Keeping clutch depressed while stopped


For the 2d time in the 7 years my boyfriend has been driving my 1994 Honda Accord (now 170,000 miles), we’re having clutch problems, which I never had on a car previously. When he comes to a stop on a level surface, he keeps the clutch depressed and sometimes rocks the car back and forth waiting for the light to change. When stopped on a hill, he uses the clutch to keep the car in place.

A few years ago we had to replace the master cylinder. Not sure what the problem is this time - but the fluid level was down, and even after filling, the pressure does not seem to be great. It’s going to the mechanic on Tuesday.

He says he does not cause any problem with the clutch system by keeping it depressed when stopped, but I think it may, and it drives me crazy to ride with him, and watch him rock the car on the flats, or hold it on the hills, but I don’t want to press the issue unless I have some evidence his clutching habits may indeed cause difficulties.



Keeping the clutch fully depressed will not cause any wear. However, slipping the clutch to hold the car without using the brakes on hills will cause significant wear, don’t do that.


Yeah, rocking it back and forth while stopped will wear out a clutch plate pretty quickly, as it’s being slipped every time he does that.

Either he’s a racer or he’s bored. In any case, keep him away from your car.


Just cuious, but who is paying for these clutches that your boyfriend is burning up? You or your boyfriend?


They make brakes to hold cars on hills. It’s pretty easy to replace the worn out brake pads. They are a “wear item”. Clutches are way deep inside the machinery of an engine and very costly to replace. Every time you use a clutch you wear it a tiny bit, and if you use it to entertain yourself at stop lights or on hills you will wear it out that much faster.


If someone wants to drive his own car that way, it’s his own business. But I would never let him take the wheel of my car.


Smack him.
Slipping the clutch to hold the car on a hill wears it down very fast.
Rocking at a stoplight is stupid to begin with and yes it also wears the clutch a tiny bit.



Depressing the clutch also wears out the throw out bearing. Use the brakes and leave the car in neutral until you need to move unless you know the light is short and you are first in line. Why use a $2000 clutch to hold you on a hill when you have $25 brake pads that do a better job?


Is HIS car an automatic?


HE probably drives a 1987 Chevette with an automatic and holes in the floor.


Oh good lord. Keep that man away from your car. Keeping the clutch pedal fully depressed at a light is no big deal, but using the clutch as a brake is way bad. Also, what is the point of rocking it at a light unless he just likes wearing out clutches?


Using the clutch to hold the car on the hills by “rocking” it will rapidly eat a clutch up.

Holding the clutch pedal in while sitting at a light will cause premature wear of the release bearing (throwout bearing). The bearing is under far more axial (thrust) load from the pressure plate assembly while one half is spinning and the other half stationary.

Bugging your boyfriend about his driving habits could cause premature failure of the relationship. It’s his car, so unless he’s asking you for money to get the clutch replaced or doing something dangerous (the practices described aren’t really) then he’s right regardless of whether he’s right or wrong. If he’s a good boyfriend, these little eccentricities aren’t really important.


“It’s his car, so unless he’s asking you for money…”

Uh, no, she said it’s her Honda that has a clutch that is now failing: “my boyfriend has been driving my 1994 Honda Accord” – and he’s ruined two of her clutches in 7 years.

My fiance rides the clutch and has ruined one, and still tries to argue that resting his foot on the clutch in slow traffic doesn’t cause any problem as long as he isn’t actively depressing it, but at least when I notice him doing it and remind him, he does make an effort to stop. Especially since I pointed out to him a) when he takes his foot off the pedal, it moves, which means he was depressing it, and b) I haven’t worn out a clutch since high school.

Eventually I hope to have him trained. Hey, he wears seat belts without prompting now!



I’m with all the other commenters on this. Ban him from driving your car and have him pay for the clutch replacement. I hope you don’t have to get the flywheel replaced also.

Interestingly, in England, If you don’t use the handbrake when stopped, you will fail the driving test. During the test, the testor takes you to the steepest hill in the area and has you stop on it and do a restart from a standing stop. Usually very difficult. Must use the handbrake and if you roll backwards even a little bit, you fail the test.

Good luck


well Lisa i must say i agree with each and every response on this board!

sometimes we (collectively) like to fancy ourselves as race car drivers, or other such professionals.

usually this type of macho behavior causes us to “pay” for these imagined behaviors.

you cost for having nascar wanna be in the left seat is a new clutch!! although he may not want to hear it… its true.

good luck. and make sure he drives his own car from now on.