Your Manual Car Clutch And Steps To Prevent Premature Clutch Failure

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The clutch helps to disengage the engine from the manual gearbox (transmission) for changing of the gears. The clutch consists of the flywheel, clutch plate, pressure plate, clutch pedal and, depending on the car, either a cable or hydraulic (fluid) linkage to engage/disengage the clutch.

Car Clutch

Driving the automobile with your foot on the clutch pedal, once you have changed the gear, can cause premature failure of the clutch and unnecessary expense to your pocket. Keep in mind, the quality of workmanship carried out in the automobile factories/assembly plants can never be repeated by the workshops. Riding the clutch is a common fault with many drivers in Pakistan. Whenever I take the test of a driver the first thing I check is if he is riding the clutch.

By riding your manual car clutch, you cause slippage of the clutch plate between the flywheel and the pressure plate. This wears out the clutch plate. The first thing you will notice is that the clutch pedal free play is no more and your fuel consumption has gone up. You can adjust the clutch pedal free play and continue to use the car.

If you want to check the clutch system, apply the parking brake, depress the clutch pedal and put the gear lever in 3rd gear. While increasing the engine RPMs, slowly let go the clutch pedal. If the engine stalls and eventually shuts off, it means your clutch plate is working fine. Whereas, if the engine keeps running, and you notice RPM increasing when you press the throttle, it means that the clutch system requires dis-assembly and parts replaced accordingly.

What can you do to prolong the life of the clutch?

  1. After changing gears remove your foot from the clutch pedal, completely.
  2. Change into the correct gear, rather than partially depressing the clutch pedal to keep the engine running.
  3. While waiting at a traffic light, shift into neutral and apply the parking brake.
  4. Never use the clutch to keep the vehicle stationary on an upward slope.
  5. If you have a hydraulic clutch, change the fluid every 2 years or 24 months or follow instructions of your car’s manual.

If you would like to add something related to the discussion, please do in the comments section below.


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  1. M. Aamir Bashir says

    good article

  2. Usman Haider Sheikh says

    whenever you are gliding with clutch in, shift to N, and shift into a gear only when you intend to clutch out, the difference between relative rpm of engine and gear box cause clutch to work harder, by shifting in N you are freeing clutch from that load, either allow the car to decelerate in gear or clutch in and shift into neutral.

  3. Hassan says

    Can you please explain how fuel consumption may go up, because of that.
    Secondly what will be the problems faced if hydraulic fluid not changed timely and how to check if this fluid needs to be changed

  4. Syed Hussein El-Edroos says

    If I understood your query correctly, if the clutch starts to slip its means that the car will cover less distance than before. Therefore fuel consumption will go up. As a general rule the clutch/brake fluid should be changed every 2 years or 24,000 kms. Brake fluid has a tendency to attract moisture. This moisture will then damage your pistons and cylinders and finally the seals. Leaking seals means that you not be able to change gears easily. Colour of new brake fluid is transparent. If it turns brownish in colour, it is time to change it.

  5. Ahtasham says

    Nice Articla, Would you recommend Auto or Manual Gear in Cars for new buyers???

  6. Baqar says

    Nice info. I wanted to know why my Honda Accord 1989 manual gear lever is a bit hard in shifting after running 15 km, or especially in hot season. Is it a fault can you please guide.

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