How Do I Tell If My Clutch Is Slipping?

Have you noticed your clutch pedal becoming sticky or heard rumbling or squeaking coming from the footwell of your car? It could mean your clutch is slipping, so you are in the right place to find out more information. A slipping clutch typically requires a clutch replacement, so it’s important to understand what it is and what to do next. In this article we discuss the ins and outs of a clutch (pun intended), as well as the signs, causes, and next steps to take in the event of a slipping clutch.

What Is A Clutch?

If you drive a manual transmission car, you have a clutch. Its main function is to engage and disengage your engine from the transmission and allow you to change gears. Engaging the clutch also allows you to stop your car while your engine is running – without it, a manual transmission vehicle would stall. The clutch is an essential part of your vehicle, so it is important to know when it’s starting to fail or slip.

What Is A Slipping Clutch?

A ‘slipping’ clutch is essentially a clutch that is not engaging fully with the flywheel when the clutch pedal is released. This means that not all of the power from the engine is being delivered to the wheels of the vehicle, so you will have trouble moving forward or accelerating quickly. Drivers of most automatic transmission vehicles do not need to worry about a slipping clutch, but it is a common issue seen in manual cars. Clutches are a wear item that do need to be replaced over time, but a worn clutch can actually be caused by poor gear-changing habits.

Signs Of A Slipping Clutch

There are a number of signs that indicate you have a slipping clutch. To help you identify whether your clutch is slipping, we recommend that you watch out for:

  • Sticky, spongy or loose clutch pedal
  • Rumbling noises as you press down on the clutch pedal
  • Difficulty changing gears
  • Low acceleration or hesitation to accelerate when pressing down on the accelerator pedal
  • Loss of acceleration as you drive
  • Burning smell when accelerating

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms of a slipping clutch, you should consider taking your car to a mechanic as soon as possible and let them diagnose this issue.

What Causes A Clutch To Slip?

A slipping clutch can be caused by a number of factors. Generally speaking, a clutch should last between 80,000 and 160,000 kilometres. However, there are certain things that will wear your clutch down a lot faster. The two most common causes of premature clutch wear are:

  • Poor driving / gear changing habits – The way you treat your clutch impacts on its longevity. If you accelerate very quickly after changing gears or shift gears aggressively, your clutch can wear down a lot faster. A slipping clutch is also common when you regularly drive a manual car in a high-traffic area that involves a lot of stop-start driving.
  • Poor quality vehicle – Older cars, as well as cars that have a high mileage, will be more likely to experience a slipping clutch. Lack of maintenance can also cause your clutch to wear down more quickly. It is important to schedule regular vehicle maintenance and services to ensure your vehicle and all its components are in good health.
  • Do You Suspect Your Clutch Is Slipping?

    If you suspect that your clutch is slipping, you should stop driving straight away and contact a trusted mechanic as soon as possible. Many vehicles go through multiple clutch replacements throughout their lifespan, and it is crucial to ensure your safety as you drive. Contact the team at Australian Mechanical about your slipping clutch today to discuss your options. We’ll have you back on the road safely in no time.

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