How To Diagnose a Slipping Clutch

Identifying a problem with your clutch early will help save you money – through avoiding any further damage to other areas of your drive train that could be damaged if you leave the issue too long.

So how do you go about identifying the slipping clutch? What are the hallmark signs? There are many sources of information on this – but let’s cut to the chase and provide you with the most obvious things to remain vigilant for. If you live in an urban environment, and you are stopping a lot (particularly in traffic) then it is more likely that you clutch will show signs of wear and tear than if you are mostly a motorway driver (although they can obviously have their own traffic issues!).

The first step to be aware of is knowing your clutch. You use your clutch a lot, therefore make sure to make a note of how it feels over time. There will be a change over time in how the clutch pedal feels to press down, this is natural as the clutch wears out, but when things are in danger of going wrong there will most likely be a noticeable change.

As well as feeling this difference you will also notice things like the engine revving without accelerating. This is noticeable just after your change gear if it is on the way out or while you are in gear and accelerating – for example from 20-30mph in third gear.

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The second main step in identifying trouble early – use your nose. IF you notice a burning smell that’s generally not a good sign! There are several potential culprits for this – it could be some damaged electrical wiring, or an oil leak, but be aware that it may also be a burning clutch. IF you notice this in conjunction with any of the other symptoms then that is what it most likely is.

Along with feeling the clutch, the third sign should be where it engages on the travel of the pedal. By this we mean where the clutch comes into action – there should be at least an inch or two when you press the pedal down before the clutch engages – this will gradually get higher and higher until when the clutch is at the end there is hardly any movement required to engage – this goes hand in hand with knowing your clutch and how it operates.

Finally, one of the best ways to test your clutch for its efficiency yourself is to go somewhere away from traffic- for example a quiet car park – put the car into 3rd gear and let the clutch slowly. If the car stalls immediately (or almost immediately) your clutch is in fine working order. If the clutch tries to engage the gear, doesn’t stall and the revs go up… then I’m afraid it is bad news for the clutch. It is in need of repair and you should book an appointment with A1 Clutches at your earliest convenience.

These points, as with all of our posts, are designed to hopefully help you avoid breaking down on the roadside, wondering how you missed the warning signs that your clutch was about to go. If the worst does happen however, we offer vehicle recovery as one of our services – at our Birmingham (Digbeth), Cannock, Derby and Tipton branches.

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