8 Signs Your Car Needs a New Clutch
Driving a car with a standard gearbox is a great deal of fun, and offers a more visceral, connected driving experience than what an automatic gearbox can deliver. However, there are specific maintenance considerations that go hand in hand with manual gearboxes that you’ll need to watch out for, such as wear and tear on your clutch—especially if you are just learning how to drive a stick.
Car clutches are designed to wear out – they’re designed with the same material as brake pads and the friction and heat generated by simply shifting gears eventually wears through that material.
Shifting at the right time is an excellent way to lengthen your clutch assembly’s lifespan, but you cannot really avoid times when you make your clutch sliding. It takes years of experience to master the art of shifting gears perfectly. However, even if you are the best at driving a manual transmission—wearing out your clutch is still inevitable after a certain point of your car’s lifespan.
How do you know when it’s time to start looking at clutch kits, though? Here are a few important signs that your car needs a new clutch.
But before reading the list, it is important to use your senses to determine if there is something wrong with your vehicle. If something doesn’t smell right, not sounding right, something doesn’t feel right, or you are seeing something wrong—there is definitely something wrong with your car.
1. Noise in Neutral: Do you hear an unusual noise when the car is in neutral but not when it is in gear? That’s a sign that the input shaft bearing is failing, and you’ll need to replace the clutch.
2. Noise When Pressing the Pedal: Operating car clutches requires pressing the clutch pedal. Under normal circumstances, that doesn’t create noise. If you hear chirping or squeaking, though, it means that the pilot bearing or throwout bearing is worn.
3. Grinding Noise: Do you hear a grinding noise when changing gears even with the clutch pedal pressed? That’s a prime sign of wear – there’s something wrong with the release mechanism, the pressure plate, or perhaps the throwout bearing.
4. Unable to Shift: Has your gearbox suddenly seized up, preventing you from shifting? With hydraulic car clutches, this is a sign that something is preventing adequate pressure from being applied. In non-hydraulic systems, the problem probably lies with the disc or pressure plate.
5. Noise When Accelerating: Have you noticed an abnormal noise during acceleration? This is a sign that the clutch itself has suffered wear and tear-related damage. It can also indicate a problem with the flywheel, though.
6. Burning Smells: If you smell something that is similar to burning rubber, your transmission is probably experiencing wear on the clutch plate. When the clutch plate is too thin, it immediately needs to be replaced, especially if you don’t want the problem to get worse.
7. The Clutch Pedal is Sticky: If you feel that the clutch pedal is a little hard to press or if it sticks closer the floor, there might be something wrong with the linkage. Fixing this problem can be as easy as adjusting the linkage. However, it could also indicate a leak in the hydraulic fluid.
8. Slipping Gears: One of the clearest indications that you need a new clutch is if the gears are slipping out and go to neutral without warning. Slipping gears indicate that your clutch plate is worn down, and needs a replacement as soon as possible before the problem turns into an oil leak or worse.
It is good idea to know your car better and pay attention to how it runs, how it sounds, how it smells, and how it looks. Fixing a problem with your clutch and any other car component and doing preventative maintenance always helps extend your car’s lifespan!
Car clutches wear out over time. Understanding the signs and symptoms that can indicate wear will help ensure you’re able to replace it before it becomes a major problem. If you want to explore a large selection of high-quality clutch kits and replacement parts, check out clutchdirect.com.au