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Ethical clutch mistake

I Have been a listener for years and although my first guess is often different from your answer, I always agree with your answer after hearing the logic. Today you had a case with a VW clutch that a friend may have ruined when she “borrowed” the car. I think that for the first time since I have been listening to your show, your answer was a mistake. The one hundred dollar part of your answer was okay, but I think you missed a very important clue. Remember she said that her friend said that the car would not go into first gear, so she somehow managed to jam it into second gear and then limped it to the church. That is NOT a worn out clutch, that is a hydraulic issue with the slave or master cylinder or hose. A worn clutch would easily go into first gear, but when you let it out, it would just slip. Whereas a hydraulic issue would not allow you to easily put it into gear, but once you manage to get it into gear, it will go without slipping whether you want it to or not. In that case if you are trying to get home, you can turn off the motor, put it into gear, and then start the motor in gear and the car will go and then you have to be good at shifting to use the other gears.
Of course she quoted the price of a complete clutch replacement, but I suspect that all she really needed was the hydraulic problem fixed. On the other hand with that many miles, it probably didn’t hurt to replace the clutch disc and pressure plate anyway.

I’m not a mechanic, just a clutch driver. Maybe it’s different on VW’s and Honda’s, but I have never replaced a clutch …and all of my cars have had well over 250,000 miles on them. I think the person to took the car without permission, then jammed it into 2nd to drive up a hill, is responsible for the clutch unless the owner was already starting to have problems with it. The fact that she offered to pay for it is great…so why now split the cost.

As Click & Clack pointed out, the clutch in the car was nearing the end of its life expectancy anyway. The driver who “borrowed” it simply finished it off a few miles earlier than the owner might have. Personally I don’t think the borrower owes even as much as $100. What percentage of the total miles on the car did she drive?

I concur w/@MGMCAnick, that VW clutch was on it’s last legs just like Click and Clack said, and the person who drove the car really shouldn’t be asked to contribute anything more than maybe a little moral support and inviting the car owner over for dinner and vdos or a BBQ and beer fest in the backyard as a way of mending any potential friction among friends. It was most likely just a coincidence it happened when it did. And if it wasn’t, the clutch was going to go out sometime, and probably 400 miles from home, where the owner would be at the mercy of a mechanic who knew there was no potential of repeat business.