Need advice about my clutch



I have a five year old Subaru with 85,000 miles on it. Because most of these are highway miles, I’m still on the original clutch. When I had it in the shop recently, the manager was telling me that they have no way of knowing how long the clutch will hold up. In the past, the mechanic could tell how much life there was in the clutch when they adjusted it. But now with self adjusting clutches, they’re telling me that they have no way of gauging how many miles I might have left on it.

I’m concerned because we have some long car trips on tap for this summer (family wedding, vacation) which would be the least opportune time for the clutch to finally give up the ghost. With this many miles on the original, should I just replace it preemptively? Is there any way to tell how many miles I might have left?



Mahwah, NJ


Your clutch should be good for quite a while, at least for over 100,000 miles. As a precaution, I replaced clutches on my last two cars at around 125,000 and at 140,000 miles. My driving was a mix of urban, suburban and freeway; about 1/3 each. Both clutches had plenty of wear remaining. As you state most of your driving is highway, your clutch should be fine for a good while to come. If there is a way to inspect the mechanism or hydraulic and slave cylinders for remaining adjustment, I don’t know about that.


I wouldn’t. The original clutch on my Toyota pickup lasted 295,000 miles. You may have another 100,000 miles left. Maybe more. There’s really no way of telling.

While you may have some trips planned, realize that these are only a some small number of thousands of miles, not a lot in clutch miles…especially if most of it is highway. When the clutch does start to slip, it’ll start slipping occasionally under specific conditions and you’ll be able to “drive around” those conditions until you can get it changed. It won’t suddenly leave you stranded.

  • Mountainbike


Mountainbikes advise is good… It won’t suddenly fail and leave you stranded. At some point when you shift into high gear, the clutch may slip a second or two before it “hooks up”. After it hooks up, it will hold until you must shift again. You will notice it first in top gear. By careful driving, you could complete your journey without a highway breakdown.


What’s the problem? Replace your clutch. Do it soon.

Everyone else has given you good advice. You can’t estimate the amount of clutch left. It will probably last you a long time. You will have notice if it starts to go. All true.

But you are worried. You will continue to worry throughout the summer and worry even more on all long trips thereafter. So why wait? Replace the clutch now and have another five worry-free years with your Subie.


Anonymous wrote:

I replaced clutches on my last two cars at around
125,000 and at 140,000 miles. My driving was a mix
of urban, suburban and freeway; about 1/3 each.
Both clutches had plenty of wear remaining.

The amount of wear material on a clutch disc is not necessarily related to how much life is left in a clutch.
Weak springs in the pressure plate, which can’t be seen by visual inspection, are just as bad.

Joe Mario (the board won’t let me login today)


This is exactly how it went with my wife’s Subaru. The clutch started slipping whenever I tried to use more than 3/4 throttle in high gear. Downshift, or ease off the throttle and no problem. This started when I was 400 or so miles from home and I had no trouble driving it for another week and getting home, etc.

Honestly, I’ve never had a clutch last less than 100,000 miles except on a car I used for towing a trailer. At 80,000 miles I would not even be thinking about the clutch.

By the way, with self-adjusting clutches the engagement point starts getting higher when it is close to being worn out. I have an Isuzu truck where this is happening now, but no slipping yet, and it has 125,000 on it.


Or, wait another 5 to 10 years and then replace your clutch. Then, you won’t have to worry about it for another 10 to 15 years.

We have three manual transmission cars. They are a 1998 Subaru with 171k miles, 1984 Mazda RX-7 with 185k miles and a 1968 Chevy Corvair with 80k miles. Each of them is still on the original clutch.


I have never had to change a clutch on my own cars after I quit abusing them.


You can tell with self adjusting clutches. If its a cable operated type, then you have to look at the self adjusting mechanism which has a pawl and gear. You can tell by where the pawl engages the gear.

If its hydraulic, you can tell by the level of hydraulic fluid in the master cylinder. It rises as the clutch wears down. A dealer should be able to tell you when the level is too high.