Auto servicing for mums

3 Bad Driving Habits Which Destroy Your Clutch

Your clutch allows you to change gear and control the speed of your car. A car without a working clutch is a car which isn't going anywhere. You may be placing additional strain on your clutch because of bad driving techniques. By changing your driving style, you can extend the life of your clutch and avoid expensive repairs. Below is a guide to ways you may be damaging your clutch.

Driving in the incorrect gear

If you drive at high speed in a low gear or vice versa, the transmission system on your car will not be able to keep up with the torque demand and will be damaged. You may also cause damage to the clutch if you change up into higher gears before the engine has reached the required RPM. To ensure you are changing gear at the right time, you should pay attention to your RPM display and listen to your engine. You should change gear at around 3,000 RPM. You will also be able to hear the engine start to surge.

Riding the clutch

'Riding the clutch' refers to a bad habit some drivers develop. If you 'ride the clutch', you needlessly apply pressure to the clutch peddle then the car is in motion. Doing this means that the clutch plate does not properly engage with the flywheel, resulting in damage to the flywheel and the clutch plate. It is easy to get into the habit of pressing the clutch when you are not changing gears. If you are in the habit of doing this, you will have to make a conscious effort to keep your left foot on the floor of the car if you are not changing gear. After a little while, keeping your foot in this position will become second nature.

Incorrect Foot Control

If you use uneven or jerky movements of your foot to depress and release the clutch pedal, you may cause the clutch plate to clash with the flywheel. This movement can cause premature wearing of both components and will eventually cause your clutch to fail. When you change gear, you should apply firm pressure and smoothly press the clutch until it is fully depressed. Select the desired gear using the gearstick and then slowly and smoothly lift your foot and let the clutch return to the starting position. 

If you have any concerns about the condition of your clutch, you should contact an auto repair shop who will be able to inspect your car.