What does it mean? Why It's Important to Avoid
You will have different operating procedures if you are a manual transmission vehicle driver. Instead of shifting gears automatically, you have to press down on the clutch pedal. But, this can be done wrong, especially if your clutch pedal is moving.
We will discuss what it is like to use the clutch. We also discuss why you shouldn’t do it and give you some practical tips that will help you stop the bad practice. In this article, we will also examine how long the clutch should last, what the cost of replacement might be and how to tell when it’s time to replace it.
What exactly is riding the Clutch, you ask?
Although it sounds like a fad, riding the clutch is actually incredibly important. When you ride the clutch, you don’t allow the pedal to be released completely and it’s not fully depressed. It’s a method of controlling speed without the use of the brake.
To avoid pressing the brake pedal, people ride the clutch when there are stop signs. Also, the clutch pedal helps to maintain slower speeds than would otherwise be possible. You may also notice that your clutch pedal is pressed down on the ground. This can cause the clutch to wear out over time.
Inadvertently riding the clutch can happen at times. If you pull out from a place backwards, the clutch will be required to be ridden slightly.
When taken care of properly, the clutch can last for many years. You can avoid repair by using the clutch the way it was intended, which isn’t to ride it.
How to Avoid the Clutch
Normal conditions call for pushing the clutch pedal in to cause the hydraulics of the clutch bearing to be moved against the clutch plate by pressing the release bearing. The clutch disc is held up by a spring against the flywheel so that all tension can be released. The disc will float between the clutch plate & flywheel, allowing you to shift gears.
When the clutch isn’t fully disengaged or engaged, the clutch plate slips against the flywheel, operating more like a brake pad. You will experience some slipping when the transmission and engine speed match. You can expect your clutch to last for longer time if you have less slip.
However, if you leave your foot on the pedal, the bearing will rest on the plate splines and wears out quicker. Bearings will wear faster.
There are ways to preserve your clutch
If you aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to leave your foot sitting on the clutch pedal. This can cause you to accidentally ride the clutch pedal, even if you don't know it. Instead, you want to use the footrest that’s to the left of the pedal when you aren’t using it. You may have to place your foot in front of it if the clutch area is too tight.
This new routine can be difficult to master. It is essential that you choose to consciously take your foot off the accelerator when changing gears.
2. Modify your Driving Position
If you are positioned too closely to the clutch pedal, it’s going to be difficult to get your foot in its appropriate place. There is a better method of sitting.
Moving the seat back is a good idea to allow your feet and legs enough space. Your foot will feel more at home if you're comfortable.
3. Use Neutral When Stopped
It might make sense to drive in first gear while you wait for traffic light to pass. It would make the system more efficient if the car was in neutral, with your foot on the brake and clutch down.
The handbrake can be used if the vehicle is stationary for an extended period of time. As we'll see, however, the handbrake's main function is to park.
4. Park with Handbrake
It might seem insignificant that your car's gear is selected when it is parked. Even though it might not seem important, unattended cars can cause damage to the clutch.
You should instead use your handbrake to park. This secures your car in the correct way. This method allows you to relieve all pressure from the clutch plate when it's not being used.
5. Rapidly Change Gears
When it comes time to change gears, don’t dawdle. It’s understandable when you are a new manual transmission operator that you would need a little more time to figure everything out. Yet, this isn’t something you want to get used to doing.
When you change gears, you don’t want it to take a long time. You put extra strain on your clutch every time you depress the pedal unnecessarily. This may not seem like an issue at the time, but when you look at how often you do it per drive, you realize that it is quite significant. It is possible to spend several hours driving the same route, even if it takes only a few seconds.
What Should the Lifespan of a Clutch?
There’s no easy answer to this question because it mainly depends on how you drive. You should not be too hard on the clutch. It could break down as soon as you reach 20,000 miles.
If you look after your clutch properly, your vehicle could last for more than 150,000 mi. The clutch can last for the life of your car if it is maintained properly. It costs on average $750-$3,000 to replace a clutch so you need to take every precaution to ensure it lasts.
RELATED: 5 Symptoms of a Slipping Clutch (& How to Tell)
The Clutch Is Failing
If you pay attention to warning signs, it is possible to get the clutch repaired before your car stops working. These are some symptoms you should be aware of:
- Spongy, soft or stiff clutch pedal – While the feel will change slightly over time, it shouldn’t become dramatic and noticeable.
- Stuck clutch pedal – If the pedal gets stuck on the floor, you have no option but to have it looked at.
- Issues staying in gear – The clutch will allow the gears to slip when it starts to fail.
- Burning smell – A bad clutch isn’t the only thing that can cause a burning smell, but if it’s combined with other symptoms, you might need a new clutch.
- Grinding noises – If you notice a grinding sound when you are changing gears, it could mean that the clutch is worn out.
By paying attention to what’s happening with the clutch, you can get problems resolved before they get larger. A lower cost repair will be possible if the equipment and skills are available to you. However, if you aren’t qualified, it’s always best to have a professional work on your vehicle.
READ MORE: 7 Symptoms of a Worn or Bad Clutch (& Replacement Cost)
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