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I occasionally do it to slow down when I don't want to hit the brakes

Excuse me, but, uh, why is it you're reluctant to use the brakes for their intended purpose?

There is no point, logic, or rationale to downshift an automatic transmission to slow a car. Even with a manual, there isn't any reason to do so for braking purposes.

Back in the "good old days," when braking was crummy on everything on the road, there was a good case to be made for engine braking. Today (since the 80's), there is no reason.

Use the brakes.

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