Common Clutch Problems


The clutch system in a car is based on friction between the flywheel and pressure plate, and eventually these parts will begin to wear and the clutch will need replacing. Nevertheless, there are common clutch problems, and if you can identify a problem early, it could just save you a lot of money.

A car that is driven smoothly, without towing extra loads, can get over 100,000 kilometres out of a clutch. When a vehicle is thrashed, or is constantly dealing with extra loads, the clutch will wear out much faster.

Once the friction materials on the clutch parts start to wear out, instead of engaging tightly and spinning together, as they usually would, the two parts spin at different speeds and caused increased wear.

Here's some common clutch problems, and what to look out for:


Clutch Slipping

A new slipping clutch will most probably be related to operator abuse, like riding the clutch on hills, poor friction point, or oil contamination, and should be rectified immediately before unnecessary wear occurs.

An adjustment might be in order before the clutch fails completely.

A clutch will naturally start to slip once the parts are wearing out- no clutch lasts forever! If your clutch is reasonably new and is slipping, get the problem checked out early, the more the slipping goes on, the greater the wear will be, so identifying the problem early might save you the expense of a replacement clutch.

You will often experience clutch slip when towing, or with the engine under load, and this is just due to the extra pressure being placed on the clutch.


Clutch Sticking or Grabbing

Aside from slipping, clutches can also stick, or grab, also known as chattering. This can be caused by a number of issues, the main ones being:

  • Clutch cable needs replacing
  • Flywheel is warped or damaged
  • Oil contamination of the clutch linings


Do You Have a Clutch problem? Listening for Clutch Noise.

The easiest way to determine if you have a clutch problem is to listen carefully when you use the clutch and also to be aware of how the clutch pedal feels under your foot.

When you can suddenly hear strange noises, like squealing, chirping, or rumbling, then it is time to get the clutch looked at.


Change in the Clutch Pedal

If you suddenly have to push the clutch pedal flat to the floor, then you may need some adjustment in the clutch cabling, or have a problem in the hydraulics, if you car is fitted with them.

Whatever the issue with you clutch, getting it assessed early has the potential to save you replacing the whole clutch system, which is a reasonably expensive repair. Being in tune with your car and keeping it service regularly will help to pick up issues before they become major expenses.