car clutch question

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by etoiles, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. etoiles macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2002
    Where the air is crisp
    I have been driving manual transmission for over 10years... maybe I have been doing things wrong during all that time, so I am asking the more illuminated MR crowd: does it matter if you press the clutch as opposed to putting the car in neutral at a red light ?

    A friend wants to learn how to drive a stick, so I checked out a few websites for advice and they all say it is bad to keep the clutch pressed for an extended period of time.

    For example:
    "Avoid coasting with the clutch all the way down (called "riding the clutch"), as this will cause needless wear and tear on the clutch. When stopped at a traffic light, put the gearshift into the neutral position and release the clutch rather than sitting with the clutch engaged."

    "When at a stoplight, don't get in the habit of holding the clutch in for more than a few seconds or you will have other problems down the line. Instead, put the car in neutral while stopped for any period of time."

    Is there really a mechanical stress to worry about (springs?), or is this just a precaution ? This can't have anything to do with the actual plates, right ?
  2. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    I hold the clutch in at lights, unless I'm going to be stationary for some time.
    My driving instructor said it didn't really make a difference.

    "Riding the clutch" is where you have it just on the bite and hold the car still with that, like when you're on an incline and you stop the car rolling backwards using the clutch.
  3. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    My brother puts his car in neutral at every light and takes his foot off the clutch... it apparently saves wear and tear on both the clutch itself and the clutch spring, which is what pushes the clutch pedal back up when you take your foot off of it.

    Myself, I hate doing that because it makes it slower to put the car back in gear when the light changes to green.
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Ok the stop light part has some grounds in it. The is a lot of force pushing agaist the clutch when you have the pedal in. The springs are compresses and it putting extra stress on it making them a little weaker. Also the pivit arm has a lot of extra stress on it causing it to wear a little faster. But I also heard agruments both ways on it. One is the extra time you pedal has to go in puts a little more wear on the clutch because being engage and disegage an extra time. I put my car in netrual at stop lights and let my foot off th clutch not because it better or worse for the car but because I dont want to sit there holding the clutch in. It gets rather tiring after a while and I think a lot of the agruments go to saying that that action is the right one to do because lets face it, who wants ot hold the clutch pedal in for a long period of time. I know I dont. I put the car back in gear shortly before the light changes. (Also i drive people nuts at stop lights because my cars brake lights are dark because I dont have my foot on there either but that is another thing)

    As for riding the clutch that is resting your foot on the pedal when you are driving. It is very hard on the clutch because it causing it to slip just a little and putting extra wear and tear on it that is not needed.
  5. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    My bf was in an auto tech program for awhile as was his buddy-- all of their teachers/ instructors/ co-workers (the friend works at a shop) all say it's a BIG NO-NO to keep the clutch in when you don't need to.

    Premature wear.

    At that particular shop, the friend saw an older woman come in with a completely shot clutch and assorted other parts. The other employees were sort of laughing because she apparently goes through a new clutch every year due to poor driving habits (including keeping the clutch in)! :eek:
  6. xJulianx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2006
    Brighton, UK
    I always keep the clutch in, I've had my car over a year now and the clutch is fine, never had any problems with it.
  7. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Depends on the situation, and how long the traffic light sequence is.

    If the sequence is short, then I'll keep the clutch in, because the somewhat nominal wear of having the clutch in, is no greater than disengaging-engaging-disengaging-engaging it.

    If the sequence is long, I'll put it in neutral.

    Though, if I'm in a situation where there is potential that I might be rear ended (such as being first at the lights on a dual carriageway for example, or they're no other cars to act as a buffer) then I'll leave it in gear, because I'll want to get out of the doughnuts way. :p

    Unless you keep your car for an inconceivably long time (or you cannot drive a manual properly) there really isn't any need to worry about wearing your clutch out... though obviously there are exceptions such as if you've tuned your car, or the geography of your location puts excess strain on your clutch, but you should be able to clear a minimum of 100k, and really you should be able to stretch it to the service interval where major engine work would be expected.
  8. Markleshark macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2006
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    While there is no point n keeping the clutch in when you don't need to, its not going to make a huge difference to the life of a clutch if you do. For such as lights and stuff, fairly modern clutches are designed to take this extra wear. Also, for the price of a clutch kit (mine was £40) and considering I replaced it after the car had done 97,000 miles, and been driven by a female since new :p I think you'll be fine.

