How To Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle's Clutch

Driving a manual transmission car has numerous benefits. Less maintenance, higher gas mileage, and the joy of smoothly shifting into fourth or fifth gear as you cruise down the highway. A clutch, however, is like any mechanical system in that eventually it breaks and needs replaced. You cannot stop that, but you can fend it off and extend the life of your clutch with just a few good driving tips.

Stop Being a Lead Footed Clutch Driver

One of the first things to do if you want to prolong the life of your clutch is to take your foot off the clutch pedal when you are not actively engaging it. It does not matter how light you think you are pressing on the pedal, you can still wear down the clutch release bearing.  Also, do not engage the clutch and the gas pedals at the same time.  Another way to extend your clutch's life is to only use the clutch when you need to. An example of this is when you are stopped at a red light. Do you keep the clutch engaged and the car in gear? If so, you are putting more wear and tear on the clutch than is needed. Instead, put the car in neutral and let go of the clutch pedal.

Horses Are For Riding, Not Clutches

A key way of preventing early clutch problems is to not ride your clutch. This is a common problem with people who have just started to drive a manual transmission and it can lead to very bad driving habits. Riding the clutch means you have the habit of keeping the clutch partially engaged at all times. This means that the clutch never fully engages the flywheel and causes excessive wear and tear on both the clutch plate and the transmission. Slipping the clutch while on a hill can also wear it out sooner than need be. This is because of the increased friction and wear between the plates and transmission.

Good Braking Habits Can Stop Clutch Wear Too

Another way of increasing the longevity of your clutch is to use the brakes when you are slowing down. A lot of drivers downshift to slow down, which is a good method to use during inclement weather. Using your clutch to slow in normal driving conditions just puts undue stress on the mechanism and should be avoided. While speaking of brakes, use the parking brake when you are parked on a hill. While leaving the clutch engaged is an easy way of keeping your car from rolling, it also causes strain that can and should be avoided.

Clutch replacements can be expensive, so keeping them as far away from now as possible is a good thing. Learning new habits can be difficult, but a few moments of discomfort is worth keeping your clutch in good health. For more information or an inspection, contact Integrity Transmission & Auto Service Center.