The clutch safety switch is located on vehicles with manual transmissions. For vehicles with automatic transmissions, this part is called the neutral safety switch and has a similar role. The neutral safety switch prevents the vehicle from turning on while it is in gear. The clutch safety switch is located on the clutch master’s push rod or the clutch pedal. When you depress the clutch, the safety switch closes. Once the safety switch closes, the power is able to run through the ignition. After the clutch is released, the safety switch is returned to the open position.
Sometimes the clutch safety switch gets stuck open. If this happens, the vehicle will not start at all. Furthermore, the clutch safety switch can also get stuck closed. If this happens, the vehicle will start even if the clutch is not pressed down. This can be a dangerous situation because you could accidentally start the vehicle in gear without knowing it. In addition, if the vehicle goes forward or backwards and you are not ready, you risk hitting other vehicles or pedestrians.
A professional mechanic will use a multimeter to diagnose the clutch switch and circuit. They will test the voltage to check for continuity to ensure the electrical parts are working properly. If there is a problem with the clutch safety switch and/or with the circuit, the mechanic can have the clutch safety switch replaced when they test the voltage and inspect the switch itself.
Since the clutch safety switch can get stuck open or become worn and broken over time, there are a few symptoms you should be aware of that indicate your clutch safety switch will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Signs your clutch safety switch needs to be replaced include:
- The vehicle starts when the transmission is in gear and the clutch not depressed
- The engine will not start at all
- The cruise control will not work
The clutch safety switch plays an important part in the safety of your vehicle, so it should be repaired as soon as possible if you encounter any of the above signs. In addition, if the vehicle starts while it is in gear, it is not safe to drive; it is vital that you keep this in mind.