A pilot bearing is a component in your car's clutch system that is responsible for holding the input shaft securely and preventing its axial movement. This bearing turns when the clutch is disengaged, but it is at rest when the clutch is engaged (when everything in the system is spinning, like when you are at a stoplight). Your car's pilot bearing is manufactured to last the lifetime of your car, but because of poor driving habits, this bearing wears prematurely and causes hard shifting and delayed clutch response. So, if you want a renewed, fully performing clutch system, then it might be time for you to replace your worn pilot bearing.
Which is better: pilot bearing or roller bearing?
Auto manufacturers equip a car's clutch system with either a pilot bearing or a roller bearing (sometimes called a bushing). But which of the two is better? If you have the same taste as many drivers, opt for a pilot bearing because it lasts longer, especially when greased upon installation. Surely you do not want a bearing that sticks to the input shaft, so stay away from a roller bushing because it dries out after a few thousand miles. The problem with an ungreased roller bushing is that it enlarges the hole of the bushing itself and eats out parts of the shaft due to metal-to-metal friction. Thus, choose a pilot bearing that stays lubricated longer.
Which to choose: brass or bronze bearing?
Either of the two may be used for your car because each regulates friction very well. Before opening the package, make sure to test the bearing with a magnet; if the bearing sticks to the magnet, return it right away. What you need is a bearing that is independent of the input shaft, not one that is attracted to it. But do remember that any bearing must be greased well before integrating it to a machine's system. A well-lubed bearing will last for 100,000 miles if proper driving is observed.
What are other points to keep in mind?
Many auto manufacturers are shifting to the use of bearings with a rolling element around the circumference, which can be needles, balls, spheres, or cylinders. These types of bearings provide better rolling against the input shaft with very little resistance and sliding. Thus, they do not stick to the surface of the shaft even when dried out. Pilot bushings, on the contrary, have a flat inside surface and dry out quite fast; they are even difficult to remove during replacement.