When it comes to making sure your vehicle’s clutch is operating smoothly, you must make sure you’re driving correctly. This means not going over the optimal RPM range, not “riding the clutch,” and matching your gears with your speed. By exercising proper driving techniques and attending to regular maintenance needs like inspecting your clutch hydraulics and shift linkages, you can drastically extend the life of your clutch. After all, no one likes paying for an intensive clutch repair job after only about a year or two of use!
Keeping your car in good working order doesn’t have to be a chore. Believe it or not, there are simple driving habits you can adopt to help prolong the life of your clutch. Taking these few simple steps below could make all the difference in keeping your car running happily for years to come!
Driving with a streamlined clutch operation is essential to keep your ride running at peak performance. This means that the pedal should be pressed all the way down when engaging the clutch and left untouched otherwise. If you constantly apply pressure, even if it’s just a tiny amount as your foot hovers over the pedal, you will greatly reduce the life of your car’s clutch assembly.
Taking full advantage of your car’s parking brake can help you save money and stress in the long term. Not only does it say “foot off the pedal,” but it sets your car up for success with an extra safety measure: put it in park and engage that parking brake! With an extra layer of protection by leaving your car in park, you won’t overwork your clutch to keep the vehicle from rolling. Furthermore, the stress on various other components is reduced with a properly used parking brake, like in most modern cars.
An important part of keeping your engine running smoothly is correctly anticipating when you’ll need to stop at a traffic signal or slow down due to other motorists around you. When you spot a red light ahead or a slowdown in traffic, increase your awareness and get ready to slow your vehicle. When coming to a complete stop, do not leave it in gear with the clutch pressed. Many drivers will rock the car back and forth with the clutch rather than just throwing it into neutral and pressing the brake pedal. Holding the clutch pedal at stops causes excess wear on your clutch.
To save time and increase efficiency, we may be tempted to push ourselves too hard right off the starting line. But taking off at full speed is not always the best use of your time or resources. It is tiring, inefficient, and consumes fuel, and it can cause unnecessary wear and tear, particularly on driving components such as the clutch. Instead, start pulling away smoothly and gently while gradually increasing RPMs. Note that shifting during heavy loads, especially while driving uphill, can cause clutch slippage if excessively performed.
Even if you drive with proper technique, you could shorten your clutch’s lifespan if you don’t take good care of your car. To increase the longevity of each component, including your transmission, routine maintenance and upkeep are essential. Some things you should do to make sure your vehicle runs properly for a long time include the following:
There are a few signs to watch out for if you suspect clutch slipping. Slow acceleration while shifting into higher gears will increase RPM’s when shifting while driving up hills, grinding while shifting into gear, there is difficulty finding gears, and changing in the clutch pedal free play. Additionally, if you have trouble engaging gears or hear a grinding sound when changing them, these could be caused by clutch plate damage or linkage malfunction. Finally, if you regularly hear a strange noise when your car is in neutral, but it disappears when depressing the clutch pedal, this could indicate an issue with the clutch system, specifically the throw-out bearing. If any of these conditions are familiar to you, take measures quickly to avoid further damage.
At Steve’s Imports, bringing your car in because of a suspect clutch issue is no problem. Our trained and certified mechanics will assess the issue carefully and provide expert insight into what is needed. Let us do an in-depth assessment to get your car running smoothly again. Stop by today or contact us for clutch and transmission issues!
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