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Chevy Cruze clutch worn out at 15,000 miles! Tips for longer lasting clutch?

I bought a brand new Chevy Cruze and the clutch burned out at 15000 miles. This isn’t my first stick, and I’m not driving it around town like I’m a race car driver. I put the car in neutral when sitting at a light, in fact I put it in neutral sometimes before I’m getting ready to shift. I don’t ride the clutch, at least I don’t think I do. Either way, this isn’t something I imagined needing replaced this early in the game. Can anyone provide me with just the best Clutch 101 tips to prolonging the life of my clutch? Maybe I’m missing something. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

I think one of the worst things a driver can do to a clutch is rest your foot on the clutch petal between gears. This practice is pretty common and this “resting” actually reduces the pressure on the clutch disk, so the clutch slips and the result is extra wear on the clutch.

Next worst practice is “hill holding” by using the clutch and gas to hold the car on a hill instead of putting your foot on the brakes. Some drivers do this to be ready to go when the light changes, but the clutch wear is very significant.

If the OP is doing either or the above, stop for the sake of your clutch.

I usually get well over 100K on my clutches but I’ve never owned a Chevy Cruze. I would opt for the heavy duty clutch when replacing it. The clutch should give some indication of the problem when it’s taken apart. Ask your mechanic for the possible cause in determining any fault.

UPDATE. Hopefully Chevrolet will replace your clutch as a good will gesture. I checked some Chevy Cruze enthusiast pages and it seems there are a lot of Chevy Cruze clutches failing in the 10K-20K range. You might want to let your dealer know this. I’m sure they already do but it’s nice to have it on record.

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I’m nearing 60,000 on mine, with no problems. Crossing my fingers I didn’t just hex myself.

I usually use the brakes while in neutral to sow down rather than downshifting, the less time the clutch is depressed while accelerating the longer the clutch will last. Tom and Ray had some good tips somewhere on this.

There was a poster here who said he got over 400K from his clutch, and it was still going strong. It’s unusual for you to get so few miles. Esp if you have experience driving clutch equipped cars and never had a problem with any of those. I’m guessing this might be a problem with the original installed clutch, some kind of sample defect.

It could be your driving habits though. What causes a clutch to go bad quickly is too much heat on the clutch material. The clutch material is designed to wear out. Like with the material on brake pads. And there’s enough material for a clutch to last hundreds of thousands of miles if the clutch is used gently. The two surfaces can come together time and time again and some material will wear away each time, but it will last a long time provided the clutch material doesn’t overheat. But if the clutch material heats up beyond a certain temperature, it degrades. In one fell swoop. Sort of like it melts. And then the next time you use it, instead of wearing away just a little, it flakes off in patches and wears away like crazy.

Think of those lessons you learned in scouts about how to start a fire by rubbing sticks together. You can rub sticks together all day and not start a fire if you don’t press hard enough and move the sticks fast enough. So reving the engine too much during the engage process or popping the clutch too quickly, or partially pressing on the the clutch pedal during normal driving, that’s what you want to avoid.

There’s a technique called “double clutching” which can help too. But it is sort of hard to learn, and I doubt this is the main problem for you.

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How high do you rev the engine when you take off in first gear? (you always use first gear to start, right?) Try to minimize the amount of slipping when engaging the clutch, no prolonged engagements, the car up to 15 MPH before the clutch is fully released…

One more thing that was not specifically mentioned. Don’t use the clutch to slow the car. That means when you are slowing the car, don’t shift to a lower gear and then let out the clutch without rev matching the engine speed with the accelerator to what the engine speed will be after you let the clutch out.

Some questions for you if you might want to clarify “burned out”. Was the clutch friction disk lining entirely used up? Did the master or slave cylinder fail? Was there an oil leak from either the transmission input shaft seal or engine rear main bearing seal that wet the clutch to make it slip? Did the throwout bearing fail? What does “burned out” clutch mean?

Guys, I would suggest that Chevrolet basically has a f . . . d up clutch design. I’ve been driving stick for decades and I’ve never worn out a clutch in 15K. If i somehow managed to do that, I would know the problem isn’t me.
Ask all those Mini drivers that also go through clutches very rapidly. Some experienced stick drivers buy Minis and are shocked how quickly the clutch is gone.

Barkydog. You said “the less time a clutch is depressed while accelerating, the longer the clutch will last”. If the clutch is depressed, you cannot accelerate, can you??

The car my son and daughter learned to drive on was turned over to my son at 130k miles. He traded it in at 280 k with the original clutch that felt fine when last I drove it. Clutches are one of the items that are so driver dependent, it is difficult to generalize unless some one who knows is watching and riding with you. We can suggest a gazillion ticks but if the execution isn’t there, none will work. Maybe an auto is in your future.

My 98 Pathfinder had a problem with Throw-out Bearings. I had to replace the clutch at 40k miles. The clutch was fine…but the throw-out bearing was shot. This is one of those jobs I don’t have the time or equipment to do in my garage. The mechanic I took it to had done a few of these, and he said that they all had the same problem (premature throw-out bearing failure). He replaced clutch/pressure-plate and throw-out bearing with a good aftermarket company. This time it lasted about 100k miles before I needed a new clutch (which is normal for a truck that I was towing with).

So it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cruze had a design or manufacturing problem with the clutch. There might be a after market clutch that might address this.

I think Barky misstated. He referred to using the brakes with the stick in neutral while decelerating, and then stated that “the less time the clutch is depressed while accelerating the longer the clutch will last”. I suspect he meant to say that not using the clutch to decelerate, and not holding the pedal in while decelerating, will result in longer clutch life.

I’m inclined to agree because holding the pedal in puts unnecessary wear on the throwout bearing, which is often loosely considered a part of the “clutch assembly” because it generally gets change when a clutch assembly is replaced.

But I’m admittedly using the phrasology loosely. And unless the clutch pedal is held in at stoplights, that amount of added TB wear isn;t usually considered significant.

Perhaps Barky could elaborate???

I know I’m guilty of bad habits, downshifting to decelerate, hill-holding, etc., but I’ve gotten >200k out of clutches in four cars. My tips would be:

  1. Drive a lot of highway miles,
  2. Drive gently,
  3. Move to a flat state.

I have a similar issue, clutch worn out after 30K. I’ve driven a stick my whole life, only one car had a clutch wear out and it was probably 7-8 years old. The dealer won’t honor the warranty as they said it’s a wear and tear item. I’m so upset about this, I’ve only had this car two years and this is the 4th time I’ve had it in the shop. Will never buy a chevy again.

Go figure. My Cruze just rolled over to 66,000, and I haven’t had to touch it, except for a cracked windshield.

I have a 2012 Chevy Cruze and have almost 91K miles. My cutch is slowly starting to slip. When I go to replacing it should I put another Factory Clutch in or go aftermarket?

Up to you. Aftermarket clutches only make sense if you want them to be stronger than stock. This often means they’re more grabby than stock, which is nice for, uh… Spirited driving but kind of a pain around town.

Given that you got 90k out of your clutch, it seems you know how to properly take care of a clutch, so unless you’re planning on modifying your engine for more power, or planning to get involved in some form of racing, I wouldn’t see a particular need to go away from OEM.

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I do… cost. There are good quality aftermarket clutch systems you can buy that’ll be as good or better then OEM. I’ve never bought an OEM clutch, and the aftermarket clutch never let me down.