The clutch in your car is one of the most important components that keep you moving. It is also one of the most expensive to repair and replace when things go wrong. In this tough economic climate, we all want to save a bit of money. If you fancy yourself as an amateur mechanic, or as an experienced DIYer, replacing the clutch on your car yourself is not the easiest job – but it’s definitely not impossible. In this article, we will run you through everything you need to know about replacing the clutch yourself, how to do so, and in the most cost-effective way possible.
Changing the clutch on your car is not impossible and can be a cheaper alternative to expensive labour costs. However, this isn’t a job a complete beginner can take on – we suggest you have a basic understanding of mechanics before undertaking a task such as clutch replacement.
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Finding The Right Clutch
The first step of replacing your own clutch is ensuring you have the correct kind of clutch that is best suited to your vehicle. The clutch is made up of the following parts: the pressure plate, the driven or friction plate, the diaphragm springs, the cover plate, and the release bearing. These pieces are known collectively as a clutch plate.
Chances are, you’ll also need to buy a new flywheel – the piece that works with the clutch to move the car forward – as the two work in tandem, they usually need replacing at the same time.
You can buy your clutch and flywheel from most licenced garages and part stores. Be sure to buy the entire system, and not just a small aspect of it – that won’t get you very far!
How Much Does The Clutch Cost?
Since the clutch is such an important part of a car, it can get fairly pricey. The clutch kit can cost around £325, but it really depends on the make and model of your car. It is important you ensure have the correct piece of kit or you could end up damaging your car further.
£325 does sound expensive, but you can still save yourself up to £293.30 in labour costs – the average mechanic charges £58.66 an hour for their services, and some clutch jobs have been known to take up to five hours to complete. So, if you’ve got the time and the knowledge, replacing your clutch yourself can save you some serious money.
However, you can’t put a price on safety. We really don’t recommend a novice mechanic to attempt this job. The clutch is a VERY heavy and fiddly job, and someone who didn’t know what they were doing could end up getting hurt. Don’t fret, as we here at BookMyGarage can help you find someone to do it for you, at the best price in the local area! Compare and save today!
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How to Change a Clutch
So, you’ve purchased your clutch, prepared your tools and you’re ready to take on this job! Where shall we start?
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.
This is a fantastic visual aid we recommend to help you change your clutch yourself.
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 discs and surface area of the clutch materials 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.
You always need to look out for common clutch problems to avoid a potential 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!
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 now.
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