Clutch Life Expectancy


I’m relatively new to driving a standard transmission and am just now starting to really get the hang of it after driving my car for roughly two months. I’d say my clutch has about 53,000 miles of wear on it. How much longer can I expect it to last? I’ve heard that at least 100k is what should be expected from a clutch, but me being new to the car for a while probably wore it at an accelerated normal rate. Thoughts and comments? 1987 Honda Accord. Thanks.


It varies tremendaously based on driving style, individual vehicle characteristics, and driving environment. If you lived in the city you’d probably be about due. If it’s all highway driving in the midwest it could last the life of the car.

The clutch on my 1989 Toyota pickup lasted 295,000 miles (yup, that’s 295K, not a typo), even with my having trained both of my kids on it. The clutch in my '72 Vega self destructed in less than 50,000 miles, mainly because the tranny disassembled itself from the bellhousing due to improper assembly at the factory. Everything on that car was junk.


I live on a college campus actually. Most of my driving is on the freeway - driving to and from home and trips that me and my girl-friend take every now and then. I’m not a very aggressive driver and i’m careful to not ride the clutch or slip it excessively. I also know how to downshift properly. Chances are by the time the clutch calls it quits I will be looking at a different vehicle anyway.


Thanks for the follow up. The clutch will probably outlive your ownership of the car.

Good luck in college.


Jeff, it depends where you live. A few posts ago we talked about long lived cars, and I mentioned a Toyota Celica in Nevada which had gone 1.2 million miles and had the clutch replaced once. As luck would have it, my brother owns a 1987 Honda Accord, bought new with about 250,000 miles on it. He has replaced the clutch once. He lives in a city of 300,000 and likes shifting gears. A lot depends on your skills. If you ride the clutch to hold the car on an uphill grade, your clutch life will be very short. Find a good driver who owns a sports car and take some hints. I learned to drive in the army in 5 ton trucks that required double-clutching. No fun at all.


No way to tell. Some people go through a clutch in less than 50K miles. Others get 200K miles, or more, from a clutch. It all depends on how and where you drive.


Learn how to drive a stick. Never sit at a light with the clutch pedal depressed. It heats up the throwout bearing and slings lubricant out, causing the bearing to fail prematurely. The clutch pedal should never be depressed unless you are changing gears. Keep your foot off of the clutch unless you are actually using it, never ride the pedal. Mentally, think of going from clutch in to clutch out as smoothly as possible, yet as quickly as possible. I taught my daughters to think of standing on a teeter-totter and balancing the weight of the car against the power of the engine. Make that transition quickly because the longer the clutch slips, like brake linings, the more it wears and the hotter it gets which also accelerates wear and can cause cracks in the pressure plate or flywheel. Practice, practice, practice.


Yeah I always sit with the car in neutral, foot off the clutch at a stoplight, unless I can anticipate a very short light or brief stop in which case I want to be ready to move. I had to explain this concept to my roommate when I was driving his 2000 Accord : )

As far as making the clutch transition quickly, I just about have this part mastered but Ive found that engaging 2nd gear in particular takes a little bit more clutch action to avoid that dreaded “jolt” when trying to accelerate, especially pronounced in an older car like mine. I think it’s cool how a 20 yr old car is still “fun” to drive though. Thanks for your input.


I have an 89 Accord with 440,000 miles on it . . . original clutch. I’m the only driver . . . I’m careful when I drive and know how to drive a manual transmission . . . my driving is mostly rural. Good luck! Rocketman


How’s it run ?


Great! Very reliable and comfortable, it’s the “soccer car” now, filled with kids junk and stuff, soccer games and trips to the mall. It still gets 30 mpg, still starts every time, still runs great in the snow, uses (drips) about 1/4 of a quart of oil between changes, which I change every 3000 miles. I’m looking for another Accord of the same vintage to drive after this one quits. Good luck with your 87. Rocketman


Yeah it wasn’t until I believe '88 that Honda was able to perfect an otherwise perfect machine with fuel injection. Probably runs better than my 87 with 177k. I’ve heard that Hondas will last forever as long as basic maintenance is kept up. Thanks for your feedback.


It really depends on driver style and the clutch design itself a bit. I only got 100k out of my Civic clutch and was in need of replacement at 225k miles when I dumped it. My wife’s Civic original clutch was fine but worn at 190k miles when sold.

Don’t fret over it especially on such an old car.


Start looking for someone that knows carburetors before you need them. They are getting harder to find all the time. Fortunately, I have worked with more than one car with a bad choke pull-off or sticking carb linkage. We had a plethora of oil leaks on the ?88 Accord. The distributor seals were a pain, The car did not have high mileage either. It was just after 120K when the transmission totaled it right after extensive carb issues. Considering the auto transmission problems we had starting two years ago, you are lucky to have the manual.


My '89 is a DX and has a carb . . . which caused problems at about 300,000 miles, I replaced it for (I think) $250, runs great. At 170,000 and 20 years old I’d go over the suspension if I were you. Not expensive, but a safety item. Change the fluids regularly (Oil/filter . . . manual tranny . . . brake fluid . . .) fix things as they wear out (brakes . . . CV’s . . . exhaust) and drive carefully, and it will run a very long time. Rocketman