Car Clutch Maintenance – How to Avoid Costly Repair

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Wondering what car clutch maintenance routines really work? We’ll discuss here the most basic but vital car clutch maintenance works you should be doing.

If you drive a manual transmission car, you likely understand the importance of your clutch. Your clutch allows you to change gears and you’ll notice having more difficulty shifting gears if your clutch is wearing out. It can also be one of the more costly car repairs. So proper car clutch maintenance will help extend the life of your transmission. Furthermore, your routines and prevent more expensive transmission repairs.

Image: Vehicles Run

How Does the Clutch Work?

Your car’s clutch transmits engine power to the gearbox and also allows that transmission to be interrupted while a new gear is selected. When your clutch is engaged, or when you are not pressing down the clutch pedal, power is being transmitted to the gearbox. When your clutch is disengaged, or when the pedal is fully depressed, power is no longer being transmitted from your engine to the transmission.

There are several moving parts within your clutch, including the flywheel, pressure plate, and throw-out bearing and release system. These all work together to engage or disengage your clutch. They also ensure that you’re able to smoothly change gears as necessary. So regular car clutch maintenance is necessary so it won’t fail and cause your accident.

The Clutch Friction Disc

The clutch contains several components that are essential for normal operation of your car. However, the most common source of clutch problems is the friction disc, which connects with the flywheel and can wear out over time.

The purpose of the friction disc is simple – to transfer power from the engine to the gearbox. So think of it as a giant brake pad that connects with your engine to provide the friction required to transfer energy from the flywheel to the transmission.

When the clutch pedal is released, the friction disc presses up against the flywheel, causing the clutch and the engine to rotate at equal speed. When the clutch pedal is pressed down, the clutch is pulled back and friction is released.

The friction disc constantly comes in and out of contact with the flywheel, which can eventually lead to wear. When the friction disc of a clutch is worn down, it can also causes the clutch to “slip” and fail to rotate at the same speed as the flywheel.

Since the clutch doesn’t rotate at the same speed as the engine – or takes a while to reach the same speed as the engine – this drastically reduces the car’s performance, and sometimes prevents it from even being able to drive on an incline.

Clutch slippage is a compounding problem. Since slipping increases the amount of friction between the clutch and the flywheel, the more you let your clutch slip, the worse the problem will become until the clutch is replaced.

4 Tips Car Clutch Maintenance Tips

Proper clutch maintenance can make your car’s life longer and your driving safer.

Because your car’s clutch is a complex system of several moving parts, when one part begins to wear out, it can cause problems with the other parts with which it operates. And this can easily snowball into a costly clutch repair or even a larger transmission repair.

So to help you avoid the dreaded expensive repairs, we now give you a few tips to make sure you don’t cause extra wear and tear on these essential parts.

1. Avoid Overheating

Heat is one of your clutch’s worst enemies. This is true of most components within your car but is especially true with the clutch, transmission, and engine. These three systems work closely together and can easily overheat if abused or if the cooling system is not working properly.

Your engine generates power, which is transmitted via the clutch to the transmission and then to your driveshaft, axles, and wheels. So when any of these parts are exposed to excess heat, it leads to extra wear and tears. Hence whether this heat is from improper cooling or too much friction, it’s important to be aware of how much heat your clutch is being forced to handle.

2. Don’t Ride the Clutch

One way to cause extra heat within your clutch is by “riding” your clutch. This can mean not fully disengaging (or depressing) the clutch pedal when stationary or resting your foot on the clutch when driving. To prevent wearing out your throw-out bearing faster than usual, be sure to only engage your clutch when you have to change gears and otherwise keep your foot on the floor next to the pedal.

3. Regular Fluid Maintenance

Over time, because of the heat generated by using your clutch, there may be air pockets that build up in the hydraulic fluid used within your clutch. When air pockets build up in the system, you will notice your clutch pedal feels softer or mushy. If you’re handy with cars, you may be able to bleed the system at home by having a friend pump the clutch pedal while you open the bleed screw. However, if you aren’t used to performing any maintenance on your car at home, you should instead make an appointment with a mechanic at a trusted car repair shop like IT Garage to have them bleed the system.

4. Test Your Thermostat

Your car’s thermostat measures the engine temperature. If it isn’t working properly, it will overheat the transmission, hence a part of your regular car clutch maintenance. Pay attention to how your temperature gauge moves when you run your car. It should go steadily up and then hold at a reasonable temperature. But if you’re comfortable with some at-home maintenance, you can test your thermostat by removing it from your car and putting it in a pan of water. The water should be at the right temperature for what the thermostat is rated and then it should open. As the water cools, the thermostat should close. But if you don’t regularly do similar checks on your car at home and are not comfortable trying it out, you can take your car to an auto shop and have a mechanic check whether your thermostat is working properly.

Signs You Need Car Clutch Maintenance

There are a variety of ways you can tell when your clutch is wearing out or in need of regular maintenance. Depending on what you notice, you may just need simple car clutch maintenance or you may be in need of a more complex clutch repair.

Some symptoms of necessary car clutch maintenance include:

  • Spongy, sticking, vibrating, or loose clutch pedal
  • Squeaking or grumbling sound when the clutch is engaged
  • Poor acceleration
  • Difficulty shifting gears
  • And finally, a slipping clutch
Auto mechanic crossed hands and looking at camera while standing under lifting car in repair garage

Any time you’re worried about a problem with your clutch, it’s important to take your car to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible to try and stay ahead of bigger car repairs. Your clutch and transmission are complex systems and repairs can quickly snowball when not dealt with proactively. But if you see any damage, then it’s time to check in your car for clutch repair. Have your car clutch maintenance or repair at a reliable auto shop like IT Garage Services.

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