A clutch assembly is one of the most important parts of any car. You wouldn’t go anywhere without it! However, that mean a clutch replacement isn’t cheap.
But how much will your clutch replacement cost?
Not only will this article explain how much you’ll need to pay, we’ll also talk about why it costs so much, why your clutch is so important and how to spot a failing clutch. We’ve also got a rundown of how a clutch replacement works, just in case you thought you could tackle this repair yourself to save some money. As you’ll soon see, that’s much easier said than done…
How much does a clutch replacement cost?
A clutch replacement is an expensive repair. That’s the unavoidable truth.
A new clutch kit costs £325, on average.
When you factor in labour costs and a replacement flywheel (which normally needs replacing at the same time), you could be facing a bill of more than £1,000!
So, why does a clutch replacement cost so much?
The nature of the clutch inflates the replacement cost
Not only is a clutch replacement expensive, it’s also highly complex. Just like a head gasket repair, it’s difficult to complete the work quickly.
The clutch sits in the heart of the engine and is pretty inaccessible without removing a lot of other parts. As this takes time, labour costs contribute to the rising cost.
The average hourly labour cost in the UK is £58.66, according to data across our 9,000 garages nationwide.
As a clutch replacement usually takes between 3 and 5 hours, this equates to between £175.98 and £293.30 on average. This can be even higher depending on where you live in the UK.
And, as a particularly stubborn clutch replacement can take up to 10 hours, you could easily end up paying for a lot of labour.
It’s tempting to find a way to complete the work yourself and avoid some of the cost. While we may recommend this for other repairs, a professional should always complete a clutch replacement. The clutch is very important and a substandard repair can make your car dangerous to drive.
What is the clutch?
Four components make up the clutch: the pressure plate, driven plate, cover plate and release bearing. These help transfer power from your engine to the wheels. Every car has a clutch of some form – in manual cars, it’s a pedal; in an automatic, its usually electronic.
These pieces are known as a clutch plate, which is bolted to the flywheel. This connects to the engine shaft and the shaft which turns the wheel. The clutch plate and flywheel help drive the car forwards – so it’s easy to see why problems with one can lead to problems with the other.
In a manual car, the pedal spends most of the time in the raised position. When in this position, the pressure plate keeps the clutch plate pressed against the flywheel. This allows power from the engine to flow freely and keep the wheels moving.
When you press the pedal to the floor, it cuts that power supply. This limits the connection and keeps the wheels moving through their own momentum while you change gear. This is because the plates get pulled apart and create a gap that the energy cannot cross. This is useful when coming to a stop or accelerating or decelerating through the gears.
This helps you regulate your speed and create a fluid drive which, in turn, keeps you safe and in control of your car.
An automatic clutch assembly fulfils a similar job, except the car does a lot more of the work. Click here for more detail about how an automatic clutch works.
Clearly, this is a simplified description of how the clutch works. Even still, it shows the importance of a high-quality clutch replacement.
If your clutch slipped, you’d either have no power or no way of stopping the car. That’s dangerously unsafe. But, if you’re still considering a home clutch replacement, here’s the process our highly-trained garages follow.
Hopefully, you’ll see that the additional cost is worth it.
Here’s what that clutch replacement cost buys you
A mechanic will always check that replacing the clutch is the best option. Some symptoms of clutch failure can also apply to a failing gearbox. And there’s no point paying all that money for a new clutch if it doesn’t solve your problem!
Unhook the battery
If your clutch is to blame, the mechanic needs to make your engine safe. A live battery is a health hazard so, if you don’t know how to disconnect yours properly, it’s not worth starting a clutch replacement.
Once the battery is safe and your clutch and/or hydraulic slave cylinder is disconnected, the mechanic can get at the clutch assembly itself.
Stabilise the engine
Your clutch lives between the engine and the gearbox, deep in the bowels of the car – so it takes a while to reach!
The mechanic raises the front end of your car off the ground and stabilises the engine so it doesn’t fall out. Once the engine is properly secured, they remove the engine mounts to get access to the clutch assembly. Next, the mechanic removes the flywheel’s bolts so they can differentiate between the engine and the transaxle. The clutch sits on the transaxle because it performs the role of a transmission unit as well as an axle to help the process of changing gear.
