How Can I Prolong the Life of my Clutch?
If you drive a car with a manual transmission it’s only a matter of time before the clutch will need to be replaced. Even though this is its fate, there are ways to prolong clutch life. Select Auto Imports estimates that a clutch can last anywhere between 20,000 and 150,000 miles. That’s a huge span! The lifespan is dependent on how you drive, how hot the climate where you live is, and the type of car you drive.
Tips to Prolong Clutch Life
There are several factors that contribute to the wear you can put on your clutch. “If you live in a hot climate, the transmission fluid will typically run hot and tend to burn out the parts more quickly,” according to HowStuffWorks. Generally, only use your clutch when you need to. Follow these other tips to prolong clutch life:
- Put Your Car in Neutral When you Can When at a red light you can give the clutch a rest by putting the car in neutral. Having the brake engaged is enough for the car not to roll. If you are parking your car, make sure to have the emergency brake engaged. This is especially important if you are parked on a hill.
- Don’t “Ride” your Clutch If the clutch is “somewhere between fully depressed and fully released,” according to Driving Test Tips, then you are riding the clutch. If you are stopped and you see “a car in front of you that is moving backwards and forwards ever-so-slightly. The driver of this vehicle is holding the car relatively stationary by riding the clutch.” Other examples of times when drivers might be riding the clutch is when they are in slow-moving traffic or when they are parallel parking. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but it shouldn’t be done excessively.
- Don’t Rest your Foot on the Clutch Driving through slow-moving traffic can mean keeping your left foot close to the clutch to be ready to shift gears. However, resting your foot on the clutch, even slightly, can cause unnecessary wear.
- Use the Brake Pedal Instead of Downshifting to Slow Down This is a tricky one. Openbay advises to only downshift if you are driving in inclement weather so as to have the most control of your vehicle. Cecil Adams of Straight Dope says that mechanics and others advise that driving down a hill is the only time a driver should downshift so as to not put strain on the brakes. However, with today’s disc brakes it might not be necessary. Adams himself always downshifts. “By downshifting you’re always in the appropriate gear for the speed you’re traveling.” Fisher Auto’s service director, Tyler De Falco, says, “I always downshift to help in ‘braking’ of the car downhill and with snowy roads. Anytime you can change the engine RPMs to slow the car down is a good thing, then apply the brakes as well. I do not believe it will wear out the clutch any faster.
Related: Do I Need a New Clutch?
At any rate, having to replace your clutch is a costly repair and following these tips may help prolong the life of your clutch. Another tip to keep in mind is to never press down on the clutch and the accelerator at the same time, according to Openbay.
Call Fisher Auto in Boulder, Colo., at 303-245-6414 to ask how you can prolong clutch life.