Clutch Service Vs Replacement South Africa: When Does Your Clutch Need A Service Or Replacement?

When it comes to maintaining our vehicles, we need to understand some of the components. One of these is our clutch. Your clutch is one of the most vital and frequently used components of your car so keeping it in optimal condition is important.

How does it work? A clutch consists mainly of two metal plates in the engine. Stepping on the clutch pedal disengages these plates from your rotating wheels, which allows you to change gears. Stepping off the clutch pedal creates pressure to operate the hydraulic mechanism, which transmits motion to the wheels. When one or more of these parts are not in optimal condition, it may require a service or replacement.

Clutch Service And Replacement South Africa

There is a component in your clutch system called the flywheel, and it is common for a lot of clutch repair or replacement issues to be related to it. When it’s cracked or burned, it is normally due to excessive overheating because of slipping or grease contamination. Resting your foot on the clutch pedal also wears out your clutch.

Could you have a damaged flywheel? When do you know when it’s time to go for a clutch repair or clutch replacement?

Another common problem when it comes to clutch repairs is broken torsion springs, which can be caused by hard driving, or driving at low speed while the engine revs in high gear.

When Does Your Clutch Need A Service?

As mentioned above, your clutch may require a service if your torsion springs are broken, which can be caused by hard driving, or driving at low speed while the engine revs in high gear.

Other signs to look out for which can determine whether your clutch may require a service, are:

Noisy Clutch – A noisy clutch can be caused by many factors that could potentially damage your car and the parts. The most important part to remember is not to ride the clutch. This means that your foot is constantly pushing the pedal in. This could lead to the possibility of a bad pilot bearing which would need to be replaced immediately. You can identify this problem if the clutch makes a high-pitched sound.

Slipping Clutch – To test this you need to release the clutch slowly whilst in gear. If the car stalls, you are good to go. If the car does not stall you should get it checked out. Your car might have the problem where the clutch plate soaked in engine oil.

Dragging Clutch – You can detect this issue if the pedal fails to release. This is a common problem that could be caused by multiple issues such as air in the system, a small fraction of fluid or oil, or possibly a high level of lubrication and oil being present.

Short Lasting Clutch – This pedal is supposed to last a long time although it is one of the most used components. This is usually caused by bad driving habits. Too much riding can cause your clutch to have a shorter life thus requiring a replacement.”

When Does Your Clutch Need To Be Replaced?

Some of the following issues can indicate that your clutch may require replacement:

Clutch Slip: Over time the friction material on your clutch will wear out and when that happens the clutch will start to slip. It should be quite obvious when your car’s clutch is slipping when it shouldn’t be. With the clutch pedal fully out (i.e. not pressed at all), there should be no slip whatsoever. Slip can be identified by an unexpected increase in engine revs without any accompanying acceleration when your car is in gear, the clutch pedal is not pressed, and you push the throttle pedal. It will also be obvious when you attempt to accelerate up a steep hill.

Clutch Judder: Clutch judder is most noticeable when setting off from a standstill. It manifests itself as a strong vibration clutch from the engine/transmission when you release the clutch to get the car moving. It is usually something like oil or hydraulic fluid that has somehow found its way on to the surface of the clutch itself and causing it to not grip properly or smoothly when engaging, causing the juddering effect as it grips in part, then slips, then grips again and so on.  It can also be caused by misalignment of the clutch or the flywheel being slightly warped or just being plain worn out or glazed to the point it’s not getting consistent grip.

Worn Release Bearings & Dual Mass Flywheels: When they begin to fail they can sound very similar. If you can hear a low rumbling sound coming from the gearbox that goes away when you press the clutch pedal, then it’s possible you have an issue with either the release bearing or the dual mass flywheel (if your car has one).

Other Issues: There are also a number of clutch related issues you might encounter that may not be the fault of the clutch itself. Sometimes the problem is not with slipping, but with sticking. If your clutch won’t release properly, it will continue to turn the input shaft. This can cause grinding or may completely prevent your car from going into gear. Some common reasons a clutch may stick are:

  • Broken or stretched clutch cable – The cable needs the right amount of tension to push and pull effectively.
  • Leaky or defective slave and/or master clutch cylinders – Leaks keep the cylinders from building the necessary amount of pressure.
  • Air in the hydraulic line – Air affects the hydraulics by taking up space the fluid needs to build pressure.
  • Maladjusted linkage – When your foot hits the pedal, the linkage transmits the wrong amount of force.”

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