Driving style affects clutch damage.
Devices for temporarily disconnecting the engine from the transmission, professionally called clutches, are quite sensitive elements of the mechanical system of cars. Damage to them may occur as a result of overloading the vehicle, prolonged towing of another car, or repeated attempts to leave the boggy area. Very often drivers themselves, who use the wrong driving style every day, also contribute to excessive wear.
Currently, the most common are disk clutches, otherwise known as friction clutches, commonly used in vehicles with manual transmission.
Skid under control?
The clutch almost never breaks rapidly. In a normally used car, it should withstand a mileage of 150-200 thousand. km. This applies to virtually all cars produced today, because experts say there is no clear difference between the quality of clutches in vehicles of different brands (except for older BMW and Mercedes models, in which they have thicker linings that can withstand up to 400,000 km).
One of the first signs of a malfunctioning clutch is its momentary slipping. This usually occurs when the engine is heavily loaded. Sometimes clutch slippage is poorly felt, especially for less experienced drivers. However, if we feel something, it is worth checking it carefully.
We can perform the clutch test both while driving and when the car is stationary – explains Zbigniew Szydło from the Katowice company SHU “Jasz”. – In the first case, driving in fourth or fifth gear, we definitely add gas. If the car does not run at increased engine revs accelerates, then we are dealing with a slipping clutch. The slip test can also be performed stationary: then we try to start at low speed with three or with the handbrake applied. With a properly functioning clutch, after releasing it, the engine should go out.
Clutch enemies are both too sharp driving and lacking dynamics. Frequent starting from the hoof with a screech of tires, rapid acceleration or gear shifting at high engine revs causes faster wear of the clutch friction linings due to too high a difference in revolutions between the driving and driven part. The latter also cannot withstand prolonged riding on the so-called half clutches, with the leg held on his pedal.
Towing another vehicle, negotiating high gradients, and prolonged operation of an overloaded vehicle can also contribute to fast wear of the clutch friction linings. It is also very easy to “burn” the clutch during repeated attempts to leave the boggy area. It is also worth remembering that accelerated wear of the clutch friction linings also causes – recommended by many professionals – engine braking.
How to drive
The short answer is: fluent. However, this is not as easy as it seems, especially for inexperienced drivers. The trick is the ability to add gas lightly when shifting gears before releasing the clutch (this maneuver is called gas or gas). The idea is to equalize the rotation of the driving and driven parts of the entire system, without jerking the clutch’s friction linings. Mesh gas should be operated mainly when downshifting. However, specialists recommend using this method when selecting higher gears (especially in cases where the change occurs at low engine speeds).
Lining or the whole?
This question is asked by many car owners who faced the need to repair the clutch in a specialized workshop: after all, only its lining is worn, and other elements are functional. So why pay for the repair of the whole? According to experts, it is not worth saving in this matter: – We explain to clients that in addition to cladding, other clutch components such as thrust and release bearing should also be replaced. It will be safer then for the driver on the road, as well as for his wallet, because he will pay only once for labor – says Zbigniew Szydło.