How To Diagnose a Slipping Clutch in Your Car

The clutch is a device responsible for passing on rotation. This mechanism has two rotating shafts. One shaft is maneuvered by a motor or pulley while the second shaft drives the other device. The clutch makes sure that the two shafts are spinning at the same pace, or when applicable, at a different pace.

On the other end of the clutch is the flywheel. The flywheel is a device used as storage for the rotational energy. This flywheel is hooked up to the engine while the clutch's plate, the mechanism responsible in increasing or decreasing the car's speed, connects to the transmission. The left-most pedal manages the clutch plate.

This part of the car takes the most damage because the shaft is always engaged and disengaged especially when driving in heavy traffic where a driver will always step on the clutch's pedal. Clutches usually last anywhere between four to seven years or 80,000 miles depending on its use and maintenance, but if not managed and taken good care of, it will start breaking down anywhere between 35,000 to 40,000 miles. When the clutch breaks down, it will start making noise and start slipping. The damage from the clutch could also involve contamination of oil from the engine or transmission and disengaging issues caused by defective clutch wires.

If you think the issue has become apparent that the clutch is slipping in your car, the following are ways to diagnose if your car has a slipping clutch:

  1. You will notice poor gas mileage. One gallon of fuel for lighter cars can have at least anywhere between 30-35 miles per gallon of mileage while SUVs can go anywhere between 15-20 miles per gallon. If you get anything lower than that, then your car has poor gas mileage.
  2. Listen for revving noise while the car is at rest, for example when stuck in traffic. Make sure not to step on the clutch the whole time. When you hear a noise, then there is a problem with your clutch.
  3. If you didn't hear revving noises in the previous step, put the car in neutral and gradually step on the clutch. If you hear a noise, the problem might be with the clutch release or the bearing.
  4. If you still didn't hear any revving noises in the previous step, step on the clutch all the way down. If there is a noise, it might be the bearing or bushing. If you didn't hear any noise, it's highly probable that the issue is not with the clutch.

There are other times when the clutch isn't slipping, rather sticking. The common indication of the clutch sticking is when the clutch doesn't release properly, and prevents your car from going into gear. Stretched clutch cables, defective slave/master clutch cylinders, and mismatched clutch mechanisms are common causes of the clutch sticking.


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