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2006 Accord, does clutch wear quickly?

I’ve had a frustrating day with my dealer who had my car Tuesday and failed to discover my clutch had failed until I brought it back today after burning the clutch the whole drive in.



Of course, the clutch is not under warranty. I am very upset because I have driven standards since I was 16. My two Fords were run into the ground and I never had to replace the clutch. This car is just under 3 years old, 45000 miles and the clutch is dead?



Is this normal for Honda? Of course the service department and the tech both insinuated that I ride the clutch (which I don’t, ovaries do not equal idiot when it comes to cars). I was pretty angry when I left this morning.



So- What’s the normal average lifetime of a Honda clutch?



Thanks

I believe you know how to drive a clutch. But what you might have checked out while they have the vehicle is the clutch master cylinder. If the clutch master cylinder is leaking internally, the lack of hydraulic pressure won’t allow the clutch to fully disengage. And this can burn up a clutch as quickly as somebody who rides the clutch.

Tester

Did you notice any change in the feel (firmness or position) of the clutch pedal at any time? If yes this was the clue that something was going on with the hydraulic side of the clutch system.

Describe better the events leading up tp failure. Did you go to the Dealer and say “something doesn’t feel right with my clutch” and the Dealer pronounced it OK?

Did you notice that your engine rpm’s were abnormaly high for the speed you were traveling?

What is the clutchs condition now? can you smell burned clutch material? can you get the car in gear? is the clutch slipping?or chattering?

To answer the exact question you asked,and its just going to be my observation nothing scientific but you should get 150K trouble free miles on that Hondas clutch minimum. Many factors will decrease this figure.

Give us some more info to talk about your Dealers fault in this issue.

I haven’t heard of Honda’s having clutches wear out prematurely as a common problem. I have an '03 Civic purchased new with over 80K and no need to replace the clutch. My clutch master cylinder is “creaky” and makes a little noise when I depress the clutch but it functions properly so I live with the creak.

“I’ve had a frustrating day with my dealer who had my car Tuesday and failed to discover my clutch had failed until I brought it back today after burning the clutch the whole drive in.”

Was the clutch slipping BEFORE this destructive drive?? I disagree with Tester. A leaking hydraulic system leaves the clutch ENGAGED, not DISENGAGED…

Clutch wear is almost ALWAYS determined by driver habits, not defects. I should mention that Hondas have this divine reputation that is not entirely deserved…

The clutch on your Honda should not wear out any more quickly than the clutches on any of the other cars you’ve driven. Something is wrong.

Can you elaborate on “burning the clutch the whole way in?” What was the reason the car was in on Tuesday?

Dude! If there’s not enough hydraulic pressure to move the slave cylinder to force the throwout bearing fully against the pressure plate diaphram fingers, the pressure plate doesn’t fully disengage the clutch disc. So the clutch disc is now slipping between the pressure plate and the flywheel. And this is the same as someone riding the clutch.

Tester

I do agree with Caddyman but I do see where Tester is comming from. Tester is saying that a leaking master will cause problems when shifting,Caddy is saying if the car is being driven and no one is touching the clutch a leaking master will not cause the clutch to slip,at least thats the way I see the conversation.

Caddy,you got called Dude,I hate that.

I brought the car in Tuesday since the car was running at high RPM when I was trying to accelerate. It felt as if the clutch was engaged even though I didn’t have my foot on it.
So imagine this: Driving up a hill, you accelerate slightly and the RPM jump from 2100 to over 4000. This was not normal behavior for the car.

I did not notice any change to the feel of the clutch before this. No clicking or clunking. No issue shifting into gear.

Today, the burning of the clutch occurred as I was taking this back to the dealer.

I originally took the car in an explained that the engine was revving while I was trying to accelerate as if the engine was disengaged. They marked it down as “slipping clutch”. Then I was called and told that they couldn’t reproduce the problem and the clutch was fine. When I explained the issue again, I was told “well if the check engine light isn’t on, your car is fine”. I said that this answer was unacceptable and could they have a tech drive with me so I could show them the problem. They said sure. I told them I was walking down to the shop. When I got there, they told me it would be over an hour wait to drive with a tech. I was frustrated here and asked to have the car looked at Thursday.
This morning involved waiting at least 30 minutes for a tech to ride with me. The ride in was terrible and the clutch was burning the whole way in. I did my best not to stress the engine, but if you’ve ever driven in the Boston area…

Both the service manager and the tech told me that riding the clutch will wear it out. When I pointed out my experience with standards, the one rolled his eyes and repeated his “riding the clutch” advice.
This is very frustrating since they could have figured out there was a clutch problem on Tuesday before I destroyed things.

