Oh please, please, please Matt, share your wisdom with us! Please do!
Clutch life varies from one brand and model of car to another and with
the type of driving the car sees. While a vehicle that's driven
predominantly on the highway may easily get 200K on a clutch, one that
sees lots for urban "stall-and-crawl" commuting never will. To make the
statement that 100K miles is poor clutch life without any other
information is simply ridiculous.
Of course, clutch life varies for many reasons as does brake life.
However, I believe that driver technique is the dominant factor in both
cases. Here are some things I've seen over the years that contribute to
clutch disk wear and throw-out bearing wear.
Sitting at a stop light for two minutes with the transmission in gear
holding the clutch down. This adds dramatically to the wear of the
t-bearing as compared to shifting into neutral and letting the clutch
out. Some claim the latter is a safety hazard as you couldn't get out
of the way of someone about to rear-end you, but I think this is a
specious argument at best. Few folks could get away from a person who
they knew was going to rear-end them even if they had the car in gear.
The main culprit I've seen is folks that use the clutch to hold the car
in position on a hill at a stop light or sign rather than using the
brakes. I'm still amazed at how often I see people doing this. A minute
or two of this probably wears the clutch as much as 5,000 miles of
normal driving and generates lots of heat that can cause warping of the
presssure plate or even flywheel.
Making fast starts all of the time and using too much RPM at start-out.
I'll be the first to admit that the Hyundai throttle and clutch makes
smooth starts much more difficult than they should be. My Chevy truck
idles at about 650 RPM. I can smoothly start out with that vehicle and
never have the tach above 1,000 RPM prior to full clutch engagement,
unless I'm on a steep hill. Obviously, the 4 cylinder in the Sonata
takes a little more RPM, but even so I can usually start out without
exceeding 1200 or so. I routinely ride with people who rev to 2,000+
rpm at every start.
Not matching engine and input shaft RPM when shifting. Once you get
familiar with a car, it is fairly easy to time upshifts so that you
release the clutch just as the engine RPM is falling to the figure
required for the next higher gear. Again, the Hyundai electronic
throttle makes this more difficult as the "dashpot" function programmed
into it is way to aggressive and slows upshifts, but it can be done if
you don't get in too big a hurry. Same thing with downshifting. A
quick blip of the throttle before engaging the clutch on higher RPM
downshifts helps a lot.
These are the biggest things I see routinely from folks who get poor
clutch life. I'm sure I missed a few and maybe you can add another tip
I have to disagree with this. How will this affect throwout bearing life?
The biggest threat to throwout bearing life is people who leave their foot
on the clutch pedal while driving, taking up the slop and laying on the
throwout bearing - what we used to call riding the clutch. Think about it -
what is coupling the tranny to the engine while the clutch is disengaged?
This sure would eat up a clutch fast, but our experiences differ Matt. I
can't think of many times at all that I've seen this. What strikes me as
more common is folks who aren't comfortable with releasing the clutch on a
hill and won't come off the clutch quickly, at rpm's that are a bit high, in
attempt to make the take off smooth. (slipping the clutch). They end up
with a lot of unnecessary slippage.
Notwithstanding a pure dump of the clutch, a fast start isn't going to do
any appreciable damage to a clutch. What will eat the clutch face is
attempting to ease it too much and ending up with too much time with a
partial clutch engagement. This will eat up a clutch even at low rpm's.
Matching rpm's has nothing really to do with clutch wear. The clutch is
already disengaged by the time the driver attempts the shift. Today's
synchro's (for the past 30 years or so...) have made a moot point of timing
the engine to the tranny. If you do go to the extent of timing the two, the
clutch becomes unnecessary - either up or down shifting. It becomes quite
possible to upshift and downshift without the clutch, and very smoothly at
that. But... this is a function of angle cut tranny teeth, and has nothing
to do with the clutch. Any miniscule affect on the clutch face that *may*
be in effect from blipping the engine probably wouldn't amount to a scant
few hundred miles in the life of a clutch plate.
OTR truck trannys, multi-speed rear ends, etc. share little in common with a
passenger car. The teeth are cut differently, and like a race car, the
tranny is really intended to be shifted without the clutch once under way.
I don't see it that often, but often enough to realize that people
aren't being taught properly.
