Standard clutch life - TimOrridge

Just wondering how long a factory fitted clutch would last, not sure whether mine is ready yet. Currently on 120,000.

Heard stories of ones going early - sub 100000 miles and saw a post today on HJ with one doing well with 250k on clock.

And how do you tell if a clutch is getting a bit worn?

Any experinces would be great

Standard clutch life - Martin1981
Make and model of car would be useful to begin with. The main tell tale sign of a worn clutch is a high biting point i.e. having to lift the clutch pedal higher til it bites. Eventually, the clutch friction material will wear away to the extent that it will start to slip i.e. engine revs rising with no increase in vehicle speed. Regarding the life of the clutch it's a case of 'how long's a piece of string?'- largely depends on how the car is driven and whether most of your driving is around town or on motorway. A car which is driven mainly round town is more likely to require a new clutch earlier in its life than a car which has been used for motorway cruising.

Standard clutch life - Red Baron
Second Martin1981.

My Alfa has a clutch that makes slight noise when depressed (sic), probably due to slight wear or dirt in the bearing. This has been the case for the last 70,000 miles. The (original) clutch is now at 135,000.

Once had a Fiesta where the clutch failed before 100,000 miles as it was almost impossible to select a new gear. The last journey to get it fixed I had to drive with super-foresight in fourth so that I didn't stall the engine.
Standard clutch life - TimOrridge
Car is an Audi 80 2.0E L reg. I ahve had car since 90000 2 years and do mainly 75% motorway and 25% town driving Sheffield to Leeds 4 times a week and just pottering about at weekends. There is no problems at minute, just wundering so I can prepare myself for a big bill if it arises.
Standard clutch life - Cliff Pope
Now on 350,000 miles (Volvo 240). The release bearing started making a slight squeaking noise about 100,000 miles ago, but a squirt of spray lubricant through the inspection hole soon fixed that.
I think it depends on kind of mileage and how you drive. Also a big engine will engage at idling speed whereas a small one will have to be revved and the clutch slipped more when pulling away.
Standard clutch life - Greg R
I must admit Cliff, that is an amazing mileage. What engine does your Volvo have by the way? Do you have a tow bar on your Volvo and is it used for towing?

I always thought that for every £1000 spent on a vehicle, we should expect at least 10,000 miles trouble free service. I'm sure your car has cost about £100 per 10,000 miles!
Standard clutch life - Cliff Pope
Its a B200F fuel injection engine, LH 2.4 . It's not that amazing - I know of two others locally that have done over 400,000 miles. Point 3 million as we say is pretty small beer. Plenty of Volvos in Scandinavia and eastern Europe have done .7 or .8 m. The current world highest is 2.4m, but it's probably increased a few points since I last checked. The secret of long engine life, I think, is oil, oil and oil, plus very careful attention to the cooling system to avoid overcooking.

Yes, I do have a tow bar, and have done quite a lot of hard towing in the past. I don't think it puts much extra load on the clutch if you use the right gear.
I suppose the wear all comes during the slipping process of getting the car moving. Learners are always taught to rev the engine and then slip the clutch until the car gathers sufficient speed. With a torquey engine you don't need to do that - just let the clutch up gently at idling speed and then increase the speed, so no slipping. It doesn't exactly leave rubber behind at the lights of course.
Also matching engine speed to road speed when changing gear minimises the jerk and the clutch wear.
Standard clutch life - Roberson
They were once considered a service item, right up to the 80s and 50,000 miles was seen as quite normal, however, these days many cars are scrapped with high mileages and still on their original clutch.

My Polo is now up to 114,000 on its original. That?s with me learning in it (with the related abuse), and another new driver. It?s not long for this world, I don't think, as the biting point is quite high and there's not a lot of movement on the pedal between disengaged and fully engaged. Not the most difficult cars to work on, so it wont cost the earth.

As has already been mentioned, it depends upon the usage. I know of many other Polo?s still on their originals with mileages in excess of 150,000 miles. My dads old work van had over 200,000 miles before it was replaced, but my mates Mk3 Golf has seen one off by 109,000.
Standard clutch life - Number_Cruncher
In contrast to these stories of clutch longevity, I have fitted new clutch kits to cars with less than 10,000 miles on them. Admittedly, these were cars driven by idiots without any mechanical sympathy.

