A lot of drivers are afraid of trying out new techniques in their cars in fear of damaging them. The clutch is a particularly sensitive element of a car. Replacing a clutch can be expensive, so of course no one wants to practice a technique that could cost them hundreds of dollars.
Rev matching does not burn out your clutch. However, rev matching needs to be executed properly in order for it to work! If the technique is not done well, then you could damage or burn your clutch.
Rev matching is actually a technique designed to reduce wear on your clutch during downshifts. In rev matching, you are making the clutch do less work than it usually does. Essentially, the perfect rev match will not cause any wear at all on your clutch.
Will Rev Matching Burn Out My clutch?
Rev matching is actually reducing the wear on your clutch when you downshift. When downshifting without using the rev matching technique, you are relying on your clutch to slow down the entire car and match the engine speed to the wheel speed.
Anytime you use the clutch to move the car (whether increasing or decreasing speed) you are putting extra stress on the clutch assembly. Clutches are not designed to ‘pull’ a car into moving, and this extra stress put into the clutch can cause quick wear and burn out.
Using rev matching by blipping your throttle while the clutch pedal is pressed down is a way of taking this extra work away from the clutch. Through doing so, you are taking that extra stress off the entire clutch assembly and reducing its wear.
Rev matching is mostly used on racetracks, and this is where the skill developed. All modern-day racing drivers are expected to know how to rev match and how to heel and toe. It has gone from an advanced technique to somewhat of a standard requirement.
With automatic gearboxes taking over, and the future of manual transmissions in doubt, the art of rev matching is likely to become much rarer. However, practicing this skill is still a key driving experience.
Practicing Rev Matching
The steps to practicing rev matching may seem simple and easy to follow, however, mastering this technique takes a lot of concentration and practice. But with enough practice, rev matching will become second nature. You will start to develop a feeling for your car, and you will know how to match your engine speed to your road speed.
Remember to practice rev matching on a quiet road with no cars around, or on an empty racetrack. When first practicing rev matching you will need a lot of concentration. You will need to focus on your revs and your road speed more than your surroundings. Therefore, practicing this technique on busy roads can be extremely dangerous.
On the other hand, rev matching by itself also does not require you to use your brakes. Rev matching while braking is an even more advanced technique known as heel and toe. This is why it is recommended to first practice rev matching at low speeds.
While practicing your technique, you may make a few mistakes, the clutch might slip, and the car will leap forward in a jerking motion. This won’t burn out your clutch immediately, and you shouldn’t be too worried about it. Remember to let your clutch rest for a while after a few practice runs.
It is also fine if you do not get the revs 100% right every time. You will get a better feeling of your car and its engine the more you practice it.
Are There Any Benefits To Using Rev Matching On The Road?
Rev matching is not an essential skill for everyday driving. When driving at standard road speeds, you most likely won’t be aggressively downshifting into a corner, and you will also not be looking for the fastest possible exit out of the corner.
This means that there is no real benefit to rev matching in everyday driving on public roads. The only possible use of rev matching in this situation would be to practice your technique. However, it is important to practice this technique under safe circumstances with little to no other cars on the road near you, and no sharp corners coming up ahead.
That being said, rev matching is still a great skill to learn, and could become useful at some point in time. It is also beneficial to your overall car control.
Your clutch will wear out more and more with each use. Clutch wear is caused by excessive heat. When the clutch engages (clutch pedal lifted) friction is created between the clutch disc and the flywheel. The more the driver slips or rides the clutch., the more heat is generated in that unit. This is ultimately what burns outs clutch.
However, throttle blipping, which is the technique used in rev matching, does not cause the clutch to slip, and it also does not cause friction in the clutch unit. However, there are some things that people do everyday that wears out their clutch even more.
Firstly, riding the clutch is a very common one, and even some experienced drivers do this. This is when the clutch pedal isn’t all the way up or pressed down the entire way. This creates a lot of friction and wear on the clutch unit. This mistake is most commonly made in traffic, when people will control their first gear speed using the clutch.
Another mistake that people make is using the clutch to stop their car from rolling backwards on a hill. Many drivers will find the clutch bite point while stopped on a hill and then use that to keep the car from rolling. However, this creates a massive amount of wear on the clutch. Using your brakes, or handbrake is the solution to this, and that is what they are there for.
Another major contributor to clutch wear is incorrect shifting. Some drivers have a quick lapse of concentration and shift before their clutch pedal is fully engaged or let it out without being fully in gear. This can destroy your clutch really quickly.
How Do I Know If My Clutch Is Damaged?
There are a number of different ‘symptoms’ to a damaged clutch. Generally, you clutch should be fine for around 60,000 miles. Of course, that lifespan can be shorter or longer depending on how the driver treats it.
If your clutch is damaged, there will be a number of signals that will indicate that to you. Firstly, the clutch pedal will feel much lighter than usual. A clutch assembly is quite a heavy unit, and therefore it requires quite a bit of force to press down the pedal. A worn-out clutch will feel really light and easy to press down.
If your clutch unit is wearing out, you will notice your clutch slipping more often. This will become especially frequent under heavy strain situations such as going uphill or when towing. When the clutch slips, you will notice that the pedal is fully pushed down, but the clutch does not disengage.
Another symptom of a worn clutch is that you will have some difficulty shifting gears. With a clutch in good condition, gear changes will be smooth and easy. However, if you have to use extra force to put the car into gear, it is possible that your clutch is wearing out.
Some other symptoms include hearing a grinding noise when the clutch pedal is pressed down, the clutch pedal staying on the floor, and being able to smell your clutch burning after some use.
Clutch Replacement Costs
Clutch units can be really expensive to replace. You will be looking at around $600 to $1200 to replace the clutch on a standard sedan car. It becomes even more expensive when it comes to high performance or more specialised engines.
You can of course save some money by replacing the clutch yourself. However, it is a difficult job, and you will need to watch a few different YouTube videos on how to do it. Moreover, the risk of damaging that new clutch by installing it incorrectly is not always worth the trouble.
I hope that this article has put your mind at ease when it comes practicing rev matching. We covered some everyday situations that cause more wear to your clutch than practicing rev matching does. If you are able to rev match correctly, you can actually reduce the wear on your clutch when downshifting.
Rev matching is a useful skill to know, so it is important to practice this skill in controlled situations until you are fully confident in how to execute it. Once you have mastered this skill, learning how to heel and toe will be easier.
We also covered clutch wear, and how to be able to tell if your clutch has worn out. This will quickly help you to identify if your clutch might have any problems and get it replaced before it does more damage to the rest of the car.