True. Even with the stupid valve removed from the slave cylinder, it's
not the best clutch I've used. For that matter, the clutch in my old
Excel was better.
That'll tend to wear things a bit.
That's just a normal part of driving a manual tranny and it more or less
just happens during typical driving. The only time it's even and issue
is when driving aggressively.
Yes, the dashpot function really sucks. I used to disable the dashpots
on my older cars, but that's not an option anymore.
I used to be a big fan of heel-and-toe downshifting back when I tended
to drive my cars harder. These days, I only downshift when I need to and
never use the transmission to slow the car. As a wise man once said:
"Brake pads are much cheaper than a transmission rebuild."
Hondas may be great cars -- I've owned a two -- but, I would suggest if
one is considering a new generation Civic, go over to the 2006+ Civic
forum. Quite a number of owners are not happy with their new cars due
to the notorious "Lug Bug" problem. It seems like a fair number of
owners are experiencing this problem, as yet not fully explained by
I'm happy with our new 2006 Elantra. No complaints after three months
What is the lug bug problem?
I've only owned one Honda, an 84 Accord purchased new, and it was a
piece of crap. The top end of the engine self-destructed with 72,000
miles on it. It is the only car I've owned in 30+ years that didn't
make 100K miles.
I always thought Honda made good stuff. I test drove a Civic before
I bought my Elantra. I didn't like the Civic that much and the Elantra
has a better warranty. I've also had very good luck with Hyundai, so
I stuck with them.
My wife's Toyata Corolla put a rod though the side of the engine
block at 98,000. That engine was badly abused because
she didn't change the oil and stuff like she should have.
Similarly, I originally planned to buy a 2006 Corolla, but the driving
position in them was terrible. And then when I found I could get a
Sonata for virtually the same price, the decision was fairly easy.
Apparently, the new Civic has a problem either with an engine/chassis
resonance or an engine "lugging" problem. The users on Edmunds.com
forums have been complaining quite a bit about this for some time. It
appears to affect primarily the Civic with the AT transmission. Some
theorize that in Honda's search for the holy grail in fuel economy,
when the transmission is in 5th gear, the engine is turning too low of
an RPM (especially in town), and causes the engine to lug, i.e. too
high of a gear for engine RPMs. For some time now, the posters have
been calling it the "Lug Bug" problem.
Others think it's due to an inherent engine/chassis resonance problem.
It's not in their minds as it seems Honda has acknowleged the problem
exists, but has yet to propose a fix.
One thing is for certain, if you think there are dissatisfied Hyundai
owners, you will be surprised how many new 2006 Civic owners are
complaining in a very vocal way. Frankly, it surprised me, and I drove
a Civic for a number of years, and had excellent experience with it.
I do! The main reason I own a Hyundai rather than a Chrysler is that
the Chrysler car I liked only came with an automatic. Three of the four
vehicles I know own are stick shift (1986 Jeep Comanche, 1994 Chevy
K1500 - which I plow snow with, and 2006 Sonata). Only my wife's Dodge
Grand Caravan is automatic - and I try to avoid driving it! :-)
A clutch failure after 17,000 miles is absurd. Something was seriously
wroing with the car or your driving habits. My guess is you don't
know how to drive a stick properly.
I put 135,000 miles on an Excel, 105,000 on an Accent and now have
an Elantra. I've had absoulutely no clutch or transmission problems.
in defence. to his response.. I did have an 04 Elantra GT that had the
clutch assembly replaced due to a bent throughout bearing.. clutch was
fine.. throughout bearing was bent so they replaced the whole assembly.
What I find is funny is this is the first time I have seen him post here and
its only to SLAM Hyundai.. maybe he should have spent another 5K and got
Perhaps I should have spent the 5k extra and purchased a Honda. The
last Honda I owned went 125k on the first clutch, a fine machine. This
clutch problem is not operator error. I have owned at least 10 cars
since 1972 that have had manual transmissions, and all the clutches
went at least 60-100k miles. If you do your homework, you'll find that
the Hyundai clutch problem is posted all over the Internet, that
Hyundai is well aware of it, and that they refuse to fix it. Yes, it's
a value car, but where is the value in spending $1,000.00 every 20,000
miles to replace a clutch? You bet I'm slammin Hyundai. They're cheap
because they're cheap. Lousy clutches aren't the only problem.
Pete & Cindy wrote:
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