Does driving with your foot always resting on the clutch (not pushing) generally wear it down?

  • is it an even worse thing to do with diesels?
    – clint mede
    Mar 10 '16 at 21:15

It absolutely does. It's called riding the clutch. Even though you "believe" you just have your foot there, it forces the pedal down and takes up the slack which is there. This causes the throw out bearing to ride against the clutch fingers, which presses so ever slightly and causes the clutch to not have as much grip. This causes the clutch friction disk to slip which causes heat and ultimately wear. I've found in these situations, the clutch doesn't necessarily wear out, but the extra heat caused by the slippage causes heat cracks in the face of the flywheel. This causes the driver no length of pain in driving and it is a chore. In the process, the throw out bearing wears out very quickly as well.

Resting your foot on the pedal is a very bad practice.

  • 1
    I've heard one rationale for riding the clutch is that the driver can stop quicker, since they don't have to move their left foot to the clutch in an emergency stop. The only big hole in this logic is that they still have to move their right foot to the brake pedal and can't do that any more quickly than they could move their left foot to the clutch pedal.
    – BillDOe
    Sep 4 '15 at 5:36
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    @BillOer: I doubt this argument. The brakes are designed so strong, that they can easily lock your wheels, even if you push your gas pedal to the bottom in the first gear while breaking. You'll step on the brake like a reflex, and push the clutch after. If you don't, the motor just stalls when your car comes to rest. (however, not pressing the clutch gives some extra braking moment from the motor down to ~1000rpm)
    – sweber
    Sep 4 '15 at 8:21
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    @BillOer you top faster with the clutch engaged and the car in gear as you get engine braking. If you press the clutch in as soon as you try top stop, you will take longer to stop. You only need press the clutch as you're almost stationary to prevent a stall. Sep 4 '15 at 9:36
  • The clutch helping slow down only works if the brakes are not applied strongly enough already to lock the wheels. If the brakes on their own are locked, then the clutch makes no difference except to stall the engine. Adding ABS to the equation, engine braking may actually hurt if it provides enough resistance to prevent the tires from re-engaging with the road.
    – AaronD
    Oct 22 '15 at 19:51
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    @phyrrus9 Haha nothing is worse than tearing all that apart to replace the bearing you wore out, then tearing it all apart again a couple months later because you cracked the flywheel! Aug 18 '16 at 13:42

I do not see how you can rest your foot on the pedal without exerting any force at all on that pedal. What is the point? You might as well use the pedal properly and ONLY apply force to it when required. Resting your foot on the clutch pedal WILL adversely affect the operation of the clutch release bearing (throw-out bearing as our American cousins call it) by generating friction and subsequently heat, which will absolutely wear out those components prematurely.In extreme cases, the friction plate will slip causing heat, loss of drive (clutch slip) and again, premature failure. Leave the pedal alone unless you are changing gear, simple!


For one thing, letting off the gas and, not pressing the clutch should help slow the car better, then hitting the brakes alone with the car in let's call it neutral. because the transmission will help slow the vehicle with the deceleration of the engine. As for "riding the clutch" keep your foot off of it yes it will wear out the moving parts in your transmission. also don't panic in a situation where you lock up the wheels.

  • Please could you add some punctuation to the above answer, it's very hard to read without it...
    – Nick C
    Jan 25 '16 at 10:29
  • Taking the original post as is, his foot on the pedal but not actually depressing it at all will not wear anything except for possibly the rubber pedal cover. Also, if the transmission is in neutral he will get no compression braking from the engine, and in neutral no help from the transmission either. Is driving that way a good idea, I would suggest it's not because in time you will probably start to press the pedal and not realize it and then you will be wearing out clutch and transmission parts.
    – cdunn
    Jan 25 '16 at 13:40
  • I highly doubt that he would be hovering his foot above the pedal. The resting foot will inevitably depress it very slightly. Jan 26 '16 at 7:28

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