What exactly is burning a clutch?

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I have the feeling that this kind of question has been posted in this forum already but i am a learner when it comes to driving and i want to know exactly what kind of driving can cause a clutch to "burn". I am a lover of manual transmissions and the only thing i don't like about them is that its a bit difficult to move off on a steep slope as i have experienced. I heard this story about a guy burning his clutch when trying to move off a steep slope too and i was wondering exactly what is burning a clutch.

I have gathered an understanding of a clutch from www.howstuffworks.com and i know that its function is based on the friction between two parts. What i was wondering is that riding a clutch is considered to be harmful in terms of that friction, but isn't it necessary when driving a manual trans to ride the clutch?

my theory on what is considered a clutch burning out is when someone is one a hill and tries to leave off without rolling back and revs the engine too much causing the frictional parts to wear down very fast.

posted by  cipher

:hi:
OK For a wide range of reasons a clutch "life" varies drastically from car to car. Burning a clutch is used to refer to 1. Wearing out a clutch and 2 Glazing the clutch surface. Riding the clutch (resting your foot on the clutch pedal) will do more damage to the throw out bearing than the clutch plate. If the clutch springs are very weak I suppose it could cause you to Burn (glaze) the clutch. On some cars you can ride the clutch for 50,000 miles and it won't hurt a thing. On others (rare) it can quickly damage the clutch.
Glazing is caused by excessive heat on the pressure plate making the surface smooth, and causing the clutch not to grab making it react like a worn out clutch. Drifting backwards and riding the clutch to go forward can create that heat, and cause the clutch to glaze, however I've seen some cars that can stand a great deal of that without noticeable affects. :sleep:
Hope that offers a preliminary view for you.

posted by  Comanderbob

Burning a clutch is simply overheating your clutch. Overheating by means of prolonged partial engaugement on your part, or high revs in partial engaugement, or a weak pressure plate on the clutch's part.

posted by  DodgeRida67

i can say that now i know exactly what burning a clutch is thanx to you two. i guess the reason that they guy that i was speaking about burnt his clutch was because he was reving the vehicle on a steep hill while it was partially engaged so that he could take off.

posted by  cipher

I appreciated the explanation of how a clutch burns out. I have a real problem with the manual transmission in my Toyota Matrix.

At 3900 miles I had to pay for a new clutch because it was burned out. Now at just over 13,000 miles I had to pay to replace a burned out clutch again. Aren't clutches engineered to last a certain amount of time on average, even if that average is pretty broad?

I have driven a manual shift for at least 20 years. I had a manual transmission in my Audi. I had it for eleven years and never burned out the clutch. I had Mustang for 4 or 5 years and never burned out the clutch. I drove both of these cars for a lot more mileage than this Matrix. I like to start up a little fast from first gear, but I am a 50 year old woman, so you know it isn't real fast. In addition, I have always been careful not to ride the clutch.

I just don't see how I could be responsible for burning out the clutch. Toyota says (and been through this before with them with the Sienna, where they claimed there was no technical problem with engines burning up and oil turning to sludge. It eventually became a recall.) it is my driving. They sort of looked/talked down to me, since I am a female with a manual transmission.

I would think most clutches are made to survive average drivers for a certain amount of time. Is there any official info on what an average manual transmission is built to last? I would assume they engineer for an average manual shift driver and should last 30,000 to 50,000 miles, but I just made that up.

Anyone have any data or sources for this, so I can take Toyota to task?

Thanks for any help.

Debbie

posted by  dcdeland

Debbie,

Dont bring it to the dealer. Although they may know the specific car the most, they tend to hire "trained" mechanics. This is bad since experience is ALWAYS better. Also, a mechanic fresh out of school can be cocky, thinking he knows everything there is to know about a car.

It sounds like there is something wrong with your car. Im pretty sure you can really beat on the clutch and still get more than 10,000 miles out of it. I would say average is probably around 50,000...depending on the driver and other conditions. Sounds like maybe the clutch plate in your matrix is not fully engaging, so you are riding around all day with it slipping.

Honestly, I have not been impressed with the Jap cars recently. I drove 2 Honda Accords (a 95 and 04) and the mechanical quality between the 2 seems to have plummeted. I recently traded my 04 accord in for a lease on a VW jetta...so far zero complaints.I feel like car companies are starting to level out, and what I mean by that is Honda and Toyota are no longer lasting forever and the "crap" brands are really improving their quality (VW and Hyundai). Sounds like you have experience with a few different companies, so just think about your experiences...

Mike   03 Apr 2012 17:53

You should be able to log 80,000 miles on a car you learned to drive stick on. I have an Audi with 167,000 some odd miles on it, original clutch. It's not in the perfect shape or anything, but it might actually last the life of the car.

Justin   05 Jan 2013 11:17

True toyota makes horrible manual transmission cars or at least on my toyota camry 2011 when i just bought the car 6 months ago im on my.second clutch i driven 6k miles only and not to mention the hard shifting they really should make a recall

Rey   21 Jan 2013 00:43

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