Realising it’s time to put your foot down and take control of your car’s health?

A faulty car part is an obvious cause for concern – all the more so when a vital component like your clutch isn’t behaving as it should.

Like many people, you may be unfamiliar with some of the most common problems a clutch can encounter. You may even be uncertain as to whether or not your clutch is actually experiencing any issues at all. If you have even the slightest inkling that something isn’t working correctly, then this article is for you.

It is definitely worth familiarising yourself with the most common problems your clutch can experience. That way, at the earliest sign of trouble, you will know exactly what you should do next to save yourself from a more expensive repair later down the line. Not only that, but a failing clutch could see your car break down on a busy motorway – something none of us want to experience!

Read on to learn about four of the most common clutch problems your car could face, and what you can do to fix them.


What Does My Clutch Do?

The clutch allows the engine to keep running, even when it is not needed to power the car forwards. It does this by connecting your car’s two rotating shafts, so that they either spin at the same speed, different speeds, or by a controlled amount. So, whether you want your car to move forwards or slow to a stop, your clutch is in control.

As you can tell, the clutch has a lot of say over what your car can or cannot do. You don’t want to drive at the mercy of a faulty clutch!


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What’s Wrong With My Clutch?

To get where you want to go with no surprises, you have to keep your clutch in good condition. Problems can occur gradually or suddenly, with little warning.

In this section, we break down four of the most common clutch problems your car might suffer from, and how you can fix them.


Slipping Clutch

Possible warning signs:   No forward movement, foot struggling to stay on the pedal, less effort needed when changing gears

When your clutch is working correctly, it should be able to deliver power from the engine to your wheels, enabling your car to move forwards. The clutch is said to be slipping when it tries to engage in the same way, but no power is transferred to the wheels. This happens because the clutch plate has worn away, meaning it is struggling to grab the flywheel in order to do this. With no power to the wheels, your car won’t move.

You may also notice that it doesn't take as much effort as normal to shift gears, which is a definite sign that the clutch is slipping. Choosing not to replace the faulty part could be incredibly dangerous, particularly if your clutch breaks down unexpectedly whilst driving. It could also lead to the failure of other components as well. 

Save yourself the worry and have your clutch replaced by a professional mechanic today before even more parts are affected.


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Spongy Clutch

Possible warning signs:    Clutch feels soft

If you notice a change in how your clutch feels, then this can be a sign that something isn’t working as it should.

A soft or spongy feeling can indicate that your brake fluid is low and causing the clutch slave cylinder to struggle. This feeling could also be an indication that air is making its way into the clutch line, which is a part of your gearbox system.

You can remedy this by refilling your brake fluid after bleeding the clutch – a process in which you remove pockets of air from the hydraulic system. After bleeding the clutch, you can replace the brake fluid by removing the cap on the brake fluid reservoir and replacing the contents with fresh brake fluid.

Whilst you can do this yourself, it is always a smart choice to trust a professional mechanic to do this for you. You can book in for a high-quality brake fluid change today, and know that the job has been done properly. 


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Stiff Clutch

Possible warning signs:    Pedal keeps sticking, noticeable leak

Similarly, if your clutch pedal keeps sticking in place when you press down on it, then there could be a leak present. You can check underneath your car for any pooling to determine whether or not this is the case. When brake fluid leaks onto the clutch pedal, it can make it harder for your foot to stay in place, and therefore give you less control over your vehicle.

Difficulty in pressing down the clutch can be due to a block in the hydraulic system. Most modern cars use a hydraulic clutch instead of a mechanical one, which uses hydraulic fluid (brake fluid) rather than cables to shift the clutch disc. Without the hydraulic fluid helping the system to work as it should, the clutch won’t be able to disengage when needed. 

You should try and replace the lost brake fluid as previously discussed, and then take your car to a garage so that they can properly stop the leak. After all, this leak could be a sign that oil is oozing from the transmission or engine, and you don’t want to let these problems fester.

If one of the component parts that make up your gearbox has worn out, such as the pivot ball or cross shaft, then this could explain why your clutch pedal is beginning to feel stiff. Certain components naturally wear away over time, so it is important that you have this checked out by a professional mechanic. They can fix the issue for you, so that pressing on the clutch feels as smooth as it did when you first drove the car.


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Difficulty Changing Gears

Possible warning signs:        Burning rubber smell, unusual noises

Pressing on the clutch disengages the engine, allowing you to change gear. If you are too forceful when you accelerate, then this can cause your clutch to wear out and no longer work correctly. You may notice a burning rubber smell, which is a tell-tale sign that you are causing too much friction and heat around the clutch by pressing so hard. You may be experiencing clutch problems if this same smell is noticeable when changing gears.

To prevent the problem from worsening, you should ease up on the clutch whilst driving to reduce wear and tear. Try and accelerate enough to avoid stalling, but not so much that you rev unnecessarily. Consistent stalling can damage the clutch and be costly to repair, so it is certainly worth correcting this habit early on. Another sign of clutch failure could be if you are able to rev the engine, but achieve little acceleration. 

You may also notice your gearbox making grinding or squeaking noises when you push on the pedal or try to change gears. A growling noise could be related to the transmission fluid, whilst noises coming from the pedal are usually linked to problems within the clutch assembly.

When it comes to difficulty changing gears, this is definitely something to get checked out by a professional mechanic.


What Happens If I Keep Driving With a Bad Clutch?

Drive with a faulty clutch at your own risk. Whilst a clutch replacement can cost quite a bit, it definitely beats having to fork out for a whole host of incidental repairs your car may need if you let the problem continue.

Try and maintain good clutch health if you can by spotting problems early, and save yourself the cost of additional repairs, breakdowns, and worries in the future.


What Can I Do About Clutch Problems?

A failing clutch is no joke. You can look after your clutch by making sure that you use gentle pressure when changing gears and using the clutch pedal. Use your handbrake to hold your car's position on hills, and take the pressure off the clutch. 

Unless you want to find your own way home, then getting your clutch fixed at the first sign of trouble is your best bet. No matter the issue you think your clutch is experiencing, getting your clutch looked at by a professional mechanic is the safest way to ensure your car is roadworthy. Whether this is as part of a general repair or a full-on clutch replacement, you can rely on a professional garage to advise you on what's best for you and your car. 

You can book online for a clutch replacement using BookMyGarage today, and join the five million happy drivers who have already experienced the best deal on their repairs!


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