Worn Clutch Symptoms to Watch Out For

Your clutch is a complicated, multi-part mechanism that plays a crucial role in your car’s ability to change gears. A failed or worn clutch can leave you stranded on the side of the road or with an unexpected and rather large mechanic bill. Luckily, your clutch is a rather “vocal” piece of machinery; it has many ways of telling a driver that it’s not doing so well. 

Worried you’re clutch is about to go kaput? Here are the top worn clutch symptoms to watch out for.

How do I know if my clutch needs replacing?

A worn clutch’s symptoms are pretty easy to spot. Unlike some maintenance questions (such as, “How long until an oil change?” or, “How much does a Texas car inspection sticker cost?”) your car will likely begin to tell you it needs help long before you begin searching on the internet. Of course, it’s easier to catch on to worn clutch symptoms if you already know what they are!  

Worn clutch symptoms: Feel

Just like when your car heater begins blowing cold air, your clutch will likely also feeling “off” when it starts having issues. So, what does a worn clutch feel like?

  • Spongy: When drivers press the clutch pedal, they normally feel a reasonable amount of resistance from the clutch. The clutch disk is, after all, made up of heavy metal and springs. In other words, if you feel like you’re stepping into a bubble bath when pressing down your clutch, then your clutch is likely beginning to get worn out.
  • Vibrating or shuddering: Your clutch disc can become warped or worn down via overheating. When the surface of the clutch is no longer smooth, it can cause vibrations when it’s being engaged. Some drivers feel this sensation the most through the gear stick.
  • Slippery: In this scenario, the clutch itself isn’t going to feel slippery, but the driver may feel like they’re slipping between gears when they press down on the clutch pedal. Alternatively, the driver might feel like their gears are “slipping” when the clutch fails to engage and the car engine revs without the car itself accelerating. Many drivers note that the first signs of slipping occur when they’re trying to put their car in reverse since that maneuver is heavily reliant on a healthy clutch. 

Worn clutch symptoms: Smell 

  • An acrid burning smell: What’s that smell? You’re on the highway, so it can’t be dinner burning, right? Right. Rather, that burnt-rubber smell wafting through the breeze might be coming from an overheated, worn clutch. This smell occurs most frequently when you find yourself in stop-and-go traffic (aka Houston rush hour). To put it bluntly, if your clutch is slipping badly, it’s going to smell like someone pissed on a campfire :).

Worn clutch symptoms: Sound  

  • Grinding or squealing: There are several sounds that car can emit which should make you turn down the radio and listen more closely. Your car A/C making a loud noise is one of these, and a grinding or squealing noise occurring when you try to shift gears is another. This grinding noise may be coming from your car trying to engage a worn down disc. If you hear a grinding noise when changing gears, we highly recommend visiting your local mechanic instead of turning the music back up and pretending like nothing is wrong.

Diagnose your worn clutch symptoms at Colony One Auto Repair

Getting a proper clutch problems diagnosis as soon as you notice problems with your clutch can help you both avoid getting stranded and save for a clutch replacement long before the bill lands on your desk.

Not sure how to read your worn clutch symptoms? With over 275,000 cars serviced since 1991, the mechanics at Colony One Auto Repair can help put your worries to rest.

Get back on the road as soon as possible with some of the best mechanics in the greater Houston area. Call Colony One Auto at 281-980-4440 or contact us online today.

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