expenses.

4. Less Air Pollution

If the vehicle uses less fuel, it emits less carbon monoxide into the environment. This helps to get to your destination and still conserve the environment.

5. Long Engine Lifespan

Light pressing of the accelerator increases the speed slowly. This saves the engine from working harder and wearing prematurely.

The above benefits give feathering the accelerator meaning in the automotive world. Read the step-by-step process of feathering gas pedal in the next topic.

How Do You Feather a Gas Pedal?

Feathering the accelerator requires basic knowledge of how the brake system works. And the most popular technique many car drivers use is the Feel, Firm, Feather technique. How do you apply the technique?

Step 1: Set Your Foot Appropriately

While the car is at high speed, set your foot right by laying the heel on the floorboard and touching the brake pedal with the outsole edge. Ideally, set the foot heel at the center of the brake and the accelerator pedal for easy shifting.

Set Your Foot Appropriately: photo

Step 2: Feel the Brakes

There usually is a slight “Gap” that the brake pedal moves downwards before pushing the brake pads to the rotors. Press down slowly and feel the car starts to slow. The purpose of the feel stage is to note the brake gap to avoid braking abruptly when feathering.

Step 3: The Firm Stage

In this stage, you apply firm pressure on the pedal to eliminate the excess speed. Avoid harsh braking at this stage. You only need the right speed for feathering.

Stage 4: The Feather Stage

Shift the foot from the brake and lightly press on the accelerator pedal. Do some fine adjustments on the speed using the accelerator and the brake pedals until you arrive at your desired speed. Finally, let the car move as your outsole lightly lays on the accelerator pedal.

Which Are the Best Situations For Feathering The Accelerator?

  • Driving in traffic – it helps to maintain a constant speed as you follow the car in front.
  • Driving on motorways at constant speed – involves accelerating the car to a speed of around 60 MPH and lightly pressing the gas pedal as it maintains the speed. Once the car starts slowing down, you increase the speed again. Note that you can do this on a sloppy or flat road.
  • Exiting or entering a car park – while in the car park, it isn’t necessary to move at high speed. You can feather the accelerator and park the car slowly.
  • Reversing the car – reversing the car is a slow process that needs you to be extra careful. You can feather the throttle in this situation.
  • Driving on a slippery road – on a slippery road, you don’t have to drive fast. You can feather the gas pedal while moving slowly to avoid sliding.
  • Driving on a curvy road– you can feather the accelerator on a low gear to safely negotiate corners on the road.

Which Are the Best Situations For Feathering The Accelerator: photo

Which Are the Worst Situations When You Should Not Feather the Accelerator?

  • When overtaking – even if the road is straight and clear, never feather the accelerator when overtaking. You need to overtake and get to your lane as fast as possible.
  • When joining a highway – never feather when joining a highway because you can obstruct speeding drivers and cause accidents.

Essential Things to Keep In Mind When Feathering the Accelerator

  • Always practice in a safe area like a field before trying accelerator feathering on the road. You will avoid causing obstructions on the road.
  • Light pressure on the gas pedal is enough to maintain a constant speed. If the car starts slowing, you can slowly increase the speed and start feathering.
  • Always use the speedometer to stay within the speed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Does it Mean to Feather the Clutch?

Feathering a clutch is done on manual cars. It means to engage the clutch partially when taking off so that it slips slightly. This will help to gain speed smoothly as you avoid jerking the car. However, feathering a clutch requires a lot of practice and skills because you can end up burning the clutch facings due to friction.

Is Feathering the Throttle the Same as Feathering the Clutch?

No. Feathering throttle involves light pressing the accelerator pedal to maintain a constant speed while feathering a clutch partially engages it for a smooth car take-off. But you can feather the clutch and the accelerator in a manual car while in slow-moving traffic.

Does Feathering the Gas Pedal Hurt Your Engine?

No. Feathering the gas pedal can help increase your engine lifespan because it works less hard to maintain the speed. Other feathering benefits are reduced brake system maintenance, reduced environmental pollution, and improved car gas mileage.

Our Recap

Feathering the accelerator will increase the engine lifespan, reduce brake system maintenance, reduce environmental pollution, and give you good fuel consumption. Apply the Feel, Firm, Feather strategy to achieve all the above benefits. But do a bit of practice before feathering the accelerator on busy roads. Enjoy your rides!