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How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Throw out Bearing?

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Throw out Bearing?

Your throwout bearing in your car is a part of the important clutch assembly that is used to change gears smoothly and effortlessly. The clutch assembly in your car consists of the pressure plate, flywheel, clutch plate, and the throw-out bearing. The clutch pedal lets you shift gears easily by disconnecting the engine from the wheels, while the throwout bearing affects the car’s shifting. 

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What is a Throwout Bearing?


As you know, a clutch plays a key role when it comes to accurately and quickly changing gears when driving a manual transmission car. This clutch contains various parts and components that work in tandem to provide a smooth gear shift – one of these parts includes the throwout bearing. 


  • Throwout Bearing Function



This throwout bearing helps with the clutch performance and longevity. If the throwout bearing were to become damaged over time or fail, the driver will not be able to press down on the clutch to change gears. This means that if the throwout bearing does not work, you will not be able to accelerate properly or keep your engine at a high performing level. 


Since this throwout bearing is only used when you press down on the clutch pedal to shift gears, it is not always easy to tell when there is a problem with the throwout bearing. This can help you to answer the question of “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?” 


  • What is throw-out bearing failure?


Before we can discuss a bad throwout bearing symptoms, you need to know what the throwout bearing is and the failure of the throwout bearing in your car. The throwout bearing is one of your transmissions’ major components, helping you easily and quickly change gears so that you can smoothly and seamlessly change gears. The other components that are vital in the transmission longevity and performance is the flywheel, the pressure plate, and the clutch plate


The throwout bearing works together with the other three parts to help easily engage and disengage the transmission from the engine, with the throwout bearing ultimately controlling the contact between the internal transmission parts. If the contact is not working at the right time, you are going to have to ask yourself “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”

Bad Throwout Bearing Symptoms

Just like any other part in your car, the throwout bearing can deteriorate and break down over time with consistent use. The symptoms of a bad throwout bearing will change depending on the driving situation and performance, even between different vehicle makes and models. However, for most manual cars, the bad throwout bearing symptoms will be identical regardless of the make and model. 


  • Strange Noises


When wondering “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”, it is important to keep an eye and ear out for any strange noises, sounds, and visible damage in the transmission. When you press down on the clutch and you hear a strange noise, this is immediately a sign of a damaged throwout bearing. 


In some instances, the noise coming from under the hood and in your transmission system will be a loud noise that is audibel to the driver and passengers. This noise will sound like a rattling sound or a grinding sound when you press down on the clutch pedal. The sounds will only get louder as you try to push your engine harder, placing more stress on the system, or if you let the problem go on for too long without fixing any of the root causes. 


Even though these noises might be very concerning to the driver and make you question what to do next, it is also important to keep in mind the other parts that these noises could be associated with. These noises might not directly relate to your question of “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing”, but instead relate to problems with the clutch or the transmission itself.


One way to tell that the noise is coming from the bad throwout bearing or the throwout bearing mechanism is that the noise will occur when the clutch pedal is fully pressed to the ground. When you take your foot off of the clutch pedal, the noise will stop. 


  • Clutch Pedal Feels Unusual


The clutch pedal will usually feel the same to the driver when you press it down to change gears. However, if the clutch pedal feels strange, as in it is spongy, stiff, or less smooth when you depress the pedal, this can be a clear sign of a bad throwout bearing.


In this case when you ask yourself “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”, the main question will be if the clutch pedal problem is at an advanced stage or if it is just beginning. If the problem has gone on for an extended period of time without a fix, the clutch will feel stiff or rough when you press it down. As the problem gets even worse, the clutch might become unable to disengage, leading to performance disadvantages and an unsafe driving condition.


  • Vibrating Clutch Pedal


Another problem with the clutch pedal besides the clutch pedal feeling strange is vibrations felt through the pedal. If you are wondering “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?” and you notice the vibrating clutch, the answer to your question is that a vibrating clutch pedal is a clear indication that your throwout bearing is damaged and is currently failing. 


When this bearing is working as it should, your clutch will move down smoothly and quickly, but if you start noticing the vibrations coming from the pedal into your foot, this is a clear sign that your throwout bearing is damaged and is causing issues with the clutch.


