When would be a good time to replace clutch on a manual transmission car

I have about 116,000 miles on my 2006 Camry. So far the clutch still is working. During the winter, I get some squeaking which may perhaps return in winter 2019. Should I consider changing the clutch now? It will eventually wear out so instead of waiting until it burns out and I get stranded on the road, I’m thinking doing it now should be cheaper and easier. Camry parts does seems to last longer than other brands of cars though. And what does changing the clutch due to eventual wear/tear entail? Can you just change the clutch disc to keep the cost down? I asked two shops in Maryland, and it seems to run from about $1,300 to 1,700. Of course if the clutch wears out and I get stranded, I have to add towing cost, and I’m not going to have the convenience of shopping around.

The clutch will give a warning before it’ll leave you stranded.

The last Camry I had the clutch lasted a little over 200,000 miles before it started slipping.


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best time to replace it? Right before it fails.

Tester gives solid advice. A friend of mine has well of 200,000 miles on his Saturn clutch.

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Put it in the top gear at 30mph and floor it. If the RPM shoots up but the vehicle doesn’t accelerate, the clutch is slipping. That’s when it’s time to replace it.

If you don’t hot-dog it, and use proper clutch technique, the clutch should last you a long time. I replaced the clutch in my MR2 when I got it at 50,000 miles because the previous owner didn’t know how to drive. It’s now got almost 200,000 miles on it, and the clutch is still fine.

Clutches usually, but don’t always, give warning before failing, and running it to failure may scratch up your flywheel , adding to replacement cost.

My nephew’s 2006 Camry clutch failed at about 105k miles while he was on a trip to LA. He was at the mercy of whatever shop he could get it towed to and he paid a husky price.

That clutch is now failing again at 198k miles. It is giving plenty of warning this time. It won’t climb a hill in 5th gear.

As I recall, this clutch replacement is 11 hours in the flat rate book. Not cheap, but probably not something that you want to tackle in your garage either.

Yes a clutch will give you plenty of warning and is highly unlikely to leave you stranded. The 93 Toyota pickup I bought new still has the original clutch at 300,000 miles.

The right time is when it starts acting funny. You’ll know. It’s very unlikely to break so profoundly and so quickly that you are stranded.

My daughter has a 1998 Toyota Tacoma with the original clutch at 205,000. It’s getting a little slippy at this point and she’s planning for the replacement.

Even if the clutch totally fails, the vehicle can still be driven without the clutch function.

You just gotta know how.



First of all, just because you don’t know what the symptoms are, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t providing warnings. Also, why attempt a long road trip before performing minor checks? Does our have enough fluid, does the brake pedal hold pressure, is the clutch slipping…

I’ve got over 200K on my Corolla, original clutch. If you drive the car gently, a pro-active clutch replacement is not something I would recommend. If you drive the car pretty aggressively, reving the engine quite a bit while letting the clutch out, rapid & hard shifting, high speed downshifting without double clutching, then it might make sense at 116K.

You can (roughly) get a handle on clutch wear by seeing how much free play is in the clutch pedal before you feel it engage and by also how much movement is in the pedal before it engages while releasing the clutch.

A clutch can fail catastrophically but it’s much more rare. There’s the chance of a sudden throwout bearing failure or friction material on the disc shattering.
In most cases you will detect some slippage when the clutch is about to die.

I can’t really help you on when to replace, but I will tell you to start putting away a little money at a time for when it does need to be replaced. It’s amazing how putting away $25, $50, or $100 each paycheck helps when you need to replace things. It’s also amazing how many people don’t do that and call replacing the clutch or tires or brakes “an emergency.”

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That squeaking is probably just the pedal’s linkage, which can be fixed with proper lubrication.

My suggestion is to leave it until it begins to fail, because replacing the clutch disc often opens a can of worms. I had my original clutch replace at about the 210,000 mile mark (if I remember correctly) due to signs of failure, long before it left me stranded. I wish I had waited longer, because the first guy botched the job, and finding what he did wrong meant also replacing the master cylinder and the slave cylinder.

Depending on how you drive, you might be a long way off from clutch failure at your mileage, so you’d be wasting money by replacing it before it breaks.

my 64hp rig started to slip the clutch at about 100k. i used to say i could run faster than it could accelerate. i put in a new disc only. it was my labor.

That’s been the case with my 1984 Chevy Cavalier and my 1999 Honda Civic. A bit of Triflow at the right places in the mechanism takes care of it, every few years. The Cavalier needed a new clutch some time before I traded it in at 207,000 miles. The Honda is on its original clutch at 20 years and 190,000 miles.

Your insurance may very well have some towing coverage, but you might have to pay more to get it to a preferred shop.

Try to find the wholesale shop that does clutches. Some repair shops will take in the job but farm it out.

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Is the squeak when moving the clutch pedal, or while you are holding the clutch in? If the latter, it could be the throw out bearing bearing complaining. As you probably know, don’t hold the pedal in while sitting at a light (or similar). In most, it lasts as long as the friction material.

What is involved. You have a few items in most repairs. The friction material (clutch disk), throw out bearing, pressure plate, flywheel and a pilot bushing. The flywheel is turned to give it a flat surface… sometimes skipped. The clutch disk has friction on both sides, and is squeezed between the pressure plate and flywheel… always replaced. The throwout bearing is the part that presses on the pressure plate’s fingers to disengage (release) pressure… always replace. The pressure plate is occasionally skipped, but finger wear, weakening springs, etc can cause later problems. The pilot bearing is inserted in the crankshaft and provides support to the tranny’s input shaft… always replace. Of course, occasionally, the the clutch cable (connects pedal to throw out bearing linkage) is worn, but is unlikely to be in their estimate.

Check what parts are covered in the estimate. Most of the cost is labor, so you won’t save much by skimping on parts, when the time comes. It almost always gives warning. Stranded motorist are usually those who ignore symptoms.

I’d check your car insurance for towing. My policy charged $1 for towing and roadside assistance.

In most cars today, you have to replace the whole clutch assembly and resurface the flywheel so there isn’t much, if any cost savings for doing it early. Doing it early actually costs more as you are not getting full use of the clutch that is in there now.

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In other words, like many mechanical parts don’t fix what ain’t broke.

The last 2 clutches I replaced…they were very specific about getting the fly-wheel resurfaced. They’d void warranty on clutch parts if you couldn’t prove it wasn’t done. Most good mechanics around here will ALWAYS resurface the flywheel.