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Can new clutch really be worn out in a day?

On todays show Tom and Ray related an incident where they put a new clutch in Tom’s 63 Rambler I think, then they had a visitor who borrowed the car, and in a day wore out the clutch. I just don’t see how this is possible. I could see the clutch being broken by taking off too fast maybe, but I don’t see how the clutch lining could all be worn away in a day, even under the worst possible riding-the-clutch driving. I mean the clutch lining when new is pretty thick. I can’t see it all being worn away in a day’s driving.

The only thing I can think of is if the driver gunned the engine and rode the clutch at the same time, it might sear the clutch lining from the heat, and make it slippery. Sort of like brake pads getting glazed. Maybe that is what they mean?

What do you think?

Yes, a new clutch could be taken out in one day for any one of a number of reasons. Riding the clutch, hotrodding, or even how the clutch job was performed.

If the new clutch did not involve a new pressure plate, if the flywheel was warped, improper adjustment of the clutch free play, etc are reasons related to the latter in the first sentence.

Some of the regulars here may remember the lady who posted here some years about buying a brand new VW New Beetle and teaching her teen daughter to drive a manual. The clutch gave up the second day.

If you get the clutch assembly hot enough, the clutch friction material will crumble and break away and the pressure-plate springs will simply collapse rendering the clutch useless. A brand new clutch can reach this point in 10 or 15 minutes if it’s allowed to slip… (Riding the clutch) Any Car Talk shows you hear now on the Radio are repeats from long ago…

It’s certainly possible, I’ve seen something like it a few times. Not a brand new clutch, but a one year old Subaru with only 8,000 miles. Driven by a competent driver who then loaned her car to a young relative who had never driven a clutch. In just one day of driving the clutch was completely burned up to the point the car wouldn’t move. Slip a clutch long enough and the material will just melt away.

Interesting. Like I say, I could see how a clutch could be broken by severly popping the clutch, the impact force could damage the springs, or crack some metal component or something. But the clutch lining can really be burned away just by riding it, in a single day. So it’s not so much it wears out, it’s a thermal problem where the clutch lining material reaches such a high temperature that it falls or melts off. Thanks for the info everybody.