Clutch Replacement Early On Can Prevent Bigger Issues from Manifesting
If you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, then you are already well acquainted with the clutch. However, if you’re driving a newer manual model, clutch replacement may be a new concept to you. The clutch is designed to take a lot of abuse, but as with anything of a mechanical nature, repeated use will eventually find your clutch needing replacement. This is especially true in urban areas with lots of traffic jams. The constant riding of the clutch in the stop-start traffic can be rough on even the most steadfast of clutches. But how do you know whether it’s time to look into clutch replacement?
The Mechanics of Your Car’s Clutch
First, you should have a basic understanding of your car’s clutch. A clutch operates with such simplicity that you may take for granted that it’s a fairly complex system. Your basic clutch is comprised of a flywheel, pressure plate, clutch disc, throw-out bearing, and necessary linkage. If everything is in working order, you simply depress the clutch, select the necessary gear, release the clutch, and ease into a smooth acceleration. If you’ve been driving with a manual transmission for a while, you likely know that the system doesn’t always run this smoothly. In those circumstances, it’s time to consider clutch replacement.
Analyzing a Slipping Clutch
If you’ve only heard horror stories of the slipping clutch variety, you may have a difficult time comprehending what a slipping clutch actually feels like. Basically, you’ll feel your engine increase in speed dramatically despite the fact that you haven’t depressed the clutch. Healthy clutches are meant to slip so when we’re referring to a slipping clutch, we actually mean one that’s slipping against its expected behavior. If the clutch didn’t slip in its healthy state, cars with manual transmissions would be subject to some very bumpy rides. Healthy slipping also occurs as a means of taking strain off of the drivetrain and transmission. But all of this slipping should be happening only when the clutch is depressed. If you’ve not depressed your clutch but you still feel it slip, you’re best bet is to beeline for your local auto shop to have your clutch evaluated.
Sooner or Later, Clutch Replacement is Necessary
As we mentioned, the usual rigors of driving are enough to eventually warrant an eventual clutch replacement. But what if you’ve got a brand new model and you’re experiencing aberrant slipping? There are a host of reasons a new clutch can suffer from slippage but the most common is excessive leaking of grease or oil, often from a breached crankshaft seal. The superfluous lubrication can promote slipping.
If you think that your clutch is slipping, it should be corrected as soon as possible. Even if the slipping is gradual, it will continue to worsen, most likely damaging other parts in the process. If this is delayed long enough, it can result in a full breakdown while driving which can be inconvenient at best, hazardous at worst. While you can try to assess clutch issues on your own by driving your car while lugging the engine at a slow speed in a high gear, the actual clutch replacement is best left to a professional due to the complexities of the clutch system. A proper clutch can run well over 100,000 miles so it pays off to have the work done by a skilled mechanic.