Your car won't move without the clutch. That makes a clutch replacement a very important repair - even if it is also a very expensive repair. So, how much does a clutch replacement cost? And is there any way to keep the price down by doing the repair yourself?

By the end of this article, you will know:

  • The average clutch replacement cost & why it's so high
  • How to change a clutch
  • How to spot a failing clutch
  • What a clutch is
  • How long the average clutch lasts

 

Summary

The average UK clutch replacement cost is around £500 - £600, but it can range from £450 to £1,000+. It's a complex repair because all the parts are buried deep within the engine, including the flywheel which often needs replacing at the same time. As a result, you should only attempt a clutch replacement if you're a confident mechanic. 

Your clutch should last around 60,000 miles but, if you notice a burning smell, difficulty changing gear, a higher biting point than usual or a horrible sound when changing gear, you should book a clutch replacement as soon as possible. Without the clutch, you can't regulate your speed and will struggle to move anywhere. This makes your car very unsafe to drive, so you should never ignore a problem.

 

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How Much Does a Clutch Replacement Cost?

The clutch replacement cost in the UK can range from £450 to more than £1,000! However, the average is between £500 and £620.

A new clutch kit costs £325, on average, and a clutch replacement takes 3-5 hours to complete. The average hourly labour cost in the UK is £58.66, according to data from thousands of UK garages on our online comparison site. That means you pay £175.98 - £293.30 in labour alone, on average!

When you factor in a flywheel replacement or a longer repair time, your clutch replacement can cost £1,500 or more! 

 

How Much Does a Flywheel Replacement Cost?

The average UK flywheel replacement cost is between £750 to £800. However, much of this can be avoided if a mechanic replaces the flywheel at the same time as the clutch.

Both parts are buried deep within the engine, and so take time to reach and replace. Therefore, replacing them separately doubles down on the cost.

Plus, if your clutch has come to the end of its life, it's quite likely your flywheel has as well. They work together to help you change gear, so it is highly recommended to change them at the same time.

 

What is the Clutch?

The clutch is made up of the pressure plate, driven or friction plate, diaphragm springs, cover plate and release bearing. These pieces are known collectively as a clutch plate, which is bolted to the flywheel.

The flywheel is connected to the engine shaft and the shaft which turns the wheel. It can lock these shafts together, so they spin at the same speed, or decouple them, so they spin at different speeds. 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.

Every car has a clutch of some form - in manual cars, it's a pedal; in an automatic, it's an electronic system controlled by the onboard computer.

dissembled clutch system

This diagram shows the different parts of the clutch. From left to right: cover plate, release bearing, pressure plate, friction plate. The diaphragm springs sit behind the pressure plate and the flywheel sits in front of the friction plate.

 

What Does the Clutch Do?

While your car is moving, the clutch is engaged. The pressure plate keeps the clutch plate pressed against the driven plate. This allows power from the engine to flow freely and keep the wheels moving. When you depress the pedal, you cut that power supply and disengage the clutch. The wheels keep moving only through their own momentum while you change gear. 

Depressing the pedal pulls the plates apart, releasing the clamping pressure. When you release the pedal and re-engage the power, the friction lining on the driven plate takes up the drive smoothly. 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 does the same job, but the car controls the process at all times.

 

Clearly, if your clutch doesn't work properly, your car becomes unsafe to drive. That's why it's important to get a high-quality clutch replacement when you notice a problem - but is it really worth paying that cost? Could you change your own clutch instead?

 

How to Change a Clutch

A clutch replacement is a very challenging repair. If you're not sure that you can carry it out safely, don't attempt the repair. Book an appointment with a professional mechanic instead.

 

Put The Car in a Secure Position

Move your car onto a flat surface, preferably in a garage. Raise the front end of the vehicle using the jacking points (as highlighted in your handbook). Make sure you support the engine by putting a jack beneath the oil pan. Always use jack stands for support and your safety.

 

Get the Transaxle Ready For Removal

The transaxle usually sits at the same end as the engine and drive transmission. To make your life easier, unhook the clutch cable and the positive battery cable at this stage.

