A clutch is one of a car’s mechanical components. It is the one responsible for engaging and disengaging a transmission or powertrain between several rotating shafts. A clutch usually lasts between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, but there are some cars that need clutch replacement before even reaching its 30,000 mile mark due to some factors such as the car’s make, model, age, and the owner’s driving habits. The clutch replacement usually costs around $1,000 to $1,500, but for performance vehicles and some exotic cars, it may cost around $2,000 or more.
The clutch replacement can be a bit costly, so if you are asking if it is worth repairing, you need to do some assessments. Does your car have any other problems that need repairing? How much will it cost? What is the current market value of your car? If you think that the current market of your car is a bit similar or is less than the total repair bill, then it might not be worth repairing at all. There are companies like the Cash Cars Buyer that buys cars regardless of their condition. However, if you want to know more about clutch issues and clutch replacements to see whether you can still repair it, read on! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Clutch Replacement: How Often Should Your Clutch Be Replaced?
A clutch is a car component that connects the engine to the transmission. When the engine is operating and spinning, it is the clutch that causes the transmission to also spin. This process transfers power to the wheels, allowing the car to move. A clutch is also needed since the engine spins all the time while the wheels of a car don’t. The wheels need to be disengaged from the engine so you can stop your car without stopping the engine.
However, like any other components of the car, a clutch is not made to last. As mentioned earlier, the clutch can usually last between 50,000 to 100,000 miles. A clutch replacement should be done around this time. How long a clutch will last can vary depending on the car’s make, model, age, the car owner’s driving habits, and how well the car is maintained. There are some cars that will need a clutch replacement at 30,000 miles or less, while some cars manage to run more than 100,000 miles without experiencing major clutch issues.
The numbers may vary but one thing is sure, clutches wear out over time and when this happens, a clutch replacement will be needed. According to the reports, a car’s clutch may fail in two ways. It can fail gradually or it can fail all of a sudden. When a clutch fails gradually, you may notice problems like your car is not stopping when you step on the pedal. Gradual failure of a clutch usually happens when your car has issues such as a stretched clutch cable, faulty master or slave cylinder, or a bent linkage. It can also be caused by low hydraulic fluid or a damaged transmission mount.
On the other hand, when a clutch fails all of a sudden and breaks down, your clutch won’t be able to function completely and you won’t be able to move your car at all. This problem is usually caused by a loose or broken clutch cable, faulty hydraulic master or slave cylinder, or bad linkage. This problem can also happen when there are some hydraulic line leaks or the disc being contaminated with dirt or other debris.
Clutch Replacement: What are the Signs of Clutch Failure?
You will know if your car is due for a clutch replacement when you experience any of the following problems or symptoms.
- Grinding gears
You will know if you have a clutch issue when your gears grind hard whenever you try to shift or when you shift to or from a certain gear. This happens when there is a problem within the clutch system. Although this problem can also be caused by a driver failing to shift smoothly, when the grinding still happens even if you have shifted smoothly, then it is likely caused by a bad clutch.
- Weak acceleration
If you notice that your engine is revving but your car is not accelerating like it’s supposed to, it can be an indication that there is something wrong with your clutch. If you notice this problem, it is better to have your car checked since an issue with the transmission can also cause weak acceleration.
- Unusual noises
Aside from the grinding gears, you may also hear unusual noises from your car when your car is due for a clutch replacement. You might notice screeching or squeaky sounds whenever you try to shift.
- Loose clutch pedal
When you step on the clutch pedal and it seems weak and loose, it is an indication that your clutch plate has worn out. It can also mean that there is something wrong within the clutch assembly. It is better to have your car checked to get the right diagnosis.
- Sticky clutch pedal
If the clutch pedal feels sticky when you step on it and it seems that it takes a lot of effort to press it down, it can be a sign that you have a bad clutch.
- Won’t shift into gear
A car that won’t shift into gear at all, it is a clear indication that your car is experiencing some clutch or transmission issues. If this happens, have your car checked immediately.
- Burning smell
If you notice a distinct burning smell since clutch issues and grinding gears often lead to bad metal to metal friction and heat.
Clutch Replacement: How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Clutch?
How much does it cost to replace the clutch? The answer to this question can vary, depending on a lot of factors such as the specific type of car you own and whether it has a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive. But a clutch replacement will usually cost between $1,000 and $1,500. However, a clutch replacement for cars such as Mercedes or BMW will be more expensive. The clutch replacement cost for these vehicles might run around $2,000 or more.
