Clutch in or out at stop lights?

Probably doesn't matter, but I have always wondered:
Is it better for the clutch to hold it in during a long stop, or shift into neutral and let the clutch out?
Does it make a difference? Anybody?
-Nate
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As a motorcyclist I usually leave it in gear with the clutch depressed so I am ready to move. Not cause I'm in a hurry, but more of a safety issue in case there is something I need to react to.
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I
No longer ride, but in my day of Nortons and Triumphs we always put 'er in neutral and let the clutch out. Breaking clutch cables come to mind. Anyway, if you were'nt careful and grabbed a bunch of throttle on take off, she would spit back through Amals and die on you at the light -- leaving you desperately kicking her over with the kick starter. When I bought a Honda 750-4 in 1970 or so, I felt spoiled.
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IF you're going to be stopped for a little while; You should put the trans in neutral and let out the clutch;it saves the *throwout bearing* between the rotating clutch pressure plate and the stationary clutch fork.
If it's just a quick stop,just hold the clutch in until you can go again.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Have done that with every manual I have owned since my first car -- a 57 VW convertible.
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My recollection is that you'll get more life out of the clutch if, during a stop, you shift to neutral and let the clutch out.
You can google on this one and come up with some commercial, but free auto advice commentary on the subject of optimal clutch operation. (That is, operation to maximize your clutch's life.)
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When the clutch pedal is depressed, there is a load on the throw-out bearing. So theoretically, putting the car in neutral and releasing the clutch saves some wear and tear on the throw-out bearing, which is the most common component to fail.
However, I think the difference is insignificant.
Elliot Richmond Freelance Science Writer and Editor
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It absolutely makes a difference. The wear on your release bearing is immensely accelerated if you hold the clutch pedal down at lights.
If you're going to be sitting there for a minute or so, put the lever in neutral and release the clutch. Be kind to your release bearing. It's cheap itself, but is awfully expensive to get at.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Thanks for all of the replies! Looks like I will shift to neutral from now on.
-Nate
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