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How long does a clutch last?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 2 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance
iStock-changing-gear

WhoCanFixMyCar discusses how long a clutch will last on average and what you can do to extend its lifespan

Every motorist dreads hearing that their clutch is on the way out. After all, it’s one of the most expensive car parts to replace. So how long does a clutch last?

On average, most clutches last roughly 60,000 miles. This figure depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Your driving style

  • Usage

  • How often you have your car serviced

  • Climate

Take care of your clutch and, if you’re lucky, it could end up lasting 100,000 miles. Some drivers have even been known to surpass this distance without their clutch letting them down!

Contents:

How to make your clutch last longer

How long does clutch fluid last?

How long will a noisy clutch release bearing last?

Slipping clutch - how long will it last?


How to make your clutch last longer

The way that you drive - whether you do so carefully and considerately or in a manner that will put increased strain on your car’s parts - has the biggest influence on how long your clutch will last. 

Here are five things you can do to make your clutch last longer:

  • Avoid trying to save your brakes by using the clutch. Match the speed of your engine with the rear wheel speed for a smooth gear change transition.

  • Don’t pull away too fast. Keep your RPMs low at around 1,100. 

  • Think ahead. Are the traffic lights on red or about to change? Spot this early and slow down so you might not have to stop.

  • Don’t ride the clutch. It should either be fully pressed or not used; don’t hold it in a position between the two.

  • Use your handbrake on hills, not your clutch. Don’t rely on the latter to keep you from rolling back. 

Main image | Clutch replacement

How long does clutch fluid last?

You’ll be pleased to hear that because clutch fluid is contained within a closed system it should, in theory, never need topping up. 

This closed system is made up of a master cylinder, a slave cylinder, some tubing, and a reservoir. Providing that nothing goes wrong with these parts, the level of clutch fluid circulating should remain consistent. 

As with most things, though, there are exceptions to this rule. Over time, small leaks might occur thanks to corroded parts. Topping up your clutch fluid from time to time is fine, but if you’re having to do so regularly it’s time to take your car to a garage to be fixed.

Learn what to look out for in a faulty clutch and how much it costs to replace one in our guide here


How long will a noisy clutch release bearing last?

If your clutch is making unusual noises when you push the pedal down you should take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible

A noisy clutch release bearing might last a hundred more miles, or it might not, but that isn’t a risk you should be willing to take. Why? Because the longer you drive with a faulty clutch bearing the worse the damage to your whole clutch system is going to be. 

If the clutch release bearing - also known as a throw out bearing - fails completely, it will damage your pressure plate, clutch disc, and could even cause damage to the throw out bearing lever. In turn, this could damage your flywheel or punch a hole in your bell housing.

Rather than hoping the bearing will last for just a few more miles, we’d recommend getting your car booked in with a local garage as soon as possible.


Slipping clutch - How long will it last?

In theory, your clutch could still last a long time if you avoid accelerating to the point where it begins to slip. However, this isn’t a practical solution.

Clutches typically last 60,000 miles, but this distance can easily be halved if you frequently ride the clutch, and once it has started to slip it will only get worse until eventually it becomes unusable. That’s why it’s best to visit a garage as soon as you notice any signs that your clutch is worn.


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