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Clutch Cable Replacement Cost: All You Need to Know 

Clutch replacement

Clutch cable replacement cost ranges from $146 to $176. Labor cost is about $68 till $86 while parts costs are about $78 to $90. 

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The clutch cable is a primary component of all manual transmissions. When you press on the clutch pedal, the clutch cable transforms this pressure to the transmission to make it interrupted as you switch gears.

Over time of use, it is very likely to deal with a damaged clutch cable. Unfortunately, it is never recommended to keep driving a vehicle with a broken clutch cable. Otherwise, you're introducing major damages to your vehicle's transmission.

This article provides you with all details you need about clutch cable replacement costs. We will also provide you additional information about a bad clutch cable's main symptoms, so you keep in mind to prevent any major complications.

At the end of this article, we will provide you with step-by-step guidance on replacing your vehicle's clutch cable by yourself to reduce labor costs. 

What is the clutch cable, and what does it do? 

In vehicles with manual transmissions, drivers need to use a clutch to interrupt the transmission and switch to the necessary gear based on their driving speed.

The clutch cable is responsible for transporting pressing on the clutch pedal to stop the transmission and interrupted briefly. 

When you drive with a manual transmission, you need to use the gearbox's right gear based on your situation. For example, if you're changing from stationary to mobile state, you'll have to switch gears. Also, if you're driving along the road and planning to change your acceleration, you need to change the gear.

Thus, the clutch cable plays a primary role in your overall driving. Since the clutch cable is made of an outer shell with a steel wire core inside it, there's a high chance that the cable might face some breaking or wear. 

What damages are very common overtime abuse, and if this happens, you must have your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic immediately. Otherwise, if you ignored a problem with your clutch cable, you might introduce major damage to your entire transmission system. 

Sometimes, clutch cable issues might be related to a loose clutch cable, which means  Some cars might have automatic adjustment systems while others might require manual adjustment.  

How much does it cost to replace a clutch cable? 

According to repairpal.com, if you would like to replace your vehicle's clutch cable, expect to pay between $146 and $176. For labor costs it is expected to be between $68 and $86. On the other hand, parts costs are only from $78 to $90. 

Keep in mind that labor costs vary significantly depending on where you get the job done. For example, if you decided to go for your dealership, labor costs will be high because they usually have a much higher rate than a small repair shop.

Similarly, if you decided to replace your clutch cable, you can reduce the entire labor cost portion.

Some luxury vehicle drivers prefer to go to the dealership even if it will cost them much more because they are sure that a professional mechanic will be doing the job. On the other hand, don't risk having an inexperienced mechanic at a small repair shop play around with the vehicle, which might introduce some unexpected damages to the surrounding components. 

Thus, you need to balance going for the lowest repair costs and finding an experienced mechanic to do the job. 

Let's take a closer look at how much it will cost to replace a clutch cable my vehicle type: 

Car Type Clutch Cable Replacement Cost
1986 Subaru DL $155.40
1982 GMC C2500 $232.26
1996 Ford E-350 Econoline $291.60
1985 Cadillac Eldorado $291.60
1980 Volvo 242 $189.82
1990 Nissan D21 $124.75


Can you drive a car with a broken clutch cable? 

It is never recommended to continue driving your vehicle that has a broken clutch. This is because you might introduce significant damages to your vehicle's starter motor, Shifter, or clutch itself. In some severe scenarios, a broken clutch cable might even cause significant damages to the transmission itself.

Automotive experts came up with a method that could help you drive your vehicle with a broken clutch as the last resort not to continue driving your car but to get to the mechanic shop and resolve the problem.

How do I know if my clutch cable is bad? 

If your vehicle clutch cable has any problems, it will throw out some general symptoms you can keep an eye on. It is very important to detect these symptoms early to prevent major damages to your vehicle.

Let's take a look at what you will see when your clutch cable is going bad

  • Issues with the transmission slipping 

The first obvious symptom of bad clutch cable issues with the transmission slipping. When the cable is not doing its job come every time you press on the clutch, it's not going to work and, therefore, changing and switching gears.

For you, it will be more like an engine slipping feeling rather than understanding what's going on exactly.

Since engine slipping might have been due to multiple problems like an issue with the clutch itself or probably the shifting gear or the gearbox, it is very hard to say that transmission slipping is just happening because of the clutch cable.

Therefore, your best option is to visit a professional mechanic and have him inspect your vehicle to confirm the problem and ensure that it's coming from your vehicle's clutch cable. 

  • Clutch pedal resistance 

Another major symptom of bad clutch cable issues with the clutch pedal itself. Every time you press on the pedal, it will feel like there's something under it, especially if the problem is associated with a jammed clutch cable.