These vibrations will come from the throwout bearing unable to line up with the pressure plate, causing you to ask yourself “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


  • Problems Changing Gears


Since you need the clutch to change gears, if any part of the clutch assembly fails or is not working properly, it will make it very difficult and sometimes impossible to shift gears. This leads to  lack of engine performance and can cause the bad throwout bearing to only get worse over time. 


If you notice any problems with changing ears, like unsmooth shifting, delayed shifting, or problems with reaching a certain gear, this can be a clear indication that you have a problem with the throwout bearing that can negatively affect your transmission. 


A clutch pedal that is unable to engage and disengage due to a damaged throwout bearing failure can also cause issues with shifting gears, making you ask yourself “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


  • Clutch Failure


If you let all of the above symptoms go on for too long without doing any fixes or repairs in the clutch system and the transmission, then you will eventually experience a total clutch failure. The total clutch failure is nearly impossible to miss or ignore, since the result is you will not be able to power or drive your vehicle at all.


Total clutch failure is a very expensive repair and replacement in your vehicle, up in the ranks with engine failure and transmission issues. This problem will result in a time consuming and expensive replacement that can have you questioning “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


Since the clutch system relies on the other three components to work correctly, like the flywheel, pressure plate, and clutch plate. If any of these symptoms are damaged, your clutch will not be usable, rendering the throwout bearing unusable. Hence, this can have you asking a mechanic the question of “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”

Preventing Bearing Throwout


Although the throwout bearing becomes damaged in some situations is out of your control and cannot be prevented, in some cases, this issue can be remedied and prevented by adhering to the following guidelines.


  • Inspect the clutch assembly


One of the ways to prevent a failure of the throwout bearing or prevent a damaged throwout bearing is to inspect and analyze the clutch assembly and the transmission system. By inspecting the transmission and bringing your car to a mechanic, it will be easy to see the throwout bearing’s failure. In the early stages, you can catch this problem and fix it before it gets worse, but in later stages, it can result in a completely failed clutch assembly.


Following  a regular maintenance routine can prevent this from happening and prevent you from asking “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


  • Reduce Clutch Depress Time


Ensuring you do not overuse your clutch and put excess stress and wear on the clutch pedal can extend the longevity of the throwout bearing and the clutch pedal. Minimize the time you have the clutch pedal depressed, since the longer it is pushed down, the more of a likelihood the throwout bearing will be damaged. 


One example of reducing the clutch depressing time is to keep your clutch not depressed while stopped at  a red light, stopped in traffic, or stopped at a “stop” sign. If you continue to press down the clutch and you notice bad throwout bearing signs, you will ask yourself, “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


  • Alter Your Driving Habits



Although manual transmission cars are not as popular as they were years ago and they are frequently used overseas in Europe, they are still prevalent in the United States for many drivers who like the engaged feel and control of the car. However, since they are rarer, it is understandable that car owners might have problems with diagnosing and fixing their manual driving habits.


Changing these bad driving habits can prevent you from asking the question of “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?” Changing these habits helps your throwout bearing last longer and keeps the clutch components from deteriorating quicker than they should. 

Throwout Bearing Replacement Cost


Since this part is pretty simple and easy to replace, a throwout bearing is relatively cheap when compared to other more expensive parts in your car. The problem is the labor to access this part and change out the throwout bearing can increase the total cost of what you have to pay for this procedure. While the mechanic is replacing the throwout bearing, it is usually recommended the mechanic checks, and sometimes replaces, the clutch and the flywheel.


The throwout bearing replacement will cost you between $30 and $100 for the part, with the price of a new clutch ranging between $300 adn $800, and the price to add a new flywheel between $50 and $200. As you can see, the most expensive part to replace in this trifecta is the clutch. You might have to replace all three of these components when you are wondering “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”


The labor costs of the throwout bearing replacement is where you will spend the most money, since the procedure will take over the normal time of 1-2 hours for repairs and replacements. Your mechanic or auto body shop where you bring your vehicle will take between 4-6 hours, with the average labor cost for most shops ranging between $80 and $100 per hour for the work. This comes out to between $350-$550 for the total labor costs to replace the throwout bearing. 



Keeping your throwout bearing in good condition and preventing throwout bearing damage keeps your clutch assembly working efficiently and at a high-performing level. The throwout bearing is in charge of the seamless and effortless transition of gears, so it is imperative that when you start to notice any bad throwout bearing symptoms that you ask yourself “how long can you drive with a bad throwout bearing?”