 

Unbolt the Engine Mount and Remove the Clutch

Remove the bolts that hold the engine mount. You need to remove at least one of these to remove the transaxle. Once you have unbolted the transaxle and pushed it away from the engine, you will be able to access the pressure plate. 

Undo the bolts which hold the pressure plate onto the flywheel. Don't remove them all at once as the clutch disc can fall and cause injury. Once you undo the last bolt, have an extra hand to control the pressure plate and disc. If the pressure plate is still attached to the flywheel, gently remove the alignment dowels with a screwdriver.

 

a clutch replacement in progress as a mechanic removes the assembly from the car's underside

 

Inspect the Clutch and Flywheel for Extra Damage

The clutch disc can wear down like a brake pad, so you must make sure it still has a thick layer of friction lining. This prevents the clutch from slipping. Similarly, you should check the flywheel for extreme heat damage, hot spots and cracks. If there are any, you will need to repair or replace the flywheel. Remove dirt from the crankshaft flange before replacing the flywheel. Make sure that all bolts are re-torqued to manufacturer specifications.

 

Match the New Clutch

Ensure your new clutch matches the old one. You want to make sure that the diameter of the disc and surface area of the clutch material are the same, as well as the height of the pressure plate. It should also slide onto the transmission shaft with little resistance.

 

Replace the Clutch

Make sure that the protruding edge of the clutch disc points towards the pressure plate before reinstalling. This is so that the clutch releases properly.

Gently install the new clutch disc and pressure plate onto the alignment dowels of the flywheel. Leave the pressure plate bolts a little loose until after you have inserted the clutch alignment tool. This will allow you to line the clutch disc up with the transmission correctly. 

With the clutch alignment tool in place, you can retighten the bolts of the pressure plate in a star pattern. Don’t tighten any one bolt all at once and don’t use air tools. You can then remove the alignment tool.

 

Reinstall the Transaxle

Align the transaxle with the clutch disc splined hole and gently move it forwards until the input shaft glides into the hole. Once in place, replace the bolts you removed earlier. Tighten the bolts properly to avoid any slipping.

 

Release the Jack & Test Your Vehicle

Secure all the bolts you removed earlier and then remove the jack stands. Gently release the jack to lower the front end of your vehicle. You should then slowly pump the clutch pedal while adding clutch fluid, until it works normally. Then, test the gearbox by shifting through the gears or driving gently around the block a couple of times.

 

If you would rather get an expert to complete your clutch replacement, just enter your vehicle reg and postcode into our online comparison site to instantly compare prices from thousands of UK garages. You can filter by price, distance, availability or ratings and reviews - whatever matters most to you. Most importantly, you always pay the garage directly after they've completed all the work.

 

 

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!

 

How Long Does a Clutch Last?

A clutch assembly lasts around 60,000 miles, on average.

However, it's difficult to predict the actual lifespan because it is affected by road conditions and your driving style. To help your clutch last longer, avoid riding it as much as possible. Keeping the clutch pedal at the biting point will also 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.

 

How to Tell If You Need a New Clutch

Here are the most common warning signs of clutch failure. If you notice any of these, you should book a clutch replacement at a garage near you. A qualified expert will be able to diagnose your problem and present the best solution.

 

You Struggle to Change Gear

If you find it difficult to select a particular gear, or changing gear feels difficult, your clutch may 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, engage gear but fail to move away, the clutch is likely stuck with the plates pulled apart. This means that the power can't reach the wheels. Contact your recovery provider and get them to tow you to the nearest garage for an inspection.

 

The Clutch Makes a Horrible Noise

If your clutch grinds, squeals, shrieks or makes any other sort of awful noise, it might have slipped. 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 heat and friction when you change gear as the plates slide against each other. When it is worn or damaged, it generates even more heat and you might smell burning. Stop driving immediately if you ever notice a burning smell. It could even be something much more serious than a slipped clutch.

 

Your Car Has a Higher Biting Point Than Usual

Some cars, usually small city cars, naturally have a high biting point. 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.