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Feather The Accelerator: What Does It Mean? (Full 2023 Guide!)

Jamey Muller
Updated: December 24, 2022
4 min read

If you've heard the term “feathering the accelerator” you might be curious to know what this means; if you should try it out, and the benefits of doing so. With that being said, let's answer any questions you may have related to feathering the accelerator. 

What Does It Mean To Feather The Accelerator?

Feathering the accelerator means gently pressing down on the accelerator, for a slight increase in engine usage, helping to maintain steady speed and control of the vehicle. This technique takes time to master; but can help you to save on gas, prolong engine life, and influences better vehicle handling.

Why Should You Feather The Accelerator?

Learning to feather the accelerator is a skill that can help in driving situations and also prolong the life of your car. 

  • Maintaining steady control of your vehicle prevents your car from jumping out of gear, and potentially causing issues such as transmission damage
  • It can prolong the life of your engine by putting it through less stress
  • It can help maintain control of your vehicle in different situations 
  • It helps use less gas by influencing a leveled acceleration of the vehicle

What Happens To Your Engine When You Feather The Accelerator?

Feathering the accelerator can be used as a technique to ensure your car engine slowly raises its pace accelerating up through each gear, maintains a steady speed, and also that less fuel is being used. 

As your foot is pressing down lightly on the pedal, your engine is working less. As a result, can help combat wear and tear on the brake pads and rotors, which can also help you increase your car’s life and maintenance costs. 

When Should You Not Feather The Accelerator?

Situations where you'll want to be cautious about feathering the accelerator include: 

  • When starting your engine, pressing the accelerator can interfere with your car's idle state
  • When you need to accelerate, such as to overtake a vehicle
  • Avoid feathering the accelerator on busy roads if you aren't comfortable doing so. If you haven't acquired good control, if you press too lightly on the accelerator, then feathering can easily make your car stall, potentially leading to more serious issues

What Does It Mean To Feather The Throttle?

To feather the throttle is the technique of slightly pressing down on the throttle, similar to the touch of a feather; while maintaining balanced speed and control. In return, the car will operate smoother, with fewer variations in engine load and revs, hydraulic speed, and power usage. It's a hard skill to master and will take lots of practice to make perfect! 

Is Feathering The Accelerator The Same As Feathering The Throttle?

The word accelerator is often used interchangeably with the word throttle as they are both technically referring to the control that regulates power in a car. However, the terms “feathering the accelerator” and “feathering the throttle” are sometimes used in different situations. 

Feathering the accelerator is often described as a technique applied to cars for greater control in everyday driving situations.

Feathering the throttle is often described as the technique used when driving at high speeds, such as racing and rally cars, by applying a slight amount of pressure on the accelerator to propel your car around bends to maintain the required speed and balance. This helps the car drift and can also stop overpressing the pedal, thus preventing mishaps such as accidents.

When Should You Feather The Accelerator?

The technique of feathering the accelerator is used for maintaining speed while using less gas than if you were to press your foot down harder on the accelerator. 

Some situations where this can be used are listed below. 

Motorways

On motorways, you can feather the accelerator to maintain an even speed in your lane, and as a result, cut down on the fuel used. You can do this by accelerating to a steady speed and gently releasing your foot on the gas pedal to let the engine gradually slow down and work less hard, slowly reducing speed, and then you can repeat the process as necessary. 

Car Parks

Feathering the accelerator works well in low-speed areas such as car parks. It's a good way to park your car, and when gently using the pedal, keeps both wheels slowly turning as you find a space, ensuring steady control. As a result, you'll avoid needing to suddenly hit the brakes, and can smoothly park. 

In Traffic

Feathering the accelerator maintains an even baseline control of your vehicle. From this state, you can comfortably react and maneuver the accelerator when you need to move faster in and out of traffic, and quickly slow down the car by returning to the feathering state when needed.

You'll also be able to control your car easier when maneuvering around junctions, bends carparks, and so on. 

Summary

Understanding how to feather the accelerator, and how to incorporate this into everyday driving strategies is vital before trying it out on faster, main roads. If you learn how to do this effectively, you'll lower fuel costs and have greater control over your vehicle in many driving situations.

Written by
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.