By Kate Bergeron
The way you drive can have a significant impact on how long your clutch lasts. Here are a few ways to keep your clutch in good working order for an extended length of time:
1) Stop riding the clutch
The first rule of keeping your clutch in good shape: avoid keeping your foot on the clutch. The clutch pedal should be either all the way depressed or untouched entirely. Riding with your foot on the pedal creates extra wear on a very expensive car part.
2) Don’t use the clutch to keep from rolling backward on a hill
Many drivers try to use the clutch to keep from rolling backward when starting from a stopped position on an incline. Instead, use the handbrake until you engage the clutch. Then, shift into first gear, reaching about 3,000 RPM, and slowly release the clutch followed by the handbrake as you bear down on the throttle.
3) Avoid last minute braking, when possible
If you see stopped traffic ahead, you’re probably going to have to stop too. If you begin slowing down when you first see it, before you absolutely have to, you might not need to stop at all by the time you reach the traffic. This allows you to drop the clutch on your idling engine and avoiding clutch slippage.
4) Don’t accelerate like there’s a fire behind you
When accelerating from a stop, keep those RPMs low, about 1,100 RPMs. Avoid revving the engine and be sure not to slip the clutch more than necessary.
5) Don’t use the clutch to save your brakes
Your clutch costs more to replace than brake pads do, so use the clutch as intended. Some drivers put their heel on the brake pedal and their toe on the throttle, applying both at the same time, for smoother downshifting. This method takes some practice and should never be applied in traffic until you’re quite experienced and comfortable with manual transmission driving.
A clutch is particularly susceptible to wear, especially if it is not used properly. Should you experience problems with your clutch, or if it prevents you from changing gear properly, it might be time to replace it. V&F Auto is proud to be the best local auto repair shop in Agawam, MA, offering complete clutch repair and replacement. Our skilled mechanics can recommend best practices based on your driving habits and conditions. Call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.