Decades ago I was told repeatedly to press the clutch pedal in manual cars for as short a moment as reasonable, since prolonged clutch disengagement leads to excessive wear of the clutch bearing, regardless of make and model. It seemed then that everybody agreed with this.

Now I have a 2016 manual Citroen with rear park assist (ultrasonic measurement with a beeper) which only works when the car is in reverse. Further the car has a sort of hill launch assist (or whatever this is called) which checks whether the car tends to go in the direction of currently selected gear when you release the brake pedal, and holds the car still for about two seconds if it doesn't.

These two features make it necessary to keep the car in reverse even in moments when the old school rule would say to put the car in neutral, for example when reversing downhill into a parking lot (and guess what, my parking lot is in sloped curve and I prefer to reverse into it). I feel that my choice is either to use one of the features my car has and don't actively fight the other at the expense of a potentially expensive wearout of the clutch bearing, or have to adapt a number of aspects of my driving style and preferences to drive the car properly.

My gut feeling is that many issues like urea injectors, particle filters, turbos, catalytic converters or even halogen bulb headlights that required special care some years after they had been introduced, are a solved problem now and drivers don't need to pay special attention to them. I'm wondering whether the same applies to clutch bearings in modern cars.

  • 1
    They still wear out, but it takes a while. I wouldn't worry about it. It should outlast your clutch, and if you're really concerned about the bearing you can get it replaced when the clutch is replaced. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 17:26
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    IMO "excessive use" is sitting with your foot on the clutch pedal for 15 minutes in a traffic jam, not reversing into a parking space or doing a hill start.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 17:28
  • And the big reason for keeping your foot off the pedal is secondarily for the throwout bearing ... it is primarily for the clutch itself. Keeping your foot on the pedal for prolonged periods is called "riding the clutch". It causes the clutch to slip in tiny amounts, which wears it out faster. Keeping your foot off the pedal when it doesn't need to be there is good all the way around. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 18:00
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Though informative, hat is not what I'm asking about. My concern is the bearing, as I feel forced to drive with completely disengaged clutch (depressed clutch pedal) for tens of seconds at a time.
    – Pavel
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 19:06
  • I get it wasn't part of your question, which is why its a comment. My basic philosophy about the clutch pedal is, if you need to use it, use it. If you don't need it, take your foot off. Tens of seconds use isn't a big deal. As has been stated, keeping your foot on it for minutes at a time is a much worse scenario and causes a lot more wear. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 21:25


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