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How do you avoid 'riding' the clutch?

How do you avoid 'riding' the clutch?

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Get Karter

Original Poster:

1,831 posts

122 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
What exactly is meant by 'riding' the clutch?

When I reverse out my garage, I have to just let the clutch out partially, otherwise the high initial tickover revs (starting the car from cold) would have me reversing too quickly.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

When I am parallel parking, I use the clutch to keep the speed down to a crawl.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

Is there another way to do these manouvers with more mechanical sympathy?

p1esk

4,293 posts

117 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
Get Karter said:
What exactly is meant by 'riding' the clutch?

When I reverse out my garage, I have to just let the clutch out partially, otherwise the high initial tickover revs (starting the car from cold) would have me reversing too quickly.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

When I am parallel parking, I use the clutch to keep the speed down to a crawl.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

Is there another way to do these manouvers with more mechanical sympathy?
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal, and this is likely to cause added wear to the clutch release mechanism - and the clutch plate if you are causing any slip.

In the situations you describe you have no alternative but to use some clutch slip, and all I can suggest is that you do it with no more than idling speed unless you need to use a few more revs. HTH.

IMHO what you are doing does not count as riding the clutch.

Best wishes all,
Dave.

Don

28,267 posts

205 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
Get Karter said:
What exactly is meant by 'riding' the clutch?

When I reverse out my garage, I have to just let the clutch out partially, otherwise the high initial tickover revs (starting the car from cold) would have me reversing too quickly.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

When I am parallel parking, I use the clutch to keep the speed down to a crawl.
Is this 'riding' the clutch?

Is there another way to do these manouvers with more mechanical sympathy?
Yes that is clutch riding. And, yes, it wears out the clutch.

That, however, is what the clutch is for. Riding the clutch during low speed manouevres is a necessary skill.

People who are bad at it often rev the engine far too high with the clutch let out too little - this wears it even more quickly - not good.

Clutch riding when it isn't necessary is just wasteful of the finite life of the clutch plate. Examples are:

  • Holding the car still at traffic lights or on a hill using the clutch and accelerator instead of using the handbrake. You can usually tell when people do it as their car rocks forwards and backwards. laugh Ahh the smell of burning clutch plates! biggrin
  • Riding the clutch in slow moving queues - instead of leaving a decent gap, getting first fully engaged and crawling forward using the gap to "soak up" the "stop go".
There are others but you get the idea. Slipping is what the clutch is for - but it does wear it out so don't waste it. yes HTH.

Don

28,267 posts

205 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
p1esk said:
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal.
I wouldn't call that riding the clutch - but maybe my terminology is wrong. But you are absolutely correct that it is a terrible habit that eats clutches. People who drive along with their left foot resting on the clutch can wear one out in just a few hundred miles.

It is why there is often a footrest to the left of the clutch. yes You're supposed to use it!

BertBert

10,971 posts

132 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
Don said:
p1esk said:
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal.
I wouldn't call that riding the clutch - but maybe my terminology is wrong. But you are absolutely correct that it is a terrible habit that eats clutches. People who drive along with their left foot resting on the clutch can wear one out in just a few hundred miles.

It is why there is often a footrest to the left of the clutch. yes You're supposed to use it!
It depends on what is happening with the l foot on clutch. As a point of principle it is bad. But for example with a cable clutch there is usually pre-load on the clutch to hold the release bearing in the right place (a known area of failure on caterhams for example - not enough pre-load).

So just resting the foot on the pedal in of itself is not necc specifically bad. And you are unlikely to wear out a clutch in a few hundred miles unless it is slipping. You have to do a lot more to a normally acting clutch to wear it out in a few hundred miles with just a foot resting on it.

BErt
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Don

28,267 posts

205 months

Thursday 8th May 2008
quotequote all
BertBert said:
Don said:
p1esk said:
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal.
I wouldn't call that riding the clutch - but maybe my terminology is wrong. But you are absolutely correct that it is a terrible habit that eats clutches. People who drive along with their left foot resting on the clutch can wear one out in just a few hundred miles.

It is why there is often a footrest to the left of the clutch. yes You're supposed to use it!
It depends on what is happening with the l foot on clutch. As a point of principle it is bad. But for example with a cable clutch there is usually pre-load on the clutch to hold the release bearing in the right place (a known area of failure on caterhams for example - not enough pre-load).

So just resting the foot on the pedal in of itself is not necc specifically bad. And you are unlikely to wear out a clutch in a few hundred miles unless it is slipping. You have to do a lot more to a normally acting clutch to wear it out in a few hundred miles with just a foot resting on it.

BErt
Seen the results of a bloke doing it in an old 911.

Jules2477

96 posts

113 months

Friday 16th May 2008
quotequote all
Riding the clutch as defined here is very different to simply slipping the clutch to carryout a manouvre. But for ultimate mechanical sympathy and fuel economy I always try to do all the shunty bits with a hot engine on tick over and leave the car ready to drive straight off from cold. For example changing the habit of driving forward into a driveway to reversing in, minmises the time spent with clutch slipping against an engine that is reving higher on a richer mixture. Need I say more with fuel prices rocketing.

ph123

1,841 posts

139 months

Friday 16th May 2008
quotequote all
... getting a quote for a new one should do the trick. Then there's the inconvenience ...

BertBert

10,971 posts

132 months

Friday 16th May 2008
quotequote all
Jules2477 said:
...an engine that is reving higher on a richer mixture.
I know that every bit counts, but if you are talking about a modern car with injection and ecu control, I wonder what the fueling factor is for low temperatures and how much we are actually talking about. My cars do not rev higher when they are cold.

Bert

Jules2477

96 posts

113 months

Friday 16th May 2008
quotequote all
BertBert said:
Jules2477 said:
...an engine that is reving higher on a richer mixture.
I know that every bit counts, but if you are talking about a modern car with injection and ecu control, I wonder what the fueling factor is for low temperatures and how much we are actually talking about. My cars do not rev higher when they are cold.

Bert
Fairly minimal but injection or not, a cold engine, diesel or petrol, enriches the fuel mixture to stay running so the sooner you are on the move the less the proportion of fuel wasted going nowhere. You also have increased in drag (even with the best oils) until lubricants reach normal working temperature so that is a little more work for the engine and clutch to do - I did say ultimate sympathy. If you have a trip computer you will notice quite a difference in consumption on shorter journeys comparing winter to summer 5 mpg being quite typical even allowing air con.

identti

2,333 posts

146 months

Sunday 8th June 2008
quotequote all
Don said:
p1esk said:
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal.
It is why there is often a footrest to the left of the clutch. yes You're supposed to use it!
Haha, my car doesn't have a foot rest! Have to put my foot on the floor grumpy

gazza_3

6,084 posts

129 months

Sunday 8th June 2008
quotequote all
identti said:
Don said:
p1esk said:
I would say that 'riding the clutch' means you have your foot resting lightly on the clutch pedal (but probably not enough to make the clutch slip) at times when you should have your foot off the pedal.
It is why there is often a footrest to the left of the clutch. yes You're supposed to use it!
Haha, my car doesn't have a foot rest! Have to put my foot on the floor grumpy
Like wise in one of mine.

Si_steve

1,004 posts

111 months

Monday 9th June 2008
quotequote all
I used to be terrible for it in my fiesta zetec, probably why the slave cylinder decided to crap itself during some spirited driving, stopped it now, used to lightly rest my foot on the clutch