Q: How long can I expect my new clutch to last?
A: All clutch products are designed with longevity in mind; however, clutch life will greatly depend on the vehicle, your type of driving and output of the engine. For example a vehicle driven in heavy stop and go traffic will have a shorter clutch life than the same vehicle that is driven on the open highway.
The most common problem with clutches is that the friction material on the disc wears out. The friction material on a clutch disc is very similar to the friction material on the pads of a disc brake, or the shoes of a drum brake -- after a while, it wears away. When most or all of the friction material is gone, the clutch will start to slip and eventually it won't transmit any power from the engine to the wheels. The clutch only wears while the clutch disc and the flywheel are spinning at different speeds. When they are locked together, the friction material is held tightly against the flywheel, and they spin in sync. It is only when the clutch disc is slipping against the flywheel that wearing occurs. So if you are the type of driver who slips the clutch a lot, you will wear out your clutch a lot faster. If your clutch is slipping this much then it is time for a new clutch disc and flywheel.
- Clutch doesn't engage until you've let the pedal almost all of the way out
- Watch for a burning smell. If your clutch is going bad, you may smell something akin to burning newspaper. This smell indicates friction from a slipping clutch.
- Grinding or difficulty while trying to shift into different gears
- A major warning sign of a bad clutch is if your pedal feels "squishy" or soft