In answer to the OP, there is no standard clutch life. Each manufacturer will have their own tightly controlled accelerated life tests to determine the adequacy of a clutch for their application, but once you add the statistical variation between individual clutches and batches of clutches, potential contamination from failed seals,varying environmental factors, and the variation in driving style between drivers, you end up with a very wide spread of possibilities. More succinctly, how long is a piece of string?


Standard clutch life - DP
Again, I find myself agreeing with Number_Cruncher. There are just too many variables to provide an accurate answer.

Some Lamborghinis and Ferraris apparently need to be driven with incredible skill to see anything more than 10,000 miles from a clutch, whereas I know of a 1996 Peugeot 306 XSi that was driven by a complete and utter hooligan from new, for 180,000 miles and never had a problem. This car was absolutely thraped everywhere, to the extent where it would need front tyres every 5,000 miles and brake pads every service, but the original clutch was still in the car and functioning perfectly when it went to the scrapyard.

I also had a clutch "killed" at 45,000 miles in a previous company Peugeot 406 TD (XUD lump) by being bathed in engine oil when the crankshaft rear oil seal popped, but it felt fine up to that point and may or may not have gone on to do three times that mileage.

Way too many factors to even begin to come up with a figure more accurate than 10,000-250,000 miles +


Standard clutch life - LeighB
I had a new 105E Anglia in 1962. The clutch started slipping on my way to a meeting at Brands Hatch when < 1000 miles!. I had to drive back to Essex avoiding as many hills as possible. I rang the suppliers - who were disbelieving - and arranged to take it in. I got it to their forecourt, and the fitter then tried to drive it in to the workshop, but the clutch had finally given up connecting.
It turned out that the centre plate had been fitted back to front.
Anyone had a clutch fail sooner?
Since then I have never had a clutch problem apart from a broken cable on a Pug 309. (That failed when I was fortuitously at the dealers buying new wiper blades!!)
Current vehicles Volvo 240 G Reg 160,000, and Pug 306 75,000.
Standard clutch life - GregSwain
The original clutch on my Sunny had just been replaced before I bought it at 84,000 miles. My current car was previously owned by an elderly gent, and the clutch is juddering at 65k when it's engaged, but I can't get it to slip whilst going up a hill at low revs. So, it's not getting replaced just yet.

I would be surprised if a car driven in a mixture of conditions by a competent driver needed a replacement clutch before 75k. But as other posters have said, it depends on so many factors so it's impossible to quote a precise figure.
Standard clutch life - ffidrac {P}
Just wondering how long a factory fitted clutch would last, not
sure whether mine is ready yet. Currently on 120,000.
Heard stories of ones going early - sub 100000 miles and
saw a post today on HJ with one doing well
with 250k on clock.
And how do you tell if a clutch is getting a
bit worn?
Any experinces would be great

Hardly standard but....

Back in the early 90's I was asked to look at a mates fathers car as it was revving up and not going anywhere, great, I thought, the clutch has gone.

On arrival at the address I was surprised to find a 2 or 3 year old Lada (can't rightly remember but I was surprised!) with 19000 miles on the clock yes just 19000!

I removed the gear box and clutch to inspect and found the friction plate worn so badly that the rivets wrer proud of the lining and the flywheel & pressure plate badly scored as well!

On checking the wear limit for the flywheel it was within limits for a skim but as it had blued from the heat I advised a new one. Clutch pressure plate was rejected by the motor factor for exchange for the reason of 'too much scoring mate'.

New flywheel & clutch kit fitted I took it for a test drive to confirm all was well, then I got the owner to take me round the block and discovered why it was so bad at so little mileage.

He started the engine, depressed the clutch, selected 3rd gear and pulled away slipping the clutch all the way!

I got him to pull over and we swapped seats and I showed him 'how to drive' a manual gearbox!

