While most cars these days have an automatic transmission, there are still many manual vehicles out there including older model cars and performance vehicles.
Like any car part, the clutch requires maintenance and eventually replacement as time goes on. You could get between 150,000 – 200,000km out of a clutch give or take, then again you could be unlucky.
We’ve provided a comprehensive article with all you need to know when it comes to your vehicle’s clutch.
What is the cost of clutch replacement?
The first question everyone asks is how much will it cost. Fair enough, we all work hard for our money and no one wants to pay more for a service than they need to. The answer is not the same for each case. There are varying factors depending on the make and model of your car and the problem with the clutch. As a rough guide, a clutch replacement could cost between $500 and $2,000.
The cost is really dependent on how damaged the clutch is and whether it has caused damage to other components of your transmission. That’s why if you experience any symptoms of a broken clutch you should take the car to your mechanic straight away. The longer you drive with the problem, the more damage you will do and the more you’ll have to pay for the repair.
So what is a clutch and how does it work?
The clutch is what disconnects the engine from the transmission so you can change gears or go into neutral.
The clutch is made up of various parts:
- the master and slave cylinders
- clutch fork
- clutch disc
- pressure plate, and
- release bearing.
These work together to help you change gears so when you put your foot down on the clutch the master cylinder pumps fluid through the slave cylinder. The clutch fork then releases the release bearing against the pressure plate which releases the clutch pressure. The clutch disc then releases from the flywheel and disengages from the transmission. That’s when you change gears. Pretty simple right?
When you take your foot of the clutch pedal the process happens in reverse and the clutch reengages with the transmission and propels the car forward.
How do I know there is a problem with my clutch?
- Shuddering when shifting gears
- Smell coming from car, possibly a burning smell
- Difficulty in selecting gears
- Not able to push clutch pedal in
- Clutch pedal all the way to the floor
- Engine revs harder on depression but car doesn’t accelerate
What are the most common clutch problems
Leaking clutch fluid
Did you know that Clutch fluid and brake fluid are the same thing and that some cars share the fluid in the same system?
Leaking clutch fluid is quite common and can cause damage to the clutch and braking system. Leaking fluid can cause problems when changing gears or result in the clutch pedal being stuck on the floor and not able to be pushed down.
While it is normal for a clutch to slip a little, especially when taking off or going up a steep hill, too much slippage will overheat and cuase wear on the flywheel and pressure plate.
Clutch master cylinder/slave cylinder unable to pump fluid due to leak
If the clutch is spongy or stays in the floor you could have a Master/ Slave cylinder issue.
The clutch master and slave cylinders transfer the movement of the clutch pedal to the gearbox and the clutch. When you press the clutch pedal down the master cylinder pushes through the slave cylinder operating disengaging the gears from the transmission and allowing a gear change.
If you get a leak the spongy feeling may occur or the clutch will not be able to be depressed.
Shuddering in the Clutch
If you experience a shuddering or a vibration in the clutch this could be an oil leak onto the clutch disc or a warping of the disc or flywheel.
What do I do if I experience these symptoms?
My advice is always to take the car to your mechanic as soon as you can. You’re better off safe than sorry and looking at a leak issue than a failure of the whole system caused by driving with a minor issue.
We are happy to do an inspection and recommend the best outcome for you. We will let you know how much the job will cost and leave it up to you to decide if you’d like to go ahead.
What we recommend
Prevention is always better than a cure so regular servicing will be sure to catch any problems early and result in a quicker, cheaper repair. We recommend 6 monthly or 15,000km services regardless of the make or model of your car.
Remember that your new car warranty will not be voided if you use a reputable independent repairer who will be able to stamp your logbook.