Currently, most popular car models use dual-clutch geartronic transmission. However, why are fuel-efficient and fast-shifting dual-clutches still not well-received? The reason is mainly due to the reliability and lifespan of these gearboxes, so let's answer the question: how long can dual-clutch geartronic transmission last?
To talk about lifespan, we need to start with its internal structure. dual-clutch geartronic transmission mainly consist of four components: dual-clutches, gearboxes, shifting actuators, and control systems.
Compared with the wearing-out clutch discs, gears and bearings are the most important parts since replacing clutch discs is relatively cheap and easy while damaging gears and bearings usually implies major repairs or even a replacement of the entire gearbox. Though dual-clutches use a variety of materials, including carbon steel, alloy steel, ductile iron, and gray cast iron, case-hardened steel is a commonly used material with a strength of 500 megapascals. It is rigid and robust, and is generally not prone to damage.
For dual-clutch manufacturers, the lifespan of dual-clutch geartronic transmission should be around 20 years or 500,000 kilometers of driving, basically equivalent to the lifespan of a car. As for dual-clutch geartronic transmission developed by other car companies themselves, they also claim to have a lifespan of almost 20 years.
The lifespan of wet dual-clutch geartronic transmission is longer than that of dry dual-clutches. Both share the same basic principles and construction, but differ in their cooling methods. Wet clutch plates rely on this gearbox oil and other fluids to absorb energy and dissipate it, colloquially known as water cooling. For dry clutch plates, they dissipate heat through air cooling. With lubricating fluid and heat absorption and reduced friction, the lifespan of wet dual-clutch geartronic transmission is about 5 to 6 times longer than that of dry dual-clutches.
Avoid driving for too long at low speeds
Crawling at low speeds, like in a traffic jam, is considered a nightmare for dual-clutches because the clutch plates are consistently in a semi-linked state, and frequent shifting between the 1st and 2nd gear will increase the wear and tear of the break-in period plates and reduce their lifespan. Therefore, when driving at low speeds, you can shift to S-gear (when the engine speed is higher, the gear will shift up) or switch to manual mode for 1st gear. This is to avoid frequent shifting between the 1st and 2nd gears, excessive wear, and overheating of the gearbox.
Properly use neutral gear
When the gearbox is in D-gear and the brake is applied, it is in a semi-linked state, which increases the wear and tear of the clutch plates. If you are in a traffic jam, try walking for a while, then stopping for a while, and avoid always keeping the car in D-gear and pressing the brakes, so as not to crawl in the semi-linked state.
Do not shift too quickly
Here, shifting refers not to gear changes during driving, but to gear changes with the shift lever, such as switching between R and P gears. If you shift to R gear before the car comes to a complete stop or shift to P gear immediately when reversing without fully stopping, it will cause severe gear shock, also known as "teeth-beating". The commonly occurring gear problem of the dual-clutch geartronic transmission of automobile parts is that the gear is easily damaged in these two cases.
In fact, the lifespan of dual-clutch geartronic transmission is not necessarily shorter than that of other gearboxes, but their limitations are greater. Daily driving will inevitably create wear and tear, making people feel that the lifespan of dual-clutch geartronic transmission is short. Conversely, CVT and AT gearboxes require less attention during daily driving, giving people a more durable and hassle-free impression.