He was over 80 and, although having a manual licence, had learned to drive on a tractor that only had 2 forward gears, the low gear only used in the fields (his words not mine), and all the cars he had had upto the Lada were auto so he thought he would drive it like the tractor he learned on!

I sat with him for about an hour while he got used to the gears.

His son told me later that his father was not only pleased with the work I had done (including the lesson!) but was 'well chuffed' that the fuel bill had reduced and 'that nasty hot smell' had disapeared as well!

My point?

Clutch life is quite dependent on HOW you drive!!
Standard clutch life - Collos25
If you drive sensibly and lived around Berlin the clutch would last forever there isn't a hill in site live south of Dresden its hard to find a flat piece of road.How you drive and where you live ,its a how long is a piece of string question
Standard clutch life - glowplug
I've known hard thrashed Astravan diesels do over 150K with the factory clutch.

In Car Mechanics this month the car to keep forever is the Volvo 240.

Xantia HDi.

Buy a Citroen and get to know the local GSF staff better...
Standard clutch life - LeighB
In Car Mechanics this month the car to keep forever is
the Volvo 240.

Hear hear, have a G reg 240 estate owned since new, only 160000 miles and going strong.
have to say by modern standards is rather noisy and VERY thirsty, but we don't do high mileage in it anymore, although it used to take us, our 3 boys and 3 boats to Devon on holiday for many years, that was quite a load.
Standard clutch life - glowplug
I think that they recommend the 2.4(?) fuel injection as the best bet if you can find one. Something about being a low friction engine that reduced wear and fuel consumption. Tuff as nails from what I've seen.

Xantia HDi.

Buy a Citroen and get to know the local GSF staff better...
Standard clutch life - Chris S
I used to get through clutches every 40,000 miles when I drove Metros.
Standard clutch life - mk124
As other people say 'how long is a peice of string?'

Yesterday the fiat doblo my dads care workers use broke down. When you press the accelerator down the engine speed went up, but without an increase in road speed. This is a classic sign of a slipping clutch. The silly carer at the time smelled a strong burning smell, and had no idea it was being made by the car. I am surprised by the mileage of just 5,000 when the clutch failed.
The car was mostly driven by an ex-driving instructure and don't think she abused the clutch. The car was however driven by a mulitude of people, and the hardest thing about using cars that you'r unfamiler in is clutch control.
I have also read on the FiatForum that there is a doblo that covered 200,000 miles and the clutch was only half worn. (they had gear box problems though).
The conclusion is that the doblo's clutch can last 5,000 to 400,000 miles. Going on past form my dad's car would get through 80 clutches before getting to 400K!

The only real way to tell if a clutch needs replacing is if the clutch bites at the top the pedals travel or if you can provoke the clutch to slip under hard acceleration. EG take the engine to the rev. limiter and drop the clutch in 2nd gear.
The last course of action is extream in anyones books and not advised if you care about the car since it will shortern the life of your drivetrain significatly. I have just used it to ilustrate the priniple that the clutch should not slip, without depressing the pedal in any circumstance.
Standard clutch life - Micky
">In Car Mechanics this month the car to keep forever is the Volvo 240. <"

I can recall the popular motor press writing in a similar vein 20 years ago.

I enjoyed driving my 244 some time in the last century. I bought the thing to commute to a large construction site, the 40 mile round trip involved minor roads frequented by young men in hot hatches thrusting their way to the same money-drenched location, my trusty Frod had suffered the odd knock on the same route and in the car park so the 244 commuter-o-volvo was purchased. A fine steed, no intimidation from the young lions and gaps would mysteriously appear in the queues leaving the site car park.

I thought of my 244 today when a young lout and his mate cut in front of me in his chavved-up Golf, I braked harshly in my tediummobile to avoid collision, the front bumper might have cracked if a minor bump had resulted. I'm sure my 244 had hydraulic rams fitted to the bumpers for those inconvenient low speed altercations.
Standard clutch life - Avant
A sure sign that I'm getting old....when I saw the title of this thread I thought we were going to hear about a Vanguard that had done a million miles on the same clutch.