This is why a clutch replacement takes so long and costs so much.
Unbolt the pressure plate
The next step is to remove the clutch itself.
After removing the bolts holding the pressure plate in place, the mechanic lifts the pressure plate and clutch disc out of the engine bay. They then check the suspension bushings. These isolate vibrations and reduce friction between the metal parts on your vehicle, among other things. If these have deteriorated, they may recommend replacing them as well as your clutch.
This adds to the cost, but it makes your ride a little more comfortable. You don’t want to feel every pothole on Britain’s roads do you?
Check for any leaks or extra damage
Now that the mechanic has a good look at the clutch, they can check for leaks.
Transmission fluid helps lubricate the clutch assembly and makes changing gear easier. A loss of this fluid can ruin your car. As well as a potential flywheel replacement, you might also need a new input shaft or transaxle. These are all potential problems caused by a failing clutch.
And they’re all guaranteed to inflate the cost of your clutch replacement.
Clean and replace everything
If there are no other problems, the mechanic can crack on with replacing your clutch. They replace whatever parts you need, clean up the crankshaft and other parts, and then bolt everything back into place. Reassembly should follow the same process as disassembly to limit the number of mistakes.
Test the clutch
With everything back in its proper place, the mechanic tests your car to make sure their clutch replacement has solved your problem. If not, they let you know and then go back to the drawing board to try again!
It’s a complicated process. Fortunately, we know over 9,000 professional garages who can help you solve your issue! Just enter your registration number and postcode to start comparing clutch replacement prices in your area today!
So, what can you do to help your clutch replacement along if you can’t complete it yourself? Well, you always need to know what to look out for when it comes to clutch failure. If you spot the problem early, you might be able to avoid extra damage – and keep the cost of your clutch replacement as low as possible!
What to look out for
Your clutch assembly should last 60,000 miles, on average.
It’s difficult to predict the actual lifespan because road condition and your driving style can affect the clutch. If you want to increase it, try and avoid riding the clutch where you can. Keeping the clutch pedal at the biting point will burn your clutch out quicker.
Of course, there are times where it’s difficult not to ride the clutch, such as in heavy traffic. And your clutch does have a finite lifespan, so you will have to replace it at some point. If you notice any of these warning signs, book a clutch inspection with a local garage. Even if you don’t need a full clutch replacement, it’s likely that something needs replacing.
Here’s what to look out for:
You struggle to change gear
If you find it difficult to select a particular gear – or changing gear feels like an arm wrestle with your car – something is wrong. Your clutch might have slipped and is struggling to cut the power from the flywheel to the wheels.
Your car won’t move
If you switch the engine on and engage gear but your car won’t go anywhere, there’s clearly a problem with the clutch. It’s likely stuck with the plates pulled apart so the power can’t reach the wheels. Contact your recovery provider and get them to tow you to the nearest garage for a clutch replacement.
The clutch makes a horrible noise
If your clutch grinds, squeals, shrieks or makes any other sort of awful noise, it might have slipped out of place. This causes the different plates within the assembly to rub together and create the terrible noise you hear when you change gear. Book an inspection as soon as possible.
There’s a burning smell
Your clutch creates friction when you change gear as the plates slide against each other, creating heat. When the part is worn or damaged, this heat increases and you might smell burning.
Stop driving immediately if you ever notice a burning smell. It could be something much more serious than a slipped clutch.
Your car has a higher biting point
Some cars have a high natural biting point. For example, small city cars are notorious for having high biting points. This is where you have to bring the clutch nearly all the way up before feeling the power from the engine kick in.
However, if you think that your biting point is higher than it used to be, a slipping clutch could be to blame. This is where the plates struggle to connect and engage and it should be looked at immediately.
Convinced you need a clutch replacement now? Book yours online today with Book My Garage! Just enter your registration, postcode and scroll through the options until you find clutch replacement.
A clutch replacement is expensive, and there’s no way around it. It’s not a repair you can complete yourself because it’s very complicated and affects a very important part of your car. Here are the three main reasons why the cost is so high:
- The clutch is highly inaccessible so a repair takes time, inflating the price through labour costs
- A clutch assembly can cost several hundred pounds on its own
- You usually need to replace the flywheel at the same time as a clutch and this isn’t a cheap repair either
Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.