Who loves driving a clutch? Raise your hand! We here at Accurate Auto service both manual and automatic transmissions, but we have to make a confession: We think driving a stick is fun. There are many benefits to having a manual transmission, and one of those benefits is they don’t cost as much to service and repair. This doesn’t mean you can ignore the clutch, however. If you notice any of the following five signs, your clutch is wearing out and it’s time for a replacement.
1. Strange Clutch Feel
You know how your vehicle’s clutch feels, and if there is any adjustment to that sensation, it could be that the internal mechanisms are wearing down. The catch should be in the same place no matter how many times you shift, and you shouldn’t feel the clutch stick or feel loose. Strange clutch feel is a sign that it’s time to have the clutch looked at and adjusted.
2. Squeaky Clutch
You also know how your clutch sounds; it doesn’t make any noise at all. If your clutch starts to squeak, grind, or make other abnormal sounds, you probably have internal mechanisms such as bearings that are wearing out. The noise is the first sign of other things that could be going wrong with your clutch.
3. Problems Shifting Gears
One sound that you should never hear after you’ve mastered using the clutch is grinding. If you hear grinding while you’re shifting gears, you meet resistance shifting gears, or changing gears has suddenly become difficult, you might have an issue with the clutch disc, hydraulic fluid, or pressure plate.
4. You Can Smell the Clutch
As your clutch ages and the parts wear down, it can begin to overheat and you will smell burning rubber. You might also notice the clutch is slipping, but more on that below. You shouldn’t smell your clutch. It should be an odorless and soundless operation each time you put your vehicle into gear and shift between the gears. Burning smells indicate a serious problem with the internal mechanisms.
5. Slipping Gears
Finally, if press down on the gas and your engine revs yet you don’t go anywhere, your vehicle never went into gear. You might also notice that your engine revs and you lose power while in motion, which means the vehicle slipped out of gear. A worn clutch will make it difficult to get your vehicle into gear and fail to keep it in gear. This is a serious sign that needs immediate attention.