Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Joe asks: What do you think about replacing a car’s clutch before the clutch fails? Isn’t it kind of like replacing brake pads before they’re completely worn out?
My reply: Well, you would be doing the job on your own schedule so no worries about being unexpectedly without your vehicle for a day (or several) or stuck beside the road somewhere.
But why fix what’s not broken? Or put another way, why throw away the life your clutch still has left? You might be surprised how long a clutch can last – especially in a modern (1990-up) vehicle with a self-adjusting clutch and a driver who knows how to drive a clutch-equipped vehicle.
My ’02 Frontier has almost 130,000 miles on it and the original clutch. By the standards of the ’60s or ’70s (and even the ’80s) I am about 30,000 miles past due. But the clutch might still have another 50,000 miles of service left.
Why throw that away?
Especially given that – like wearing-out-brakes – a wearing out clutch will usually let you know before it wears out completely. You nay notice more abrupt take-up. Or slipping. And you can test for a close-to-worn-out clutch by getting up to about 30 or so MPH, putting the transmission in 4th or 5th gear and flooring it. If the clutch is okay, the engine will bog. If the clutch is wearing out, it will slip – and the engine will rev.
That’s your cue to make plans for a new clutch!
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