Three Symptoms Of A Problematic Clutch System

How do you know when your clutch is damaged? When it exhibits the following symptoms:


Clutch noises are difficult to diagnose because they can stem from numerous sources, both internal and external. Internally, clutch noises may be due to a damaged disc (that dampens engine vibrations and provides smooth engagement), a damaged input shaft bearing, inadequate lubrication/dryness of the release fork, defective bearings and may other problems. Externally, the noises may be caused by worn transmission mounts, worn pedals, or improperly lubricated pedals.


A clutch is said to be slipping if it if doesn't stay firmly in place after you have fully released it. So why is this bad? Well, for one, it usually indicates that the clutch plates are damaged or worn out, and they no longer have the traction necessary for their smooth operation. Secondly, the slipping generates a lot of friction and heat between the plates. The temperature can rise so high that the clutch plates, the pressure plate and the flywheel may be damaged.

An aging clutch will start to slip due to the rough surfaces of the plates. In some cases, the slippage is not so much due to clutch damage, but due to leaking oil or grease that gets between the clutch linings. This is likely to be the case if your new clutch is slipping.

Here is a simple test to confirm that your clutch is slipping:

  • Stop the car and engage the parking brake
  • Place wheel stoppers behind the wheels
  • Put the car into high gear
  • Slowly release the clutch pedal

If you do this and your car's engine continues to run despite full clutch release, then it means the clutch is slipping. However, your clutch isn't slipping if the engine stalls immediately when you release the clutch.

Failure to Release

The third problem you are likely to experience is failure of the clutch to release even after full depression of the pedal. This is dangerous because it means the disc is still turning the input shaft, and you may not be able to shift into gear. The result is a grinding noise or a complete engine stall. Just like other clutch problems, failure to release has a variety of causes such as the presence of air in the hydraulic line, a broken release cable, or a worn bearing.

It is clear from these examples that clutch issues aren't always so easy to diagnose. This is because different problems tend to have the same symptoms. Talk with a mechanic, like Joe's Transmissions Services Inc., for more help diagnosing and treating your clutch problems.