Have you ever heard a strange noise when you let the clutch out? Sometimes it can be a squealing noise and in some cases it can be a grinding noise – either one is very unsettling! Equally a rattle or a clicking sound can cause distress and all of these symptoms mean a trip to get things checked out should move up your priority list.
What could be wrong with your clutch when you get to the garage though? What might the diagnosis be?
Here are the top 5 most common things that can go wrong with your clutch.
- First up: The master cylinder is leaking
Cars with hydraulic clutches use fluid from the cylinders to actuate the clutch when you engage it. If the master cylinder loses fluid it can also lose the pressure required to actuate the clutch properly.
Top tip: If you have leaking cylinders, the most obvious indicator will be patches under your vehicle left by the leaking fluid. You might also notice a strange smell too if the fluid is dripping on to your exhaust. Please note that this problem affects only vehicles with hydraulic clutches. If your vehicle has a mechanical, or cable, clutch then this problem will not affect you.
Uneven wear and warping of the clutch
- The Flywheel might have become warped.
As explained in the earlier blog post, Car Components – Part 1, the flywheel is bolted on to the end of your crankshaft – helping transmit power from the engine to the gearbox. Overheating can cause the flywheel to warp – excessive use (unlikely) or merely old age can lead to the flywheel being more susceptible to this damage from overheating. Please note this is only applicable to cars that have single mass flywheels – if your car has a dual mass flywheel then you do not need to worry about this.
Top tip: You may be able to tell that this is happening if you hear (and feel) clutch ‘chatter’ – this is down to the uneven surface of the flywheel contacting the clutch ina non-uniform manner.
- The pressure plate might be worn out
This is the element of the drivetrain that clamps the clutch disc to the flywheel – by exerting pressure, ergo it is called the pressure plate! As it is one of the hardest working elements of your clutch it is often the one to get worn out first.
Top tip: A worn pressure plate can also produce clutch ‘chatter’ so keep an ear out for it.
- The clutch disc might be worn out
The clutch disc itself is the part of the clutch assembly that is ‘at the coal face’ in that it is the friction material that engages and disengages the clutch and transfers or cuts the power from the engine. It is very hard wearing but over time can become worn out – this can also be down to your particular driving style too.
Top tip: You might notice your biting point getting higher and higher, this is a clear indication that the clutch plate disc is worn out. The vehicle may also struggle to accelerate when hauling a heavy load.
- The throwout bearing might be worn out
The throwout bearing is what actuates the clutch pressure plate – so this is the beginning of the mechanical system, well the next thing to get to work after you engage the clutch with your foot anyway! Because it is spinning constantly on the transmission shaft, it can become worn quite easily. Also it can lose its lubrication which is almost as bad.
Top tip: Keep your ears alert for squeaking or squealing noises as you are driving. If these noises disappear when you engage the clutch then they are likely caused by the throwout bearing being worn.
So that’s how to diagnose the top 5 clutch problems, obviously if you have any concerns about your vehicle please do not hesitate to contact A1 Clutches. Our expert technicians will be able to assist you, whatever the problem with the clutch is.
Just call up or make an enquiry online and we will book you in to bring your car to us for a comprehensive check. If there is a fault with it you can rest assured that our engineers will fix it and that the work will be guaranteed for two years – A1 Clutches is the industry leader in providing this guarantee and our after care service is second to none.