There are also some things you need to know before you have your car’s clutch replaced. Regardless of the reason why your car needs a clutch replacement, before you have it replaced, you should also consider these things:
- Have the entire clutch assembly replaced.
When you notice that your car is experiencing some clutch issues, you might want to replace the individual clutch components. While this is possible, it is not recommended. To make sure that the new clutch will function properly, all the components should be replaced together as a kit. This should be done because all the mating and friction surfaces are parallel, flat, and without flaws such as burn spots, score marks, and uneven worn patches.
When you don’t replace the entire clutch assembly and replace its individual parts instead, it will most likely give off problems such as plate overheating, severe clutch shudder, and premature wear or damage of the entire clutch assembly.
- Have the flywheel machined.
Although this process will add to the total cost of the clutch replacement, it can prevent clutch issues in the long run. It can help prevent premature wear, damage, clutch shudder, and other issues. It is vital to have the flywheel machined to restore its surface, especially if you had slipping clutch issues prior to the clutch replacement.
This is because the slipping clutch causes extreme heat that can create very hard and brittle areas on the surface of the flywheel which can decrease the friction coefficient of the surface. Plus, extreme heat can also result in hairline cracks to develop in the flywheel’s surface. By having the flywheel machined, these cracks and its other flaws will be removed and will be prevented from spreading deeper into the structure of the flywheel.
- Have the pilot bearing or bush replaced.
The bearing or bush which fits into the crankshaft’s rear to support the end of the transmission input shaft should be replaced during a clutch replacement. It is important to replace this bearing or bush because when it fails sometime after the clutch replacement is performed, your car’s engine or transmission will have to be removed just to replace the faulty bearing or bush. It means that you will have to spend hundreds of dollars on labor costs just to replace it. If you have it replaced during a clutch replacement, you will just have to add $5 or less for it.
Clutch Replacement: Can I Replace My Clutch Myself?
If you don’t want to deal with the clutch replacement cost, you can do the clutch replacement yourself, but only if you are skilled to do so or know your way around cars. It is also important that you have the right tools in order to do it properly. To perform a clutch replacement, you will have to follow the following steps.
- Park your car on a solid, level surface.
- Disconnect the cable from the battery’s negative terminal.
- Get a jack and lift the car’s front end off the ground. Make sure that the car is secured while in a raised position. You can use a hoist from above or supports from below to stabilize the engine.
- For cars with a rear-wheel drive, take off the transmission lever.
- Remove the driveshaft.
- Disengage the clutch linkage.
- Disconnect the speedometer cable from the transmission.
- Disconnect the starter motor from the engine housing. Take note which wire goes where so you won’t have a problem putting them back in place later. Connecting a wire to the wrong terminal may cause damage to the entire electrical system.
- Disconnect all of the other electrical wirings on the engine housing.
- Place a jack or anything that can provide structural support under the transmission.
- Disconnect the transmission from its mount by loosening all the bolts. Gently slide the transmission out.
- Once you have gained access to the clutch, inspect the flywheel and the pressure plate. Take note of its position so you’ll know how to put it back.
- Remove the pressure plate and the clutch disc by loosening all their bolts.
- If the flywheel has any damage, replace it. If there’s no damage, clean it.
- Check for any signs of leaks around the clutch location.
- Replace the pilot bearing if possible and make sure it is properly lubricated.
- Clean the crankshaft flange before replacing the flywheel. Put the flywheel in place, tighten it’s bolt, and secure it in place with its specified torque.
- Install the new clutch and pressure plate. Make sure that you connect the new release bearing to the release fork prior to replacing any other parts you disconnected.
- Put back or connect all of the car parts you disassembled or disconnected in order to gain access to the clutch. Make sure you’ll connect all the electrical wirings to the right terminals.
- Once everything has been put back in place, carefully lower your car from the jacks. Then test drive your car in a safe area to make sure that everything is working properly.
Before you perform a clutch replacement, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the detailed diagram of your car’s engine and clutch. You will find all the needed information in your owner’s manual. If you are not that confident you have done a great job with your DIY clutch replacement, you can take your car to an auto service shop and have it checked to be sure.
If you can afford it, it is better to let the professionals perform the clutch replacement for your car. This is because the process will require major disassembly of a number of important and critical components. There should be no room for errors since it might cost you more than the total clutch replacement cost. Plus, you will be confident that your car will be handled by professionals and if it has any other issues, it will be corrected as well.