How to Preserve Your Manual Transmission Clutch

Many people feel like they've mastered their manual transmission because they don't stall when stopping and starting, and can even manage to get up a steep hill with traffic lights. However, this is only half of properly driving a manual transmission. The other half is in using the clutch efficiently and effectively, therefore keeping it from burning out from overuse and misuse. To do so, there are a few steps you need to follow.

  • Press your clutch all the way in as often as possible. Obviously, there will be times that you have to ride it a little bit, but just because you can shift with the clutch partly engaged doesn't mean you should shift with the clutch partly engaged. Partial clutch engagement is what wears it out, so the less this happens the better.

  • Slow down with the brakes only. This seems obvious, but many people use their clutch as a rudimentary brake. It's not a brake. It's a clutch. So unless you're shifting gears or disengaging the engine for another reason, keep your foot off of it.

  • Match your revs every time, whether you're upshifting or downshifting. While it seems fairly intuitive to ease off the accelerator while upshifting, many drivers forget that you need to do the opposite while downshifting. When you downshift, press the accelerator a little -- if you feel a lurch as the lower gear engages, you're putting unnecessary pressure on the clutch.

  • Find the area on your pedal where the clutch engages. This is different on every car, but if you know yours you can shift more accurately.