How to Extend Clutch Life & Save Yourself a Lot of Money

how to extend clutch life
Todd Binger, flickr

Clutch replacements can hit your bank account. Hard. With average estimates for clutch replacement ranging between $500 and $2,500 (depending on what you drive), it’s one of the most expensive repairs you can have done. To avoid this particularly nasty fate, it’s important to do everything in your power to extend your clutch life.

How to Extend Clutch Life

  1. Don’t Ride Your Clutch

    This is one of the most common mistakes made by people when operating a manual transmission car. It’s also one of the quickest ways of burning through a clutch. Avoid pressing down on your clutch pedal and accelerator at the same time, as this can also cause damage to your transmission.

  2. Use Your Clutch Only When You Have To

    Anytime you stop at a red light, put your car in neutral and release the clutch. Keeping the clutch pedal depressed when it’s not in use is a sure-fire way of reducing its longevity.

  3. Stop Using Your Clutch Pedal as a Foot Rest

    Driving a manual transmission car can sometimes be a pain in the leg, especially if you’re crawling through stop-and-go traffic. But no matter how tired your clutch leg gets, resist the temptation to rest your foot against the pedal when you’re not using it. Doing this on a consistent basis can wear down your clutch release bearing.

  4. Don’t Downshift to Slow Down

    This is what your brakes were intended for. Sure, there are occasions when downshifting may be advised – usually during inclement weather, when roads are slick and hitting the brakes might cause you to slide. But otherwise, avoid downshifting unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  5. Learn to Use Your Parking Brake

    Leaving your car in gear when parked on a hill can prevent your car from rolling, but the stress can also shorten your clutch’s lifespan. As a best practice, always ensure your parking brake is engaged.

Don’t forget, practice makes perfect. Even seasoned drivers sometimes need to brush up on their driving skills, and learning how to use your clutch to shift smoothly between gears is a good area to focus on. By doing so, you can extend its life and limit the likelihood of having to cough up a whole lot of money for a premature  replacement.
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