I wonder if there are any Vanguards around now? In the 50s and 60s they had a reputation rather like the Volvo 240 for reliabiulity and long life: the engines lasted forever, but unlike the 240 they were prone to rust when they got older.
Standard clutch life - PhilW
"the engines lasted forever,"
Weren't they used in Ferguson tractors? Or maybe Ferguson engines were used in Vanguards? Was there a connection or is it a figment of my aged imagination - yet another "senior moment"!
Standard clutch life - Cliff Pope
I too reacted to the "Standard" !
It would be more strictly accurate to say that the Ferguson engine was used in the TR2 and 3 - probably the only instance of a tractor engine being used in a sports car.
Actually the story is a bit of a myth. After the war Ferguson wanted a new engine, and approached Standard. Standard had been developing a new 4 cylinder wet liner engine, intending to use it in a new range of cars, Because of restrictions because of rationing, home consumption was limited, but priority was given to agriculture. So a modified form of the engine was made first, for use in the new tractor.
The Vanguard engine was I think a further development of the same engine.

I can vouch for the longevity of the Ferguson tractor. Mine has been in fairly regular use for 57 years, unrestored.
Standard clutch life - M.M

The Standard-Ferguson engine merger is told in slightly different ways in different places. Isn't it that just after the war Harry Ferguson had fallen out with Ford who'd been producing his tractor design to that point. Post war Standard had no use for their Banner Lane factory and agreed to build a new Ferguson designed tractor there... the Grey Fergie we all know.

Standard already had the 2088cc engine destined for the Vanguard in the pre-production stage and it was slightly modified when fitted to the tractor. I think it was always designed as a car engine first. As far as I know the very first Fergies had a Continental engine because they waited for the Vanguard engine production to be properly rolling before fitting it to the tractor.

It may be the tractor received the engine a little before the car due to post-war politics. To add to the confusion the Standard Vanguard also had a different (smaller) engine for its early production stages.

Some writers like to quote the soundbite that the Triumph TR2 sports car had a tractor engine because it sounds interesting... but as you say it wasn't quite correct.

Standard clutch life - Cliff Pope
You are right David. It's a confusing bit of history with slightly diferent versions. The very earliest Standard engined Fergusons also used a smaller engine - 1996cc I think rather than the later 2088 cc. Mine's from 1949, with the bigger engine. Did the TRs retain the smaller engine ? I know they differed in some way from the Vanguards.
Sorry to vear from the proper thread subject. If the word "clutch" hadn't been there we could have nattered on about life insurance instead!
Standard clutch life - M.M
Cliff. Whatever the engines glad to hear yours is still hauled out of the shed now and again. I like to see one in good nick with honest wear rather than every single bit painted or shiny new.

Needs have pushed my tractor ownership ever newer over the past 14yrs. Started with a 1958 International, then a 1970 International and now the amount of all year round road use dictates a 1985 John Deere. If not a true classic I regard it as heading that way and use/improve/maintain in that spirit. I think the heater and CD player may hold it away from classic status for a while longer though!!

Standard clutch life - PhilW
Cliff and M.M.
Is this site of interest (though I suspect you know of it already!)
Scroll down to the bottom for years 1945 to 1949 for references to Standard,Banner Lane, and an 1850 cc Vanguard engine etc.
My interest in Fergies is that one was the first vehicle I ever "drove" seated on my uncle's knee and allowed to "steer" when about 5 years old and graduated to driving it properly when I had sufficient weight to be able to stand on the brake pedal to stop it. Seem to remember starting it by pressing a button on the transmission with my heel and the starter "button" was the gear lever.
There was a second "seat" which was the tool box on the mudguard - wonder what health and safety would say about that nowadays?!

Standard clutch life - Avant
"Sorry to veer from the proper thread subject. If the word "clutch" hadn't been there we could have nattered on about life insurance instead!"

That was my fault entirely. Any chance of a play on words is like a red rag to a bull for me! - also a chance to reminisce about a fine old car. I still remember when I was about 11 the school doctor arriving in his Vanguard, and the headmaster turning a Latin lesson into a very interesting session on Roman battle formation.

I think that as long as we keep it motoring-related the moderators are fairly tolerant of this sort of thing. Anyway the original question was well answered by others so why not!


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