Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Can I Tell If My Clutch Is Slipping?

Slipping Clutch

For some drivers, shifting a manual transmission is second nature. Others prefer to rely on automatic transmissions. Drivers of automatic vehicles don’t have to worry about developing bad shifting habits that can cause a slipping clutch, or other clutch problems. However, a bad clutch can be the result of poor habits in hilly or heavily congested areas. So if you think your clutch is slipping, how can you be sure? Watch for the following:

  • Car hesitates before accelerating: This means that the clutch is likely not delivering enough of a boost to the drive wheels via the transmission. You might also find that if you’re pulling a load, you don’t have quite the power that you need. This hesitation can be a sign of a slipping clutch.

  • Burning smell: If you think you smell something burning under the hood, it could be leaking oil, or damaged wiring. Or, it could mean you have a bad clutch.

  • Clutch disengages too quickly: If you push down on the clutch pedal, and it doesn’t take much to disengage it, then it’s probably slipping.

  • RPMs are too high: Often, you can diagnose clutch problems in a manual transmission by hitting the road. See if your engine needs more RPMs than usual to reach a certain speed. This is another indication that your clutch needs to be replaced. You can also check it out in a parking lot. Stop the vehicle but leave the engine running, and then put the car in second or third gear. Let the clutch out. If the car doesn’t stall, the RPMs go up, and the vehicle remains in place, you have a slipping clutch.

These are four of the most common signs of a slipping clutch. A qualified mechanic can confirm if this is the problem and then take steps to correct it.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...

Related questions

Q: Replaced a clutch slave cylinder now having trouble bleeding it

Hi, thanks for writing in. In order to bleed a slave cylinder properly, it should be bench bleed just like a master cylinder. The best way to do this is to secure the slave cylinder into a voice connect plastic...

Q: Lots of engine noise, car is too new to have this problem

The issue you are experiencing is the engine and transmission during a cold start and warm up cycle. Your driving experience until the engine warms up can be different than after it is warm. There is a manufacturer recall that...

Q: Transmission slipping and Check Engine Light is on

Hi there. From your description of the transmission slipping when warm, leads me to believe, the transmission fluid is not low. The vehicle's computer is, apparently, recognizing the fault and turns the Check Engine Light on. Accessing the codes stored...