Your post was very well written I understood 100% of it,now your clutch components were probably (almost definetly) damaged on Tuesday and the extra driving until Thursday probably did not damage anything that wasn’t damaged on Tuesday with one possibility, you may have damaged the flywheel that wasn’t damaged on Tuesday but this is not certain.

In short the extra two days driving did not damage anything that wasn’t already damaged,now you could have got stuck and suffered a tow bill but that did not happen. The manager is rolling his eyes because 45,000 is very early for a slipping clutch and he truly believes you were riding the pedal. Whatever way the damage occured it happened early but the repair will be the same.

The issue of a failed master cylinder causing slippage everytime you shifted which eventualy lead to total clutch failure does not fully explain the situation. This failed master cylinder would have been giving you trouble getting the car in gear (espically reverse) but once you got going and no longer were using the clutch the pressure plate would have prevented clutch slippage, Now some part of the clutch (damaged clutch disc or failed pressure plate)is causing the slippage.

I have 180,000 miles on my original equipment clutch on my 99 Accord. It does not slip at all. 45,000 seems like a very short life to me.

After you have the clutch replaced, …You might have a professional driving instructor ride with you for half an hour to see if you have picked up some bad driving habits. It happens to the best of us. Small differences in driving techniques can make a BIG difference in clutch life.

Lets ask a few questions…

When you stop at a red light, waiting for it to change, what gear is the transmission in?

When stopped on a slight incline so the car wants to roll backwards, how do you prevent that from happening?

When cruising in high gear, where is your left foot?

You have stated that the “feel” of the clutch pedal has not changed, to me, this pretty much rules out a mechanical problem. But there are a couple of very rare mechanical faults that could have caused this, as unlikely as it is…

Hi Caddyman,

Luckily, I had a good person teach me how to drive standard:
When I stop at a red light, the car is in neutral. What other gear would I be in?(I shift to neutral, take my foot off the clutch and brake. I don’t touch the clutch again until the light turns green.)
When I am on an incline, I am using the brake. When I go, I either a) start in first with more gas or b) put the parking brake on to start if the incline is too large

When cruising in high gear, my left foot is tucked under to the side. ie I DON’T RIDE THE CLUTCH.

While I agree there are very few mechanical faults that cause failures, I would like to take a moment to point out that I actually DO work on spacecrafts (note my username) and I do have some engineering background. Parts have expected lifetimes and I just want to understand if this is typical to Honda or a possible lemon that came out.

OldSchool-
Is it reasonable to assume the entire clutch assembly will be replaced? I am hoping not to have to repeat this experience. I am not well versed in the clutch assembly (although I am learning quickly!) and I want to make sure the offending part will be replaced. (assuming I haven’t suddenly started riding the clutch without noticing)

Make sure you get estimates from a few shops not just the Honda dealer. I seriously doubt they will cover a dime of this.

There are many independents out there, thankfully clutch repair does not take special training like those abhorrent automatics and your car is beyond common.

Well you passed the test Spacemom…About the only thing mechanical that could have contributed to this would be a clutch cover, the pressure plate, was somehow defective and allowing the clutch to slip or oil finding it’s way onto the clutch disk causing it to slip. I once had a Triumph TR-3 that leaked transmission oil (which was motor oil) out the mainshaft and into the clutch, causing it to slip. A small leak will leave little evidence. By smoking your clutch you destroyed any evidence, but an oil leak might be the basis of a warrantee claim…(5, 50?) If you can show an oil leak ruined the clutch, and you are still under warranty, they should cover it. Now, they assume YOU destroyed the clutch…

A rocket scientist. Wow!

I never doubted your driving ability from the beginning. There is something mechanically wrong that has caused the clutch to wear out at only 45K miles.

The check engine light would not come on for the clutch, even if there were no clutch left at all (which there isn’t, now). The car needs a new clutch. It needed a new clutch on Tuesday, and the dealer should have known.

It’s a shame you took it back to the same dealer who told you such a stupid thing. I wouldn’t trust them to replace a light bulb. I would seriously consider having the car towed to another mechanic. The dealer doesn’t believe you, and never will. Why give them your money?

Thank you EVERYONE for some great advice. I have learned alot about the clutch system.
I am planning to call the dealer today with some questions based on this discussion!

Thanks everyone!

My '89 Accord has 495,000 miles on it . . . original clutch. I say that you have a faulty system or part, Tester seems to have made a good suggestion, but McP nailed it . . . why take it back to the dealer? Hard to determine the cause from here. The basic design is probably good, you just got a bad part/leaking slave/misalignment of something. Get it fixed correctly, then watch it for a while . . betcha you’ll go another 200,000 without a problem based upon your driving habits. Good luck! Rocketman