The clutch on a drill/driver is used to limit the amount of torque applied when driving screws. However, as the clutch is a mechanical part subject to wear especially when it slips, I'm concerned about it wearing out as I use the tool to drive screws.

If I allow the clutch on the drill/driver to slip before stopping, do I risk prematurely wearing out the clutch? How long can I expect the clutch to last before it fails? Is it worth feathering the trigger instead to prevent the clutch from slipping when the screw is nearly driven home? (For reference, I'm using a DeWalt DCD790 compact brushless drill/driver, and I usually have the clutch set around 5-7 out of 15.)

2 Answers 2


This isn't something I would worry about at all. If you are a typically householder you don't use your driver 8 hours a day 5 days a week year after year after year. If you do, you should be buying a tool designed for professional use (which the DCD790 appears to be, judging by it's price).

I'm just a householder and I find drills last me at least 10 years. I still have all the drills I ever bought and they all still work (to some extent). On one of them I can't turn off the hammer-action after trying brute force removal of chuck (I broke it by severe misuse), but the clutch is fine. I bought a pro-grade replacement drill/driver (Bosch blue) at a similar price I paid 10 years ago for the non-pro one I broke.

The clutch on the driver is essential, I always dial it down to the lowest setting, then turn it up as needed. I'm pretty sure it is designed to be used and shouldn't wear out any faster than the gearbox or motor.

  • I still have a 1/4 drill I got as an award 50 years ago when I was 14 and it still works great - although it's cord was replaced twice and its gear box cleaned and re-greased several times.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 14, 2014 at 17:04
  • I still use my piece of crap black and decker plugin bought in the late 70s. Anything that I think might ruin my good Makita I make this thing do - like stir thinset and cement. It is starting to overheat quickly but I plan on wearing it out to the nub.
    – DMoore
    Jun 18, 2014 at 17:51

I had the same Craftsman drill/driver for about 15 years, replaced the chuck twice, and finally had to replace it when I moved because the gears of clutch went. At that point I didn;t care to service it anymore. New house, new drill, new batteries.

  • How much have you used the clutch?
    – bwDraco
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:06
  • 1
    How much have i used the clutch? Every time I use the drill.
    – sborsher
    Dec 17, 2014 at 17:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.