JDM P/L performs clutch replacements at our workshop in Charmhaven.
The most common issue with a clutch is a worn clutch plate. When this occurs, we replace the clutch plate & pressure plate, machine your flywheel (or offer a single mass from a dual mass system). In some instances, it will also be recommended to replace the clutch hydraulics-the clutch slave & master cylinders.
Clutches cannot be easily inspected. Be sure to look out for the warning signs (described below) and have your vehicle regularly serviced.
Unfortunately, there can be other gearbox issues that make the driver assume it’s a clutch problem. An example of this would be worn synchro rings, which allow the gears to synchronise their rotation speeds prior to being engaged.
What cars are clutches found in?
In most cases, a clutch are found only in vehicles with a manual transmissions. Now days with newer vehicles there is sometimes an exception to the rule though-mostly newer European cars that operate an Automated Manual Transmission.
Clutches can be controlled manually, or by a computer.
How does a clutch work?
The main components of a clutch are a flywheel, pressure plate (aka clutch disc), pilot bearing, clutch fork and throw-out bearing.
The flywheel and pressure plate are bolted together, this is attached to the crankshaft of the vehicle (the crankshaft converts power from the engine into the rotation of the wheels).
The clutch disc is located between the flywheel and pressure plate. The disc has two frictioned surfaces that allow it to grip to the smooth surfaces of the flywheel and pressure plate.
When there is no pressure on the clutch pedal, springs inside the pressure plate clamping the disc, flywheel and pressure plate together. This allows all three components to spin together, thereby allowing the vehicle to move.
When the clutch is engaged, the clamping force from the pressure plate is relieved, and the clutch disc spins independently of the pressure plate and flywheel. In other words, applying the clutch temporarily severs the connection between the transmission and the crankshaft.
What are the symptoms of a failing clutch?
The following signs indicate your clutch may be worn or failing
- Slippage under load – when driving uphill pressing the accelerator will result in higher revs without additional speed gained
- Crunching sounds (usually in reverse or first gear)
- Shuddering when changing gears
- Inability to depress the clutch pedal
- The clutch pedal is higher off the floor
- Difficulty changing gears
- Strange burning smell
How much does it cost to replace a clutch?
A clutch replacement could vary between $600 to $3,000 upwards.
The cost will vary depending on the vehicle and whether it has a dual-mass flywheel or a single-mass flywheel.
Every clutch will eventually fail due to wear and tear and it is important to recognise the above symptoms so you can recognise when it is time for an inspection. Driving with a worn clutch can cause further damage to other components of the vehicle and will increase the cost of repairs.
How long does the average clutch last?
How long your clutch lasts will depend on a number of unique factors including :
- Driving habits
- Weight & physics of the vehicle
- Whether the vehicle is used for towing
- If the vehicle is used for 4WDing
- Regularly riding the clutch up steep driveways or mountains
The average could be anywhere from 100,000 to 220,000km, however, this could be much shorter or longer and there are no guarantees.
What does bleeding a clutch mean?
The term “bleeding a clutch” refers to removing all air from the clutch system, master cylinder, slave cylinder. Bleeding will resolve problems relating to a spongy or inconsistent clutch pedal feeling.
Tips for caring for you clutch:
If you do a lot of towing it may be worthwhile having a heavy-duty clutch installed to enable your clutch to manage heavy loads. A standard clutch is not designed for labour-intensive towing.
Clutch systems explained
Clutches are mainly comprised of a flywheel, disc, pressure plate and throwout bearing.