Hopefully the blog posts on the A1 Clutches Blog have given you some pointers towards spotting when your clutch is on the way out, and some handy hints on how to extend the life of your clutch.
This posts seeks to give you examples of how ot know when you are on borrowed time with your clutch, when it is really close to failing – probably with not much more life left than the drive to A1 to let us fix is for you!
There are the obvious warning points – visual and olfactory – the sight of smoke or the smell of burning. The smell is akin to burning rubber – but this definitely does not fall into the cool classification of burning rubber. The smoke will be visible as you sit still, it might be a lot harder to spot while you are moving.
Riding the clutch is often a cause of clutch failure – and indeed it is the most common cause of both the smoke and the burning smell. The clutch is damaged by overheating, and riding the clutch will cause this if you do it enough. Echoing our previous advice – engage the clutch, change gear, release the clutch smoothly but do not labour it. Sitting in traffic? Likely to be stationary for more than about 10 seconds? Apply the brake, and put your car in neutral – your clutch will thank you by lasting much longer.
Slipping Gears – This is different to not being able to select a gear – that is an early warning sign, this one is much more severe and a sign that complete clutch failure may be imminent. You are driving along and suddenly the gear slips out of gear – you have to re-engage the gear to continue your progress. Now carrying or towing a heavy load can sometimes be responsible for this, but generally it is a sign of one of two things – your clutch is worn and needs replacing or there is a leak of crankshaft oil. Either way, your car will need some professional attention.
There are other indicators of early stage failures as described in some of our other posts – but one to keep an eye on in the medium term is a sticking clutch. You will notice the pedal seeming to become heavier than usual, and operating it is more difficult. It is harder to depress and slower to return to the idling position. It is not always a sign of imminent clutch failure – you may just have a leak and a loss of pressure. Remain vigilant and keep a close eye on the sights, sounds and smells associated with your clutch.
Of course, if you are ever unfortunate enough to miss the warning signs, or fall foul of a sudden break – don’t worry, A1 Clutches has recovery vehicles ready to assist you. Give us a call in your hour of need and we will be there to help.