A well-maintained clutch not only ensures a smooth drive but can even extend the lifespan of your vehicle.
That’s why it’s so important that you take good care of your car’s clutch and act quickly if you notice a problem.
The 8 valuable tips in this blog can help you stave off costly repairs and keep your clutch in optimal condition for longer.
Read on and find out how you can enjoy a safer and smoother driving experience by taking care of your clutch.
How Can I Extend the Lifespan of My Clutch?
To extend the lifespan of your clutch, you should avoid holding the clutch at the biting point for too long and ‘riding’ the clutch whilst driving downhill.
You should always use the handbrake and neutral gear to park, so that you can take some strain off of the clutch.
Similarly, you should go into neutral when stopping at red lights or junctions.
Many new drivers hesitate when changing gears, but making swift gear changes can lead to less wear and tear.
If you suspect that your clutch is wearing out, then you should book a clutch replacement as soon as possible.
With proper care and maintenance, your car’s clutch can last for 60,000 miles before needing to be replaced.
The following tips can help you to extend the lifespan of your vehicle’s clutch.
Don't Ride Your Clutch
Riding the clutch – AKA keeping the clutch partly depressed whilst driving – is one of the most common ways that people wear out their car’s clutch.
Whilst this can make it feel like you are better prepared to change gears, in actuality, all you are doing is eroding the clutch.
Even light pressure on the clutch pedal can generate friction with the clutch plate, which will wear away your clutch over time.
Top Up Your Clutch Reservoir
If there isn’t enough fluid in the reservoir, then your clutch won’t work properly.
The clutch reservoir is under the bonnet and needs to be topped up regularly to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive.
Without adequate fluid, you won’t be able to press on the clutch pedal, which could make changes gears more of a challenge in an emergency situation.
You should top up the brake fluid to just below the cap of the reservoir.
If you think you are having to top up the fluid levels more often, then you should have a mechanic look at your vehicle to check that there isn’t an underlying issue which needs to be addressed.
Clutch fluid – which is basically the same as brake fluid, but kept in the clutch master cylinder - should be replenished every 20,000 miles or 2 years.
If your gear movements have slowed down or have become less responsive, then your clutch fluid may need to be refilled.
A professional mechanic will be able to diagnose the issue for you.
Use Your Handbrake on Hills
For new drivers, hill starts can be particularly stressful.
By using the handbrake and not solely relying on the clutch to keep you in place on a hill, you can prevent excessive wear and tear of your clutch.
Revving too much can cause the clutch pedal to become ineffective, so you should put the handbrake on when it is appropriate to do so when performing an uphill start.
Try not to overuse the clutch, as this can lead to a build-up of heat and can even cause the clutch to burn out entirely.
Listen Out for Unusual Noises
Any changes in your car’s behaviour can signal that something is wrong.
If you hear a high-pitched squeaking when you press the pedal, then there could be an issue with the clutch release or throw-out bearings.
Juddering or jolting movements should also be noted, as this could be a sign that the clutch needs to be fixed.
Pay special attention when you are changing gear or parking so that you can avoid a costly clutch replacement later down the line.
Avoid Excess Weight
Is it time for a clear out? Next time you go to clean your car, consider emptying the boot as well.
The more weight that you add to your vehicle, the extra strain you will place on vital components like the clutch and tyres.
Sit in Neutral When Stopped
If you stop at traffic lights, staying in first gear and holding the brake can put strain on the machinery.
Instead, go into neutral and use the handbrake.
Even if just for a short time, this is a healthy habit that can contribute to the long lifespan of your clutch.
Change Gears with Confidence
You may not realise it in the moment, but the longer you take to carry out a gear change, the more strain that is being placed on the clutch disc.
Try to make gear changes quickly and with confidence to take some of the pressure off your clutch.
Likewise, don’t overuse your clutch by performing unnecessary gear changes – try to maintain constant speeds instead.
How Can I Take Care of My Clutch Whilst Driving?
The biggest tip for taking care of your clutch is to engage and disengage the clutch carefully, and only when absolutely necessary.
You should avoid riding the clutch whilst driving and take care to anticipate changes on the road ahead of time so that you can act quickly in an emergency.
Try to find the clutch biting point for your car so that you can change gears effectively.
You should make good use of the engine braking when you lift off of the accelerator and brake, so that you can save fuel and extend the lifespan of your clutch.
To operate the clutch under heavy braking, you should depress the clutch at the same time as the brake to retain control over the car.
If you think that your clutch is wearing out, you should book a clutch replacement soon to avoid additional damage being caused to other vital related components.
If you want to find out more about taking care of your clutch, then we have plenty of helpful content for you to read right here at the BMG blog.