Riding the clutch refers to the repetition of needlessly keeping the clutch somewhat disengaged. This results in the clutch being unable to completely engage with the flywheel and so causes early wear on the disc and flywheel.
Clutches wear out and it is not so uncommon for a clutch to be replaced before a car reaches the end of its lifetime. That’s because clutches undergo a certain amount of wear and tear in the normal course of use. It cannot accurately be predicted how long a clutch will last as complex equation with lots of variables should be considered.
The lifespan of the clutch depends on how carefully it is used. It also depends on how hot the climate is and on the type of car you drive. If you live in a hot climate, the transmission fluid will typically run hot and tend to burn out the parts more quickly.
It all comes down to the less work you require your clutch to do, the longer it’s likely to survive. A race car driver who has to make a lot of fancy gear changes in a hurry will certainly use the clutch up faster than someone who drives at moderate speed.
Don’t use the clutch when you don’t need to.
When you stop at a traffic light, take your car out of gear, put your foot on the brake and let your transmission rest in neutral until the light is ready to change. That’ll give your clutch a well-needed break instead of keeping constant pressure on it.
Don’t ride the clutch pedal as a way of controlling the speed of your car.
That’s what the accelerator and brakes are for. Yes, you can cause your clutch to slow down and speed up by modulating the pedal between the fully depressed and fully released positions, but this can take years off your clutch’s lifetime.
In general, you want your clutch pedal either all the way up or all the way down. Don’t keep it in the in-between position any longer than you have to.
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