The clutch is a vital part of your car—it allows you to change gears. If your clutch is going out, it could be dangerous and should be attended to as soon as possible. Your clutch is what keeps your car running smoothing as it accelerates, slows down, and shifts from gear to gear. A clutch is likely to wear down somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. If you think your clutch may be wearing down, look for the signs listed below.
How Does a Clutch Work?
With a working clutch, your car can quickly shift gears and come to a complete stop with the engine still on—this is done by separating the engine from the wheels. The clutch is made of up three essential parts—the clutch plate, pressure plate, and flywheel. These three parts work together to help your car smoothly shift gears. When you press down on the clutch, the transmission and engine are connected and spin at the same speed—which allows for a smooth transition from one gear to another.
- Clutch feeling lose—when you press down on the clutch, it feels firm. A loose clutch is a bad sign.
- Clutch is vibrating or sticking—if when you press down on the clutch, it is sticking down or vibrating as it releases, it’s a sign of a worn-down clutch.
- Squeaking and rumbling noises—when you press down on your clutch, it should be smooth and silent. If you hear a high-pitch squeak or a rumbling, it’s time to replace your clutch.
- Poor acceleration or loss of acceleration—because the clutch allows you to transition between gears, it affects your acceleration. Trouble accelerating, accelerating slower than normal, or slowing down after accelerating (a loss of acceleration) could be a sign of clutch problems.
- Trouble shifting gear—the clutch allows you to shift from gear to gear to keep your car running smoothly. When the clutch is struggling or going out, you may notice your car jolting, grumbling, or struggling to shift gears in general. This is a sign that it’s time to replace your clutch.
- Slipping clutch—if your clutch is engaging but not delivering power to the wheels, your car will not move forward. This means the clutch is slipping and needs repair or replacement.
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