A How To Guide: 4 Simple Ways to Check Your Clutch

If you’re starting to have your doubts about how well your clutch is functioning, there are a couple of simple steps you can follow to check whether it may be time to visit your nearest brake & clutch specialists. While we have a natural tendency to believe the worst, the following steps will help you to determine if there are any immediate problems with your clutch which you need to take a look at. As a rule, it’s a good idea to do these steps regularly and within your maintenance cycles, to get a clearer idea on the wear and tear of the clutch components. This is especially important if you have a second hand car, which will have clocked a lot more miles than one that is out of the box. 

1. Starting Off with a Basic Check of the Clutch

If you’re ready to go to the shop to get a check, you may want to do a basic check yourself first, to see if it is engaging and disengaging the way it’s supposed to. With the car switched on, press on the clutch and put the car into gear. This should happen easily, with no grinding or strange noises. Keep a lookout for signs that the clutch could be slipping; primarily, this happens when it doesn’t engage properly, if it causes the engine to hesitate slightly, or as a worst case, the car may rev excessively while you are driving.

2. Going For a Drive and Testing The Clutch Operation

If step one has been successful, a test drive is the best way to check the functionality of the clutch a little further. Start by pulling off in first gear, as you would usually do. When the clutch gets released, if it shows signs of abnormal behaviour, especially if it starts to make strange noises, you may well have a problem that needs to get looked at. The clutch may be worn out, and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

3. The Wildcard Test: Pulling Away in a Higher Gear

If you’ve made it through steps 1 and 2, it’s time to try something a little more out of the box. Stop the car as usual, and put the car into third gear. Attempt to start the car, and pull away in this gear, carefully balancing the pedal with the clutch, to avoid the car from stalling. You’ll find that it pulls a lot slower than it would in first gear, but that the car should eventually pull away. Any signs of slippage or any unusual noises or smells, and you should switch the car off right away.

4. Weighing Up Your Replacement Options 

With three simple steps completed, you now have a relatively good idea on the health of your clutch. If you managed to do all three steps without any problems, step 4 is simply acknowledging that you don’t need to see a specialist about the clutch at this point. If you had any problems with steps one through three, your fourth step is to start weighing up your replacement options. 

Safety Brake & Clutch assists clients in the Gauteng area with replacement clutches, as well as priding themselves on the fact that they are experts in the field of car maintenance. If you have any questions about the checks you did, or if you’d simply like reassurance that the clutch is still in tip top shape, then it’s worth giving one of their technicians a call. If your clutch hasn’t shown signs of wear and tear yet, complete these four steps quarterly, and remember not to take chances on components that are fundamental to the healthy operation of your car.