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How To Diagnose Clutch Problems

By Edited May 19, 2014 1 2

Most clutch problems are serious, and should be checked out by a mechanic

Learning how to diagnose clutch problems yourself can save you money at the shop

How To Diagnose Clutch Problems(127397)

Learning how to diagnose clutch problems can come in very useful if you love to drive manual transmission vehicles as I do. The clutch mechanism lives between the motor and transmission and transfers the rotating force of the engine into the transmission. If you've ever had a problem with your clutch, you know what a nuisance it can be. 

Here's how to diagnose a few common clutch problems

1. Slipping

Slipping is what happens when your clutch is worn down to the point where it can't properly do it's job anymore. The surface of the clutch disk is worn and is not applying enough pressure on the flywheel to drive the car. You can tell that your clutch is slipping if you put the car in gear, press on the throttle and the car does not accelerate as it should. The engine will rev, but the car will not perform. Clutch slipping can also be caused by a leaking rear main engine seal that has allowed oil on the clutch friction surface. Either way, it will need to be replaced.

2. Chattering

Chattering is when you feel vibration or irregular feedback from the clutch pedal when engaging or disengaging the clutch. This can be caused by a fault in the clutch itself or because of an issue with your flywheel. Either way, unfortunately, you will need to remove and inspect the clutch. This is minor but can create bigger problems and should be checked out as soon as possible.

3. Clutch pedal stuck on floor 

If your clutch pedal is stuck against the floor of your car and will not come back up on its own, it could be an issue with our slave cylinder, hydraulic leak or broken linkage. This can be very simple and is sometimes as easy as replacing a cable. Needless to say you should not attempt to drive your car in this condition.

4. Difficult to depress pedal

If your clutch pedal is difficult to depress, there are a variety of possible causes. It may be that your clutch cable is seized or bound at some point and needs to be replaced. It is also possible that the manual linkage on the transmission is obstructed or that there is an internal failure in the clutch itself. This can be serious and the car should be taken to a shop as soon as possible.

5. Squeaks squeals or chirps

If you are hearing squeaking or creaking noises when you depress the clutch pedal, this is typically just a dry linkage on the end of the pedal itself or on the transmission. This is a minor issue and your car is typically fine to drive. Get some oil and lube the linkage on your clutch pedal and any other linkages you find at the transmission end and the sound should go away. If you can not do this get your mechanic to trace the sound and lube it for you.

Learning how to diagnose clutch problems is beneficial to all drivers. Knowing whether or not a problem is serious or if your car can be driven can save you an expensive towing bill. And if you're in need of a new clutch, you will want to save all the money you can!

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Jan 24, 2013 9:32am
The picture shows a car with an automatic transmission in "Park" - no clutch problem there!
Jan 24, 2013 4:19pm
Great catch! I didn't even notice that! I will change it.
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