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When does a clutch need replacing?

A clutch acts as the heartbeat of your vehicle. Without it, your engine is unable to transmit all of its energy to wheels and without power reaching your wheels going to be sat on the side of the road, making a lot of noise.

It is possible to get similar results with a lack of momentum when your clutch is worn out. When it does, you’ll be thinking about why the garage provided you with a price that is eye-watering. Similar to when we spoke about the head gasket failing the reason is straightforward replacing your clutch is an enormous task.

Before we move on however, let’s take a look at how a clutch functions.

How does a clutch work

Your clutch absorbs the power of your engine and delivers it to your gearbox which then sends the power to wheels. It’s a stressful job and especially so when you think that even when you are idle the engine and the flywheel, which is what the clutch latches onto the flywheel – is at a speed of 1,000 rpm.

However you take your foot off of the clutch pedal. As you move the clutch plate is going to roll into its sleeves and grasp the flywheel spinning. It will do this at all speeds as you cruise along.

The clutch is susceptible to many wear and tear, which is made worse by the way you drive. If your foot is not on the clutch pedal or when you’re pushing it down all the way and the clutch is most joyful. It’s either clamped between the engine and gearbox or freely spinning or both.

Make sure you hold the pedal to the half point but you’re grinding away. This is what they mean when they say that you’re using the clutch. It can be the same when you use the clutch too slow.

We’re certain you won’t make that mistake, but it’s not a good idea. You’re more likely to be suffering from general failure. This, considering how the gear is an wear and tear component will happen. But what are the indications that your clutch is failing?

If you need a clutch replacement:

Do you know if a clutch might produce a burning odor? Take a car with a high mileage that is still using its original clutch on an extremely steep, long hill at a high speed and you’ll likely detect a terrible burnt, earthy smell that can make a skunk blush after a short time. If there’s even a small amount of slip happening then you’ll smell it.

New clutches do not tend to emit bad smells, however they may be slipping. What causes a clutch to slip? It’s because the plate of the clutch is so worn out that it cannot grip the flywheel, and it slips, and then attempts to power the gearbox.

You’ll be able to tell if your clutch is not working properly because it won’t move or, if it does be very slow and at around 5500rpm.

Can the clutch be altered?

Modern automobiles typically use an auxiliary cylinder and an hydraulic clutch. These self-adjusting devices are used as the clutch wears out, and there’s not much that can be done if it begins to fall apart without changing the way it operates.

Older models have an electronic clutch lever and cable. This permits adjustments on a regular basis. Actually, it requires that it be adjusted in order to avoid slippage. That’s why this particular technology was replaced with an auto-adjusting clutch.

Cost of replacing the flywheel and clutch

What about the repair? What is the reason why a new clutch cost that high? It’s mostly due to where the clutch is within the bellhousing, which is the space between your engine and the gearbox. To switch the clutch, you’ll need to remove the two which is quite a big task.

It could be that the engine needs to be lifted or lower, according to the vehicle, in order to allow enough room to break the gearbox and engine. This is a lengthy process.

If you own a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you’ll be glad to know that your mechanic will have an easier task. It’s still a lot of time, however because the gearbox and engine run in a longitudinal direction, it’s only an issue of lifting cars up unbolting the propshaft, removing the gearbox, then yanking off the clutch of the previous model and installing an entirely new one, and fixing it back. Simple. Still a productive day’s work however, it’s easy.

If your car has front-wheel drive, then the odds are (unless you own an older Audi A4) the engine is transverse, which means it runs across the vehicle instead of through it.

It means that everything has to fit into a smaller area which makes it more difficult to tackle. It could take twice the time required for changing the clutch in the case of a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

If your clutch fails do not get upset that you’re being manipulated by the mechanic trying to get the wool under your eyes. It’s a large, labor-intensive task.

It’s a good thing that the garage will take care of the job for you. And should you require convincing, take an inspection of your car and think about how you could be able to fix the clutch your own!