What Are The Signs My Car’s Clutch Is Going Bad?

If you’ve got a few miles on your car, truck, crossover, or SUV, your car’s clutch is going bad. How you drive can affect your clutch’s lifespan. Some manual transmission clutches need to be replaced after 30,000 miles; others can last for well over 100,000 miles. Stringer Auto Repair can service your clutch to extend its lifespan. We can also replace it if you notice any of the following five signs.

Revving Engine With No Power

If your engine starts to rev yet you lose power, your vehicle has slipped out of gear. In a manual transmission, this can be caused by a slipping clutch. A clutch generates friction and this friction is what turns the flywheel – the mechanism between the transmission and the clutch. A worn or oily clutch cannot generate the friction needed to turn the flywheel and the vehicle will not switch gears.

Noises When in Neutral

Your vehicle’s clutch also has an input shaft bearing that will succumb to wear and tear from constant usage. Once this happens, your automobile will make a lot of noise when it is in neutral, but it will then quiet down when you depress the clutch pedal and put the automobile in gear. The input shaft bearing will need to be replaced to resolve this problem and prevent further damage to the clutch.

Chirping or Squealing Clutch

Two other bearings in your vehicle’s clutch are the pilot and throwout bearings. Both of these bearings have lubricant to prevent too much friction between internal moving parts. Once the lubricant dries out, you’ll hear chirping or squealing from the throwout bearing when you first depress the clutch, or the same noises from the pilot bearing once the clutch is fully depressed. These parts can be replaced.

Grinding Sounds

When you first learned how to drive a stick, you couldn’t always find it so you’d grind it. Once you get the hang of driving a manual transmission, you shouldn’t grind the gears yourself. If the clutch is “dragging,” you’ve got a worn throwout bearing, release mechanism, or pressure plate, and your gears will grind because the clutch isn’t releasing fully after each shift. You’ll need a new clutch assembly.

Refusal to Go Into Gear

Sometimes, the clutch will feel loose or won’t catch in the right place. Consequently, you’ll find it difficult to get your vehicle into gear out of neutral. An aftermarket clutch can cause this problem, as can air in a hydraulic system (if you have a hydraulic clutch) or a worn clutch pressure plate or disc. Replacing the problem part, or the aftermarket clutch assembly, will solve the problem and get your car into gear.

Vehicle Acceleration Is Noisy

Finally, your clutch shouldn’t make noise when you use it nor should your car make too much noise when you accelerate. A noisy clutch might need an adjustment or some parts replaced. Noisy acceleration is usually caused by a worn flywheel. An old flywheel is already dealing with wear and tear, and as you try to use the worn parts to shift gears, you’ll “burn” the clutch and hear it in your acceleration.

We don’t mean to brag, but Stringer Auto Repair, LLC, is the best auto service shop in Johnstown, OH. We can inspect your clutch and fix the problem or replace it.


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