I drive a 2004 VW Passat B5.5 that I bought used with quite a high mileage so it has therefore had a relatively large amount of usage (at 118k miles). I am curious to know how to tell if the clutch is going bad in older cars because I cannot guarantee that the clutch, a part which would be subject to heavy wear if a previous owner did not know the consequences of riding the clutch, would always have been treated as I try to treat it myself (not riding it).

What are the common signs to look out for to be able to identify a worn out clutch?

Will it go suddenly or is it gradually going to get worse?

I realise this one is probably subjective, but roughly how long might you expect one to last?

  • I'm pretty sure this is a duplicate ... I'll see if I can find it. Jan 28, 2016 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


When you are traveling 20-30 mph, shift into high gear (6th IIRC) and push the gas 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down. If you see the RPM rise with no immediate increase in speed, the clutch is worn to the point that it is slipping. The amount of time between slight slippage and total failure is usually not very long.

For a higher power car, you can expect to replace the clutch between 90-120K miles, my old civic on the other hand still had the original clutch at 180K and was running fine. Searching VW/Passat forums would turn up a more precise answer.

  • 1
    Can also be done in a standstill, using the handbrake. If you can fully release the clutch without stalling - clutch is badly worn and needs replacement. Also, only identifies an evenly worn clutch, but not other problems. Jan 29, 2016 at 7:55

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