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Get Your Shift Together And Stop Riding Your Clutch

Okay, let's just admit that automatic transmissions are convenient, especially in city traffic, but when it comes to the pure, unadulterated fun of driving, you just can't beat a manual transmission. As in all great relationships, you will have to strike a balance in your driving. If you want to keep the pep in your car, you have to know how to take care of your clutch.

riding the clutch in vehicle with manual transmission

Clutch, Shift, Repeat

Remember when you were first learning to drive a manual transmission, the head-banging, stomach-lurching, buckboard ride and stalls from releasing the clutch too soon? Well, too many manual drivers take that to the other extreme, and out of fear of stalling or just bad habit, ride their clutch until it wears out.

What Is the Clutch & Why Should I Care

Simply put, your car's clutch interrupts the car's power to the engine long enough for you to switch gears to go faster or slow down. There are many parts to the clutch/transmission system of your vehicle and a well-treated clutch can last about 80,000 miles. But if you ride the clutch, you’re going to need to replace those parts much sooner. People who consistently keep their foot on the clutch pedal while coasting downhill, in traffic, or stopped at a light often need service and replacement closer to the 35,000-mile mark. That can easily translate to several avoidable service visits in the life of your car.

Learn to Remain Neutral

Use neutral more and your clutch less. You need to have your foot on the clutch to start your car, to shift up or down, and to stop; otherwise, keep your foot off the clutch. Going downhill, downshift and use your brakes or shift into neutral and use your brakes to slow down. Stopped at a red light, put your car in neutral and use your break until the light changes. In traffic, allow a greater distance between your car and the one in front of you and coast a little more with the traffic flow. It may take you a bit of practice to feel like you've really got your shift together. It takes some effort to break an ingrained habit, but it's well worth the effort, both to prevent issues with your car and to save your hard-earned cash. If you are having problems with your clutch or have any other questions regarding the functionality of your car, contact us at Custom Complete Automotive today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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