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3 Tips for Better Clutch Maintenance

If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you have a little extra maintenance to worry about. You want to keep your clutch system healthy. This will allow you to shift between gears smoothly while also protecting your transmission and gear box from unnecessary wear and tear. 

Modern vehicles with manual transmissions will have a clutch system with four primary components: pressure plate, driven plate, cover plate (which incorporates a diaphragm spring) and release bearing. Some older vehicles may have a hydraulic clutch, which will feature a master cylinder and slave cylinder to control the system. All clutches will have the pedal that the driver uses to control the engagement and disengagement actions used during shifting.

Here are a few tips that will help you keep your clutch system healthier:

1. Watch Your Driving Habits

The best maintenance tip really isn't a mechanical maintenance issue at all. Some drivers tend to rest their foot on the clutch while they drive. This is known as "riding" the clutch. Even the tiniest bit of pressure can engage the system and this can wear down the bearing or other mechanical components faster than if you just keep your foot rested on the floor when not using the clutch pedal. Of course, you also want to avoid aggressive, violent shifting that grinds the gears and can cause all sorts of internal transmission damage over time. Changing your shifting habits can help keep your clutch system healthier.

2. Reduce Heat and Friction

When you constantly "ride" the clutch as described above, it produces excess heat and friction. These are enemies of the clutch system. Another bad habit is "slipping" the clutch when towing or hauling a heavy load. This may help get you down the road, but it will add a lot of heat and can do major damage to the clutch components. Try using lower gears to gain momentum and avoid slipping the clutch as much as possible.

3. Bleed the Clutch Fluid

In a hydraulic clutch system, air bubbles can build up in the fluid lines and this will reduce the efficiency of the hydraulic pressure. You can use an automatic bleed system or manually bleed the clutch with the help of a friend. Or, you can take it to a professional mechanic to properly inspect all the components and properly bleed the hydraulic clutch fluid lines if necessary.

When you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you definitely need to take care of your clutch system and its sensitive components. These are just a few tips to help you out. For all your clutch maintenance and repair needs in Colorado Springs, call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.


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