Preventing And Troubleshooting Clutch Problems

Car owners are on one side or the other when it comes to their preferences in a clutch. If a manual clutch is more to your taste, you know there’s more work involved than operating an automatic clutch. When your car is new, the clutch is smooth and works perfectly but, as your car ages, it can become a lot tougher to operate. At some point, you will probably experience strange noises when you shift or when you are idling. If that happens, chances are you have clutch issues.

About The Manual Clutch

The clutch transfers power from the engine to the gearbox which is extremely important for a manual transmission. You will disconnect engine power from the gearbox when you put the car in gear or when shifting gears. In an ideal situation, the clutch should last for 100,000 to 150,000 km. Though the life cycle of a manual clutch will depend on how often it’s being used.

Various Factors Dictate The Wear & Tear On the Clutch

Clutch Repair

Mechanically, a clutch works on the principle of friction. In general, a clutch has a limited life due to friction which causes heat which can lead to wear and tear. If you are going through clutches way too quickly, it could be for a number of reasons. Here are some leading factors that will dictate the wear and tear on a clutch.

Popping The Clutch

A clutch is supposed to be released slowly, not popped! If you release the clutch too fast in order to move ahead quickly or for a power surge, you will inevitably damage the clutch.

Riding The Clutch

Do not hold the clutch in a half position, it will be damaged. If on a hill, use the handbrake to prevent your car from moving backward. Best practice, slowly engage the clutch while releasing the handbrake.

You Are New To A Manual Clutch

Those of you who are new to a manual clutch or have always driven an automatic, you probably are not operating the clutch in the correct way. In turn, this will cut back on the life of the clutch.

Operating a manual or standard clutch takes time to learn, especially on snow or icy roads. Until you become familiar with it and gain the needed experience, you might experience some damage that cannot be avoided.

Poor Driving Situations

If you are carrying a heavy load or towing another vehicle or trailer, you will increase the impact on the clutch’s life. If you are driving in a city environment, constant down shifting and up shifting will increase wear and tear on the clutch.

Recognizing Clutch Problems

A Slipping Clutch

If your car starts very slowly, feels somewhat sluggish or has a problem moving, even if the engine is revving, you probably have a slipping clutch. When your clutch is badly worn, the frictional materials are probably torn off or worn down which will increase problems for the clutch. This is because the clutch cannot grip the flywheel causing the engine power to not transfer properly.

Shifting Is Not Smoother Or It’s Difficult To Shift Into Some Gears

More than likely, the linkage or the clutch plate is damaged.

Experience Grinding Noises When Shifting

You are probably dragging the clutch which means the clutch is not releasing properly even with the pedal totally depressed. The transmission shaft will just keep spinning and the gears will clash when you attempt to shift. It’s probably even more obvious if you are in reverse.

If you are dragging the clutch, chances are the clutch pedal must be adjusted or there is a problem with the release mechanism.

Noises When You Released Or Depress The Clutch Pedal

There probably is not enough lubrication in the clutch release mechanism. Or it’s caused by a worn-out release bearing.

Hearing Noises When The Car Is In Neutral Then Stops When The Clutch Is Depressed

This is probably a sign that the input shaft is worn out.

The Clutch Pedals Are Soft, Vibrate, Or Just Feel Wrong

There are various issues that could cause this problem. It’s really advisable you bring your car to a mechanic to find out what’s going on.

Clutch Issues Do Not Necessarily Mean Replacement

You need to understand that a clutch is made up of several components:

  • Clutch Plate
  • Hydraulic or Mechanical Release Mechanism
  • Cables
  • Linkages
  • Pressure Plate
  • FlyWheel
  • Bearings,
  • Clutch Fork

Replacing the clutch is very expensive so it’s really important to rule out certain issues beforehand. Here are some of the leading issues that can lead to problems:

The clutch cable or linkage is damaged, rusted out, worn out or it could mean it simply must be adjusted.

Damage to the pressure plate

Oil from the car’s transmission or the engine is leaking into the clutch assembly.

If your car shows signs of having a problem with the clutch, you should visit a good garage for a diagnosis and to get the problem fixed. Lowton Motor Company Birchwood Warrington have over 25 years of experience in car servicing and repairs, you can be sure that your vehicle is in good hands with an affordable and convenient clutch problem diagnosis and repair. You can quickly and easily make a booking below, call us on 01925 330468 or email us.


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    I needed a last minute MOT for my X6 4.0D and Rob on the garage MOT side of the business fitted me at the 11th hour.
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