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Clutch Repair

Clutches and Clutch Repair

Whether your clutch feels like it is slipping, or it feels like it is sticking or hard to depress, either can be frustrating and worrisome. A simple solution is to bring your car in to our car repair shop in Murrieta and let us check it out.


The good news is that it’s not always a major repair situation. In many instances, a clutch problem that seems to be severe is minor and easily remedied.

So, the first thing the American Auto Care Certified Mechanics do is to thoroughly check out your car to be sure the problem really is with the clutch. We will look for other problems that might make it appear there is a problem with the clutch when in reality it is something else. We will also start with simple easy-to-fix clutch problems. Maybe the clutch just needs adjustment rather than full replacement.


Common Clutch Problems


The most common problem with clutches is that the friction material on the disc wears out. The friction material on a clutch disc is very similar in how it works to the friction material on the pads of a disc brake or the shoes of a drum brake -- after a while, it wears away. When most or all of the friction material is gone, the clutch will start to slip, and eventually it won't transmit any power from the engine to the wheels.  


The clutch only wears while the clutch disc and the flywheel are spinning at different speeds. When they are locked together, the friction material is held tightly against the flywheel, and they spin in sync. It's only when the clutch disc is slipping against the flywheel that wearing occurs. So, if you are the type of driver who slips the clutch a lot, you'll wear out your clutch a lot faster. This is why you hear people telling you to not “ride” the clutch – depress the clutch to shift, and then completely release the clutch pedal when you are not actively shifting.


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 completely prevent your car from going into gear.


There are several other common clutch problems including a “hard” clutch, which means, as the name implies, the clutch pedal is hard to depress.


Here are Common Symptoms of a Clutch Problem


Like all other things, despite your best intentions and careful driving, the clutch will eventually break down. Here are the signs to watch out for that indicate clutch problems:


1) The clutch may feel spongy. An early sign of a failing clutch is it feels soft or “spongy” when depressed. To check, do a test drive and pay close attention to how your clutch feels and how far you let the clutch out before the gear catches. If you need to let the clutch out most of the way, this is a sign that your clutch is worn.


2) You notice a burning smell. A failing clutch is often accompanied by a burnt smell. This is due to friction caused by a slipping clutch.


3) It gets difficult to shift. If your car does not engage smoothly and shakes when you shift gears, this is a sure sign of a problem. This is more apparent when shifting to first gear or to reverse.


4) You hear squeals or chirps. While strange sounds may mean other things, hearing a squeal or chirp start or stop when you depress the clutch may mean a worn or damaged release bearing or pilot bushing. Aside from these sounds, growling when the clutch pedal is engaged is also a sign of clutch trouble.


5) Vibration. Vibration or jerking when the clutch is released, especially when accelerating from a stop indicates a problem in the clutch mechanism. This may indicate damaged or broken clutch disc, flywheel or pressure plate.


Being aware of these symptoms will alert you to get your car to a mechanic early while the damage may still be manageable.


Whatever the situation, we will identify the problem and let you know our findings before we start any repair work.


Call us at 951-461-2507 to schedule an appointment for diagnosis and car repair in Murrieta, or Schedule An Appointment Online.

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