The clutch on a semi truck will last on average 250,000 miles.
We will show you some facts about these tough cookies, from what type’s there are to the best ones on the market.
We take a look at why they wear out and how to prolong the life of your clutch. How much one costs to replace and how they work.
Here’s a quick answer to How Long do Semi Truck Clutches Last:
A semi truck clutch can last over 1,000,000 miles with the proper use and care. The life of the clutch can be significantly reduced with improper use like not engaging and disengaging it correctly. As a result, some semi truck clutches only last up to 250,000 miles.
Table of Contents
What are Clutches and do All Semi Trucks Have them?
A clutch is a mechanical device. It separates the engine from the gearbox, allowing the driver of the truck to change gears. Not all semi trucks have a clutch.
A fully automatic semi truck does not have a clutch. It will use processors and sensors to disengage the engine from the wheels.
The I-shift system used on an automated transmission has a dual-clutch system.
Can a Semi Truck Operate Without a Clutch?
A semi truck that requires a clutch can not usually operate without it.
The clutch is the connection between the transmission and the engine that allows the vehicle to move forwards or backward.
It can, however, be bypassed when driving the vehicle and is not required to change gears. It is not advisable as it causes damage to the clutch and transmission.
But it must be used to move the truck from a standstill and to stop the truck.
How Long do Semi Truck Clutches last?
The clutch on a semi truck is strong, but the truck’s load and the poor use of gears can bring its lifespan down considerably.
On average, they can last from 250,000 miles to over a million.
It depends on the driver’s skills and ability, the load, and terrain. Maintenance plays a role as well and will help lengthen the clutches lifespan.
What is the Average Life Span of a Semi Truck Clutch?
The average lifespan of a clutch can be quite different from truck to truck as there are a few clutch brands out there. Eaton is probably the most popular clutch.
It is well known to do over a million miles if cared for and can vary depending on the load and driver.
How Many Miles can a Semi Truck Clutch Last?
Ideally to the end of the truck’s life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Some last longer than others.
If you take good care of it and drive well, you can expect 250,000 miles to a million.
However, if you neglect to care for the clutch and drive poorly, not clutching properly when changing gear’s the clutch will wear much sooner.
How Long does a Semi Truck Clutch Plate Last?
The plate on the semi truck’s clutch can last longer than the clutch itself. There are a few things to bear in mind, however.
One is that the overall care of a clutch will prolong its lifespan.
The other is the when you do need to replace the clutch, be sure to replace all the other components that belong in the clutch system. It is something many people forget.
When you replace the whole system, you are giving new life to that clutch. When you just replace the clutch itself, you provide a more robust component to other more worn-out parts.
It won’t be long before the new stronger clutch causes issues for the weaker components. Generally, it can last 250,000 miles.
How Long does a Clutch Last once it Starts Slipping?
A slipping clutch is a common wear issue on any vehicle that has high mileage.
The signs will be either a burning smell or when the engine revs higher than usual when engaging the clutch.
Another sign would be when you feel the clutch disengage faster than it usually would.
This happens due to the lack of friction on the plate. The clutch can still go for another few hundred or even a thousand miles,
depending on how it is driven and the terrain.
How do Semi Truck Clutches Wear Out?
The clutch wears out through typical use.
It is used to pull heavy loads across some rough and some hilly terrain.
Poor driving can also wear out the clutch.
Things like releasing the clutch too early when changing gear will cause excessive pressure and make a crunching noise.
The noise you hear is the gear trying to be engaged when the flywheel has started spinning.
It can cause the clutch to overheat and eventually cause you issues.
How do I know if my Semi Clutch is Bad?
Apart from the slipping clutch we mentioned above, there are a few other signs to look for when checking the behavior of your clutch.
A sticky clutch does not want to disengage when you release it.
If this problem occurs, you had better get to a workshop as soon as possible as it could leave you on the side of the road when you least expect it.
Another problem is a hard clutch.
A clutch should have a slight stiffness to it. But not much it also shouldn’t be too loose. You will know what a clutch should feel like from your training or any previous trucks you have experienced.
If you do have a stiff clutch, have it looked at by a mechanic.
Any unusual noises the transmission makes can also be a sign of a bad clutch. It would require some investigation, as it could be as simple as lubricating it.
Semi Truck Clutch Replacement
The replacement of a semi truck is a big task and requires some knowledge and skill.
Remove the gear shifter and drain the clutch fluid by removing the drain plug.
Remove the driveshafts to the transmission and the transmission itself. You may or may not have to jack the truck up. It will depend on the space you need to work.
Remove the flywheel, plate, and clutch.
Then replace the new clutch and plate, place everything back as it was, add new fluid then test the clutch.
What Components of a Semi Truck Clutch need Replacement?
The components that would need replacing would be the ones that are normally worn.
It would be good practice to change the plate when you change the clutch itself.
The reason is to lengthen the lifespan of the whole clutch system and not just the clutch.
By replacing only the clutch and not the plate you are putting new parts with the older used ones.
The plate may not hold up as well as it could next to a new part, better to replace it altogether.
How Much does it Cost to Replace a Semi Truck Clutch?
The cost to replace a semi truck clutch will vary from workshop to workshop.
It will also depend on the hourly rate of the shop and how long the job will take.
The parts that need replacing will also affect the cost. The hours of labor depend on what the truck is, how old it is, and the mechanic’s skill.
The average cost is around $2,500 to $3,000.
How Long does it take to Replace a Clutch in a Semi Truck?
Replacing a semi truck clutch is as time-consuming as it sounds.
Provided everything goes smoothly, it can take 4 to 6 hours.
In cases where there may be issues removing or getting parts, it can take 10 hours to even a day.
It will depend on what needs doing and how readily available the parts are to get.
How can you Prolong the Life of your Semi Truck Clutch?
To prolong the life of your semi trucks clutch, practice good driving at all times and try to avoid float shifting your gears, which means not using the clutch when changing gears.
Lifting the clutch smoothly and not riding it for unnecessary lengths of time will help prolong the life.
Keep the clutch fluid level to the maximum and keep it adjusted where you can.
It may require mechanical assistants. Changing gears on time and watching your overall weight will help reduce wear on the clutch.
Best Clutch for Semi Truck
There are many good clutch brands out there.
The Volvo VNL i-shift dual automated clutch is the best on the market, specific to the Volvo brand. It is an intelligent safety feature that allows the driver to focus more on the road.
The clutch is more durable than any other clutch.
It has a decreased torsional vibration that makes it quieter and gives a smoother ride. It has an enhanced countershaft brake for quicker shifting.
It also has a hardened range housing to attach heavier pumps to be hung off of the back of the transmission for more applications.
If you’re looking for a more traditional clutch, there is a toss-up between the Eaton and the Lipe. The Eaton is well known for its easy pedal.
The Lipe is not as durable but more readily available at workshops. It is a good clutch but lacks durability when slipping the gears in without depressing the clutch.
For a traditional clutch, you could either go with Eaton or Lipe, I guess it is a case of preference.