Clutch wear how to tell? - David
When buying a secondhand car its fairly easy to check for break pad wear.

Breaks are much cheaper to replace than a clutch.

Is there any way to tell how much life is left in the clutch - do any models have an inspection window to see the clutch plate?

David
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - Andy Bairsto
Put the handbrake on and in first gear let the clutch out if the engine does not stall and the revs increase the clutch is knackered.
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - steve paterson
With some bellhousings it's possible to see the clutch disc, difficult to judge the amount of wear though. The difference between a new disc and a worn out one is no more than a couple of mm. Would be handy if you had a new disc to compare with the one fitted. The best test is to get the engine / transmission hot, drive in a high gear at low speed - about 2000rpm at full throttle, press and release the clutch quickly, any slipping will show up. Check for juddering when hot, try reverse. Check that the gears engage easily, hot and cold.
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - David
Yes, thanks, but we all know that.

A 95% worn clutch will pass this test with flying colours, but will fail in a few months.

Is it possible with any models to actuallly look at the material left on the clutch plate you can with brake pads?

David
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - Andy Bairsto
Depending on what car you are looking at ,some have a inspection plate ,others have a measurement taken on the amount of clutch pedal travel .To find the correct way of testing you need to look at the particular vehicles maintainance manual.öIn a past letter HJ maedw a good comment old cavalier 1 hour to change the clutch new vectra 7 hours
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - honest john
The point of take up is a useful indicator. If it doesn't bite until the pedal is almost completely released it won't have much life left.

HJ
Re: Clutch wear how to tell? - Michael
David, the point to consider about clutch plates is the thickness of the lining material when new compared to brake pads. A typical brake pad, when new, has a thickness of around 10mm (some slightly more, some slightly less). You would replace them when they wear to a point of 2-3mm. The pads have a life expectancy of between 20-40000miles, depending on driving conditions. A clutch plate starts its life with a lining of around 3mm. Depending on driving conditions, it can last well over 100,000 miles or as little as 10,000 miles. The only way of determing in its condition is to test it for slip and judder. If its ok, you should be able to maintain it in that condition for a considerable amount of time, although you cannot rule out component failure at any time, even if it was new when you bought it.

With regard to the slip test that Andy described above, I have always tested the car with the handbrake on and top gear engaged (not first). Try to pull away at 3-4000rpm in top gear. The car should stall immediately. An engine which keeps running at 3000rpm with the car stationary and in top gear with the handbrake on is slipping - badly. The same test in first gear will move the car forward - with the handbrake locking the rear wheels, unless the clutch is completely shot.

Final thing to consider when testing the clutch is whether it is adjusted correctly. A cable clutch may need periodic adjustment, if not, it may not bite until the last moment. A hydraulic clutch will not require adjustment, but could have faulty hydraulics causing problems when engaging gears.
 

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