How do you tell if you need a clutch replacement?
Driving a manual car everyday, on the commute to and from work, or the weekly shop all puts extra wear and tear on your car’s clutch.
You might not have thought about it…
You get used to driving and how our car feels but even with a worn clutch in need of a clutch replacement you might not know the symptoms and what to look out for.
I’m going to help you find out whether you need a clutch replacement now or whether you’ve got a few years left!
Look Out For Your Clutch Slipping!
One of the first symptoms that your clutch is in need of replacement is when it begins to slip.
So how do you know if your clutch is slipping right?
When you go to select a new gear whilst driving you’ll select the gear and release the clutch pedal.
You’ll then carry on accelerating, what you’ll notice is a higher engine sound when you’re not speeding!
You won’t be going as fast as you’d like.
Then suddenly, the car will jump forward.
Signs To Look Out For
- A burning smell – it might smell like acrid.
- Check if there’s any smoke.
- Higher engine speed when you’re not traveling fast.
If you can identify these common symptoms of your clutch slipping, it’ll be one of the first signs to indicate that you need a clutch replacement.
My Clutch Feels Soft When Pressing
Another symptom of a worn clutch is the clutch itself will feel soft when you press the clutch.
It’ll usually require some force to press the clutch pedal down.
If your clutch is in this state of condition, I’d recommend booking your car in for a clutch replacement and service.
Whilst your car is being inspected, a diagnosis will be given to help understand if the whole clutch assembly needs replacement.
I Can’t Change Gears As Smoothly As I’d Like
Changing gears in an older car might feel harder than a newer car – this on it’s own is fine.
Car parts tend to wear as they age and will likely need replacing sooner.
However, if you have to apply extra force to shift gears then there may be an underlying problem with the clutch.
Do Clutch Noises Require A Clutch Replacement?
Generally speaking, noise coming from the clutch area when you press the clutch down often means either:
- A faulty clutch that isn’t operating correctly.
- A damaged clutch that needs replacing.
If you try to delay the clutch replacement by passing off the noises as a “Oh it’s just an older car” then you could cause more damage.
The noises coming from the clutch could be simply caused by a worn out clutch bearing.
This alone isn’t a costly service bill, but will get worse with time if not treated.
Other Clutch Noises To Consider
Clutch noises could also be caused by low fluid levels.
If that’s the case, you want to take your car to a mechanic and have your car checked over for potential leaks, particularly related to the gearbox.
Depending on the diagnosis for this, it could be a costly repair.
Clutch Pedal Is Stuck On The Floor – Help!
Even though this might not be a cause for needing a clutch replacement, it’s definitely a cause for the clutch master cylinder.
Your clutch master cylinder is responsible for pumping fluids to the hydraulic clutch.
As the cylinder gets older it will be more likely to start to leak and develop issues, this will create additional problems when moving through the gears.
Finally, the master cylinder will eventually fail and it too will need replacement.
Replacing The Clutch Yourself
If you’re keen to try a clutch replacement yourself then go ahead.
But remember, it’s not an easy job.
If you’re going to carry out a clutch replacement yourself, you’ll likely need a large area, and something to stop the rain getting to you.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’ve got some kind of mechanic’s toolbox at hand to help you.
Not to mention, it will likely take you a few days.
So really, I wouldn’t bother trying to do a clutch replacement yourself – get a local independent shop to do it for you.
How Long Do Clutches Last?
A question you’re likely going to ask yourself when determining whether a clutch replacement is needed is how long they last.
And whilst it’s going to be hard to give you an exact, precise figure, there is a general mileage if your clutch is taken care of.
A car’s clutch can last as few as a few thousand miles ranging up-to and beyond 80,000 miles on a single clutch.
Of course, it’s going to be dependent on you and your driving style.
Just note that once your clutch has been replaced, you can’t go thrashing your car otherwise it’ll ruin the whole thing.
How Much Does A Clutch Replacement Cost?
Clutch replacements will heavily depend on whether you’ve got a performance clutch in a performance hot hatch, or your everyday run around.
Generally speaking though, a clutch replacement is likely going to set you back approximately £500 all other things considered.
So for some this is an affordable job, whilst for others this could break the bank.
Other Clutch Related Issues
Some other clutch related issues that you need to look out for beyond the clutch itself is broken cables and leaking lines.
The last thing you need is for your clutch to stop working on a large hill, and whilst you can’t decide when the clutch stops working, you can take steps to prevent it failing.
The clutch is an important mechanical part to any manual transmission car, and automatics for that matter.
That’s right, even an automatic car has a clutch, it’s controlled by the car’s onboard computer and changes gears for you.
It Might Be An Intermittent Issue
Issues with your clutch might not always be identified straight away, you might find that you’ve got a problem one minute, and the next that problem seems to disappear.
Don’t be fooled by this, generally intermittent issues will become more and more persistent as the car ages making these problems far more likely to get worse over time.
My suggestion here is to always check your car’s fluid levels weekly, and to do an all round inspection for leaks, to check the tyres etc everyday before you drive your car.
This way you’re trying to be safe whilst being smart.