    Getting the car serviced regularly helps as well, at the end of the day, if you look after it there is very little to go wrong (Much like the Mac your using ;))
  9. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    The clutch in my Alfa Romeo was replaced after 147,000 miles. Which ain't so bad.
  10. MalcolmJID macrumors 6502a

    Nov 1, 2005
    When you hold the clutch in, particularly for a long period. It causes a lot of extra stress/wear on the spring etc as mentioned before. Also, noone yet seems to have mentioned that when you hold the clutch in, the clutch release bearing isnt lubricated, which of course, is a bad thing. Lubrication is a good thing. I've heard someone say that making a habit of sitting with the clutch in can down the line take nearly 20'000 miles off the life of a clutch.

    I've got into the habit of using neutral as much as possible now! :)
  11. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    From Wikipedia

  12. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I drive an auto, but I would think that having the clutch in more than neccesary will put extra wear on it.

    My next car will be a manual though, and I already know I'll use neutral. I get lazy at red lights in my auto and occasionally will yank up the parking brake and take my foot off the brake, there's no way I'm going to hold in a clutch and the brake :D
  13. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004

    In the UK we use the handbrake when the car is stationary for more than a few seconds... or that's how we're taught anyway.
  14. frankblundt macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2005
    South of the border
    There's a safety issue also I think - if you're at the front of the queue and get rear-ended with the clutch in and footbrake on (as opposed to neutral and handbrake) there's a greater chance of the event resulting in your feet slipping off the pedals causing you to jump forwards into the traffic.

    Related to some extent to the principle of keeping your wheels facing straight ahead while waiting to turn across the traffic stream, rather than at an angle that will shunt you directly into oncoming traffic if you get hit from behind.
  15. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    That's about what I'd expect... around the 150k mark.

    Though I have to say mate, reaching that on an Alfa is f**king biblical. :p
  16. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    It's on 155K now.

    It's had 3 radiators (stupid stones!!)
    It's on it's 2nd set of suspension
    2nd clutch

    And she still goes like a dream.
    I'm sad she's going on sale after her MOT and service next month.:(
  17. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Yeah, in the US, we're taught to just hold the brake with our foot, but I get lazy :D

    In fact, we're never really taught to use the handbrake at all. Obviously, people with manuals use the parking brake when they park, but most people with autos don't. I use it, I figure that if I'm going to put wear on a part to keep my car still when parked, I'd rather put the wear on the brakes than the much more expensive transmission
  18. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    That's not it's fault. Its an Alfa... born to be driven. :D

    :( ... but to be replaced by what??? :D
  19. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004

    A Fiat Stilo... Not my choice!!:(
  20. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    We’d never have guessed... judging by how every car in 1970's U.S. cop shows would roll for 3ft when they were parked on a hill after the cop had gotten out. :p :p :p
  21. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
  22. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    Hmmmm... It's an idea...
  23. Shaun.P macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8
    Can someone tell me if this is OK:

    Sometimes when I'm coming to traffic lights, when I'm breaking, but still going at around 20mph and not stopped, I put the clutch down, go into neutral, lift my foot off the clutch and then break the car to a hault. So basically, I'm breaking when the car isn't in any gear. Is that OK? Obviously I'm not accelerating or anything, just breaking.

    I didn't know if it was OK to do this, so now, I break, and put the clutch down and come to a stop, go into neutral and then lift my foot off the clutch when I've stopped.

    Does it matter what I do?
  24. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    That's the reason right there. I'm also suprised that no one else mentioned it. The bearings aren't lubricated when the clutch is engaged which really isn't good for it.

    Maybe I'm just misunderstanding, but this seems kind of silly to me. You're going to escape being rear ended by pulling into an intersection that presumably is busy since you had to stop at it?

    When ever I'm at a light I sit with my brakes enaged and the clutch off. If I do get rearended I don't want to be pushed into the intersection or into the car in front of me.

    That's just fine and it won't hurt anything, other then the extra bit of brakes you use up. When I'm slowing down I leave the car in gear for as long as possible so as to take as much advantage of compression braking as possible.
  25. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
    I've heard it will wear out your "throwout bearing".

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