My husband and I differ on how to shift our manual transmission car. We have had to replace the clutches on both our Toyota Celica and Mazda 3. When coming to a complete stop, I downshift until I am in first gear. My husband takes the car out of gear (from third or fourth gear)and comes to a stop. Is it better to downshift or just take it out of gear?

Better to just take it out of gear if you are coming to a stop anyway. The extra downshifting is unnecessary wear on the clutch. Let your brakes take care of slowing you down.

“The extra downshifting is unnecessary wear on the clutch.”

Not to mention the transmission. Click & Clack discussed this on their show a few weeks ago.
Brakes are a lot cheaper to replace than clutches and transmissions.

I bet it’s not the downshifting. Most clutch wear occurs when accelerating. Slipping the clutch as you change gears will wear it quicker than getting into gear, then giving it the gas.

Yup, and most synchronizer wear comes from unnecessary down shifting.

I am with the husband on this one, no need to be downshifting just too come to a stop, but I do not think it caused the early demise of your clutche(s)either, more so wear and tear on the transmission.

My vote is with the husband. My personal method is to coast down from speed after nudging the shifter into neutral. Once the speed has dropped off considerably I nudge it into 3 or 4 and use the engine braking at that point.

I agree with everyonne else. Taking it out of gear puts less wear on the clutch, the release bearing (throwout bearing), the pressure plate, and the entire drivetrain. Downshifting is more fun, but it doesn’t really accomplish anything positive as far as wear is concerned.

As Texases pointed out, slipping the clutch accelerates wear on the clutch assembly also. You can shift both up and down without unnecessarily doing so, but it’s a learned technique. In 40 years of driving manuals I only wore out one clutch, and that one had 295,000 miles on it.

How many miles are on your current clutch assemblies?

Brakes = $$
Clutch = $$$
Transmission = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Take your choice.

A common reason for clutches to prematurely wear is that drivers leave their foot on the clutch all the time, and they don’t realize that they’re pressing down slightly on the pedal, which makes the clutch slip, and eventually wears it out. The plastic bar to the left of the clutch is the dead pedal. Make sure you’re keeping your foot there when you aren’t actively shifting.

Also, it never hurts to learn how to match revs. A lot less wear and tear on the clutch if you downshift properly.