The clutch is an essential part of your vehicle’s gearbox, in fact, it’s the very first stage of transmission. Once your engine starts, utilising the clutch allows you to change gears to get the car moving, and whilst on the move, engaging the clutch means a pressure plate can provide the force and friction needed to connect the flywheel to the engine and the clutch plate to the transmission.
There are a series of clutch types used on cars of all makes and models, however recognising when you need a new clutch is difficult without the right knowledge. Here we list five tell-tale signs that say your clutch is wearing out, giving you the time and confidence to decide what to do for the best.
That spongy feeling
Many of us drive our vehicles every single day so diagnosing clutch failure at an early stage could be easier than you think. A soft or spongy clutch is just one sign that you are due for an upgrade. This spongy feeling may become more apparent as you let your clutch go just before the gear catches.
You have to use all your senses to identify whether or not your vehicle needs a new clutch, and your sense of smell will certainly come in handy. When you shift gears you may notice a burning smell, which could indicate that your clutch is slipping. This distinctive smell is created by the lack of friction material on the clutch disc.
A slipping clutch is particularly common due the wear that naturally occurs between the disc and the flywheel. Increased wear may also occur if the flywheel and clutch are spinning at different speeds. In addition to this you may also notice a rattling sound when the clutch is not in use, with the sound increasing as the clutch engages.
Difficulty changing gears
A gear change should be smooth and shake-free, however, when your clutch is on the way out, the shift may not be as seamless. Difficulty changing gears tends to become more apparent when moving into or from first gear or whilst reversing.
A higher biting point
As your clutch slips and becomes increasingly damaged, the biting point that you have got to know may alter. Generally as the clutch fails the biting point will get higher and higher.
Whilst many of us avoid exploring under the bonnet, if you know where to look identifying clutch damage can be relatively easy. Simply remove the inspection cover of the bell housing to make the clutch visible. If your clutch is damaged then a fine black dust may be present.
What should you do?
If you notice any of these signs it’s worth calling up your nearest garage and getting your clutch checked as you may need a clutch replacement. We’re local to Waterlooville, so if your around stop by and ask one of our trained engineers to have a look.