04 Corolla...clutch life?

I have the manual shift model. It's almost to 100K miles now, I was wondering if I should pre-emptively replace the clutch now, before if fails? Always happens at the most inconvenient time, like on a trip in the middle of nowhere. Is it possible to inspect the clutch wear without a major teardown, in which case you might as well replace it?

I believe I am supposed to replace the throw-out bearing at same time. Where is a good place to order the parts from?

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It's better to wait until it starts slipping. If you're really good with a manual transmission, you may end up going another 100K on this clutch, so you never really know. I ended up getting 255,000 miles out of my Honda's original clutch.

A worn-out clutch isn't going to strand you. You will get plenty of warning, like funny noises and an obvious feeling like the clutch isn't "grabbing" properly any more, but you'll still easily be able to get where you're going.

Once you start having the symptoms, schedule the car in for the work within a couple of weeks and you'll be fine.

And yes, the release bearing needs to be replaced.

--
Tegger


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A worn out clutch might not strand you, but a failed clutch cable, failed release bearing, or broken clutch springs can make life miserable. It is no fun to have a clutch cable (or hydraulic clutch curcuit) fail just as you are coming to a stop in heavy traffic. Some cars are easy to shift without being able to disengage the clutch and some aren't. I once drove a Plymouth Reliant from just south of Petersburg, Va. to downtown Raleigh with a broken clutch cable. The transmission was impossible to speed shift (shift without a clutch). I was lucky becasue I got to start off on a downhill Interstate Ramp in fourth gear with people pushing. I managed to get within a mile of the dealer without stopping (only ran one light). I drove the last two miles in second gear after being forced to stop at a light. I could crank the car off with the starter in second gear. I once drove a farm tractor through a fence when the clutch diaphram fingers failed at the end of a row. It was a diesel, when the clutch failed to disengage, I pulled the fuel stop, but it still chugged another 4 feet or so through a fence.

On the other hand, I've never personally worn out a clutch on a car, although I have repalced a couple for other reasons. I had over 140,000 miles on a Fiesta clutch with no problems. My Sister's Civic made over 150,000 miles on the OE clutch.

I think cluch wear is more a function of the driver than the design of the clutch. When my Father still drove manual transmission trucks, he never wore out a clutch. My Grandfather could destroy one in 20,000 miles. My Father claimed this was becasue my Grandfather learned how to drive Model T's and treated everything after that the same. I can remember riding with him. He would start out in first and as soon as the car was moving shift to third (skipping second gear of the three speed manual). After he got the car moving in third, he never downshifted again unless he came to a complete stop. If he had to go so slow, he would just slip the clutch to allow the engine to keep running. He would make turns at 5 mph in high gear while slipping the clutch so the engine could rev up to a couple of thousand rpms. I suppose he was lucky the clutch lasted 20k miles....

However, I agree with your advice. No need to repalce the clutch until there is a symptom.

Ed

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That's all true, but the '04 Corolla has a hydraulic clutch.

And the OP does not report any squealing or other problems when the clutch is used, so I think it's very unlikely that the pressure plate springs are worn to the point of breaking, or that the release bearing is near failure.

I know a guy who did just this (different cities, though) with an '80s VW Rabbit GTI. His cable pulled through the firewall, rendering the pedal useless.

I got 255,000 miles on the OE clutch in my '91 Integra. The "new" one now has 60K on it. I haven't had to adjust it yet.

Absolutely. I'm told that manual driving school cars tend to go through clutches about every 30K miles.

Sounds like he was used to non-synchro boxes, where you tended to rely on engine torque so you didn't have to fight the lever into gear all the time.

--
Tegger


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I would not worry too much about that, but it depends strongly on the drivers habits and maybe on where the original clutch was made. a previous Corolla of mine, a 99 model 4WD, in which both my kids learned to drive, still had the original clutch at 400K km (250K miles) the last time I met the happy new owner. It seems that Toyota do not need(?) to make their profit on selling parts. The only test that I know of is to let it work hard, but that also wears it even more, so I'll leave the explanation to the experts here.

Asbjørn

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I can't speak to the rest of the questions, but... in the past I've had manual Corollas for 6 - 8 years each, with no apparent probs with the clutches by the time I sold or traded them.

Cathy

Is it possible to inspect the clutch wear

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OTOH... didn't have anywhere close to 100K miles on them, either. ;-)

Cathy

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wrote:

Thats good to know. My previous experience with a manual tranny car was a Dodge Omni, and the clutch just shattered on it when in strange town on the way to Missouri. I guess that wasn't really induced by the clutch material being worn down too much....but by the fact of it being a crummy DOdge car ;-)

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Sounds like a Dodge. Wonder if it's going to be around next month?

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If, for some reason, the engine has to come out of the car (like you have to fix the transmission), it makes sense to check the clutch and see if it is getting ready to let go. However, there is no need to preemptively replace the clutch. You'll know before hand that the clutch is not working properly. Clutches can hundreds of thousands of miles. It depends on how you drive the car and where.

When you notice your engine speed is going up when you go uphill, even though the car is going at a constant speed, and you smell something that is like burning brakes, then you should ask your mechanic if it is time to replace the clutch.

You can see what you do need to replace preemptively by looking in your maintenance manual.

Jeff

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