Many (most) of your vehicle’s parts do wear out with time and use. Your clutch is one of those parts that will require replacement, especially if you keep your vehicle 100,000 miles and beyond (and sometimes well before that). Several factors affect how long your clutch will last, primarily the owner’s driving habits, terrain you live in, and the amount/frequency of use. The less you use your clutch, generally the longer it will last.
Terrain changes like hills and steep turns require frequent speed changes, therefore requiring frequent gear changes. If you live in a steep, hilly area, you can expect to work your clutch overtime and will take more wear and tear.
Being aware of how you drive probably has the most effect on the wear and tear on your clutch, so here are a few things to keep in mind to extend the life of your clutch:
Don’t “ride” the clutch
Whenever your foot is resting on the clutch pedal (and partially depressing the pedal), you are “riding” your clutch and creating stress in the system. Keep your foot off the clutch pedal unless you are changing gears.
Use your clutch “judiciously”
Many people downshift to slow their vehicles as they come to a stop, creating friction on the clutch while trying to save their brakes. However, replacing a clutch assembly will generally cost around $1000, whereas brake pad replacement and machining rotors runs less than $250. Which would you rather replace?
Keep your foot off of the clutch at a stop sign (light) or on a hill
Partially depressing the clutch pedal to keep from rolling backward, or while waiting to start from a stop, will accelerate the wear and tear on your clutch and your throw-out bearing significantly.
Release the clutch smoothly
While applying just enough gas to get moving. Do not “pop” the clutch out quickly, and always let off totally on the accelerator as you push the clutch in.
Save yourself some money and drive consciously, and extend the life of your clutch. Reduce the wear and tear, and drive more safely. If you are noticing grinding when shifting, your clutch may be starting to go out. If you are concerned about the feel of your clutch, stop by your favorite Honest Accurate Auto Service and have an experienced technician take it for a drive. Better to be pro-active than to be left stranded on the road!