Things can get more complicated if you keep trying to press the pedal. By pressing the pedal too much and forcing it to go down, you might end up breaking the clutch cable itself, and therefore, you might end up needing to replace the part rather than adjusting it.

  • Have a serious problem with the clutch pedal sinking to the floor 

One of the most serious problems that might happen due to a broken clutch cable is an issue with the pedal itself.

If you've noticed that when you press on the pedal, it syncs to the floor, this indicates that the cable is broken and, therefore, there is nothing connected to the pedal. Thus, the panel is disconnected. It doesn't have any resistance as you press on it.

If that's the case, you cannot drive your vehicle an inch, and you must get this car inspected and fixed by a professional mechanic immediately. You might not even be able to drive this vehicle to the mechanic shop, and instead, you have to get the vehicle towed. 

How long does it take to replace a clutch cable? 

Unfortunately, there are no exact estimates for how long it will replace the clutch cable itself. However, replacing the actual clutch takes about 4 to 8 hours, depending on your vehicle's make, model, and year

What causes a clutch cable to break? 

There are many reasons that could get your clutch cable to snap or break:

  • An issue with the pressure plates

Since the pressure plate is the first component that presses on your vehicle's clutch, if it's not in good shape, it might overpress on the clutch and therefore snap the clutch cable.

  • Very few free play 

When you install a new clutch to your vehicle, there must be a good amount of movement room or what automotive experts refer to as free play. If there is not sufficient free playroom for your clutch, you can easily snap the clutch cable by pressing on it too hard. 

  • Wear overtime

Like any other vehicle components, clutch cables are not designed to last forever, and there will be a point of time where it will snap out or break by itself just because of time of use.

Since the clutch cable is one of those components under a lot of pressure, it is most likely to get damaged faster than other components.

  • Corrosion or rust due to moisture 

If you've parked your vehicle for a long time over very long grass or on the water where the moisture gets into the clutch system, it can't easily get rusted or corroded.

A rusted clutch cable is more susceptible to damages than any regular cable. Thus, it is very important to prevent parking your vehicle for a long time in areas with a lot of moisture to prevent your vehicle's internal components. This, most turn, does affect not only your clutch cable but also all of our bottom components.

How to replace a clutch cable? 

As we mentioned earlier, It might be worth learning how to replace the clutch cable yourself. This way, you save all labor costs.

It is important to know that all DIY's do not work the first time. Thus, if you're not comfortable replacing the clutch cable, it is not recommended that you play around with your vehicle and caused some damages. Sometimes, the damage you might cause will be much more expensive than having a professional mechanic replace your vehicle clutch cable.

A good way to start is by watching some YouTube videos or online tutorials for similar vehicles to your manufacturer.

Here is a summary of the main steps you need to follow to replace your vehicles clutch cable: 

  • Ensure that your vehicle has a clutch cable problem. As you mentioned earlier, sometimes, the problem might not be directly related to the clutch cable. Thus, you might need to have a personal mechanic inspect the car and pinpoint the culprit.
  • Raise your vehicle. Using a floor Jack, a Jack stand, and wheel chocks, raise your vehicle safely and ensure that it's not moving because you will be working under the vehicle.
  • Remove the old clutch cable. After locating your vehicle's clutch cable by referring to your vehicle's owner's manual, you need to remove the clutch pedal first, remove the clutch cable mounting bolts, and take out the old clutch cable.
  • Install the new clutch cable. Keep in mind that the clutch cable must be adjusted to provide certain free room. Thus, you need to refer to the vehicle's owner's manual to see how much you need to tighten this new clutch cable.
  • Once you've installed the new cable, but all other components back and test drive the vehicle.
  • By now, you should not face any symptoms of a bad clutch cable. Otherwise, you might need to check whether you've done anything wrong. If you are not successful in identifying why the clutch cable is not working, you might need a professional mechanic to do the job. 

The bottom line

The clutch cable is a major component of your manual transmission system. It is responsible for transferring the pressure you put on the clutch pedal to the transmission, so it stops, and you smoothly switch gears.

Over time of use, the clutch cable can get damaged, and therefore, you need to replace it immediately to prevent major damages to your vehicle's transmission.

If your vehicle has any other major problems like engine failure or transmission issues, it might not be worth fixing the clutch cable, and instead, you should save the money and sell this vehicle.

If you are wondering who will accept a vehicle with major problems, we do! Cash Cars Buyer accepts your vehicle no matter what! We offer you the top dollars your vehicle can make around your area.

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