Third clutch in 3 months

Had my clutch on my 2001 Subaru Legacy wagon replaced in October. 139,000 miles on the car-last previous clutch at 54,000. In December, the clutch goes out again requiring a tow. We are told a mouse nest has caused the problem and that he’s never seen a clutch dust boot damaged before(from overheating). So we have the local guy replace the clutch again but the Subaru dealer gives him the parts for free so it’s only $400 this time instead of the $900 in October. They say they won’t warranty this repair due to the circumstances. But they haven’t gotten the dust boot yet so we’ll have to come back for that. Meanwhile, my 17 year old son who has been driving since November, has a minor accident so when I go to get the dust boot on, 5 weeks and 1600 miles after the second clutch, I also need 2 wheel rims. I call to check on the accident damage and am told my clutch is burned out again! By this point we’re wondering how far to go with a car that has 143,00 miles on it so we take it to Subaru for a second opinion. He tells us the burnt clutch from a mouse nest story is bogus and he doesn’t understand why the local guy didn’t warranty the second clutch. So the Subaru guy plans to talk to the local guy on Monday and look at the car himself. Questions: Is the mouse nest story bogus? Should the original mechanic have given us a warranty? Could my son, who seems like a good driver when we’re in the car, have burnt out 2 clutches in such a short time? How much money should we spend on a 2001 Subaru with 143,000 miles? I usually keep my cars until they won’t go at all.

“Could my son, who seems like a good driver when we’re in the car, have burnt out 2 clutches in such a short time?”

Yes. Clutch life depends a lot on who’s driving. If I was a professional mechanic, there’s no way I would give a warrenty on a clutch, especially to someone who has a history of burning them up.

I agree. A bad driver can burn up a clutch in months. Specially in city driving.

I agree with the Subaru dealer that the mouse nest sounds far-fetched, and I don’t uunderstand why the mechanic would not warranty his labor for this job, given that he got Subaru OEM parts to do the job with. Maybe this is a situation to trust your car to the Subaru dealer and not the local guy. I would also have a talk with my son and let him know that the problems started when he started driving the car. My kids didn’t drive a manual trans car for two years after they got their license; I started them on auto and then trained them on manual later. I don’t think I gave them a chance to “get scratch” or do any of those other teenaged ideas that damage cars. I can also tell you that I always respected cars, but several of my friends didn’t. One friend ruined two clutches in about six months, on a pristine 49 Ford owned by his parents.

I think clutches are considered “wear items” like tires and brakes. Now if the throwout bearing failed, that might be a legitamate warrenty issue.

People can be “good drivers” i.e. not speed etc., and still be hard on clutches. On the other hand, clutches can last a long long time when driven by an agressive jerk who knows what does and does not abuse a clutch.