It’s a fact of life that a car clutch will almost certainly wear out before your car does. That’s because, even under normal use, they’re going to take quite a lot of wear and tear with constant gear changes when you’re shifting your car. So how long will your clutch last in your manual transmission?
The fact is, it’s practically impossible to say, because there are so many variables. You’ve probably heard people say that their clutch wore out in under 30,000 miles. You might also talk with people who will tell you that their car clutch is still working just fine at 100,000.
What causes premature clutch failure?
As we’ve said, there are a lot of variables. You might be surprised to learn that even your geographic location can have an effect on your clutch life. If you live in a hot climate, your transmission fluid is going to heat up, and put more of a strain on your clutch components. If you live in a mountainous area, gravity is going to take its toll on your manual transmission and your clutch will wear out more quickly.
One thing is for sure, the less you demand of your clutch, the longer it’s going to last. So if you like to pretend that your last name is Andretti, and you just love grabbing the stick shift and putting your car through all manner of gear changes, you shouldn’t expect your clutch to last.
Preventing clutch failure
Usually, the worst enemy of the car clutch is the driver. Of course no one deliberately seeks to damage the clutch, but people often do so without intending to, most of the time by using the clutch when it’s not necessary. If you’re at a traffic light, and you’re going to be there for more than ten seconds, don’t use the clutch to hold the car in place. Take the car out of gear, apply your foot to the brake, and leave the transmission in neutral.
More importantly, don’t use the clutch to regulate your speed. You can, of course, modulate the pedal between full depression and full release, but it’s very hard on the clutch. Besides, that’s what the gas pedal and brakes are for. You don’t want to leave the clutch at the mid-point any longer than you have to. This is called “riding the clutch,” and it’s not a good thing.
If you follow these few simple suggestions, you can reasonably expect at least 50,000 miles out of your clutch. Some drivers have even gotten up to 175,000 miles before experiencing a bad car clutch. It just takes a bit of common sense and proper driving techniques.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Clutch Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.