Does your clutch wear out prematurely? Here’s how you can prevent it

Cars with manual gearboxes are an endangered species. While there is this whole brigade of ‘save the manuals’ purists, automakers do not seem to be interested in building and selling cars with stick shifts. According to data from Edmunds, out of all the cars on sale in the United Sales in 2020, less than 15% of models came with a manual box. So clearly there are not many options for those who crave shifting gears on their own.

While you may find many used cars for sale with manual boxes, it is really difficult to get a reliable one at a good price. Cars with manual boxes are much sought after by enthusiasts and resellers are aware of that. Hence, these cars typically ask for more money. However, if you’ve recently found love with manuals or are not all that versed with driving a manual, then you might just end up being a victim of premature clutch wear. Buying a used manual car and maintaining it can prove to be a little expensive but you can all afford it for the joy of shifting it by yourself.

The clutch is constantly subjected to high friction and clutch wear is a common problem, even with some experienced manual drivers. For those of you who are not aware, the clutch basically sits between the engine and the gearbox and transmits torque and power from the engine to the gearbox. Too much abuse on the clutch and incorrect operation are the only reasons why the clutch wears out prematurely and so we bring you some methods to prevent the burning of your clutch.

Slot it right!

The most common cause for premature clutch wear is that drivers do not shift the gears properly. Drivers shift the gear before the clutch is completely disengaged or sometimes release the clutch pedal too soon. This not only damages your clutch plates but you also end up grinding the gears. Try and get a good grip on the clutch pedal. Make sure you only shift the stick when the clutch pedal is completely floored. That way you do not wear the clutch.

Use the dead pedal

Many drivers while driving a manual get a bit too anxious about the clutch pedal. They often appear hesitant to lift their left foot completely off the clutch pedal and rest it on the dead pedal. As a result, drivers end up having a light dab on the clutch pedal. Now, this gentle dab might be insignificant for you but the clutch pedal is sensitive and when you have the foot on the pedal, even slightly, you end up riding the clutch. 

Riding the clutch damages your clutch plates and the clutch starts to slip eventually. Sometimes, drivers tend to ride the clutch when they’re stuck in traffic without shifting to the lower gears. This too inflicts great damage on your clutch. So, it is advised that you use the dead pedal and always rest your left foot on the dead pedal after you are done operating the clutch pedal.

Do not use the clutch for preventing rollback

Many people hold the clutch half and gently press the accelerator while they’re standing still on an incline to prevent it from rolling back. This generally happens when you’re at the traffic light or in a jam. Now, while this might seem pretty normal to you but the fact is doing this might cost you your clutch. 

To prevent your car from rolling back, try using the parking brake. When you have to move forward, release the clutch slightly, tap on the accelerator gently and quickly release the parking brake. You’ll have to practice this technique to get it right, but once you ace it, you won’t be burning your clutch too much.

Idle in neutral

When sitting at a traffic light or when sitting idle, make sure that you shift to neutral. Sitting idle with the first gear engaged and the clutch pressed for a long time simply puts an unnecessary load on the clutch. Instead, if you have to keep your engine running, simply shift to neutral and release the clutch pedal. This will help you prevent wearing out of the clutch.

Do not drop the clutch hard

You might find dropping the clutch for quick acceleration exciting and enthralling but that causes a lot of damage to the clutch. The clutch springs aren’t designed to bear that kind of load, and you just end up damaging those springs. The clutch has to be released gently and gradually at the optimal RPMs. Dropping the clutch hard is simply not ideal and doing it frequently will terribly hurt your clutch.

Long-story-short, the clutch is a critical component of your car and needs to be used carefully. You cannot simply abuse it and you need to understand its function and the way it operates. Inculcating the above-said habits in your driving style will certainly help you prevent burning out and damaging your car’s clutch.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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