How to Replace a Clutch Switch

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Clutch switches are designed to keep the vehicle from starting in gear. When the clutch pedal is in the up position, the clutch switch is normally open with no power to the ignition switch. When pushing down on the clutch pedal, the clutch switch closes the circuit to the ignition switch allowing the starter to the engine to engage. The clutch switch may need replacing, so follow along to figure out how the process works.

There are two ways to determine if the clutch switch is failing or has failed. First, the contacts inside the clutch switch have corroded or burned and will not make a connection to complete the circuit from the clutch switch to the ignition switch. Second, the clutch switch wiring could be damaged, burned, or corroded and will not complete the connection from the clutch switch to the ignition switch.

  • Warning: Tampering with or removing a clutch switch to eliminate an issue is very dangerous.

Part 1 of 5: Verifying the clutch switch condition

Materials Needed

Step 1: Locate the clutch pedal. On the back side of the clutch pedal you will find the clutch switch.

Step 2: Check for drag. Pull up on the clutch pedal and push in the rod that sticks out of the switch that make constant contact to the clutch pedal.

There should be no drag on the rod movement.

Step 2: Check the wires to the clutch pedal. Make sure that the wires are not broken or loose.

If your clutch switch wire harness has a plug, then remove the plug and check the contacts inside for corrosion and moisture. If there is moisture currently present, you need to spray an electrical cleaner onto the contacts. If there is corrosion in the plug, you need to use baking soda and water to clean out the corrosion.

ignition switch in the off position

  • Note: Make sure that the ignition switch is in the off position before using baking soda and water on contacts.

Part 2 of 5: Preparing the vehicle

Material Needed

Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat, hard surface. This will allow you to work safely.

Step 2: Place wheel chocks around the rear tires. These are the tires that will be remaining on the ground.

Engage the parking brake to the lock the rear tires from moving.

Step 2: Put transmission in neutral. Once the wheel chocks are in place and the parking brake is on place the transmission in neutral.

Part 2 of 5: Removing the clutch switch

Materials Needed

  • Boxed end wrenches
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Pedal depressor tool
  • Protective gloves
  • Ratchet with metric and standard sockets
  • Safety glasses
  • Side cutters
  • Torque bit set

Step 1: Remove dash covers. Remove those that are covering the clutch pedal bracket.

Step 2: Unplug the harness to the switch. If the switch is hard wired in, you will need to label the wires and then cut them with your side cutters.

jam nut on clutch pedal

Step 2: Access the switch jam nut. Use the pedal depressor and position the clutch pedal far enough off the clutch switch to have access to the switch jam nut.

Step 4: Loosen the jam nut and remove clutch switch. This nut that secures the clutch switch to the clutch pedal bracket.

Remove the clutch switch from the clutch pedal bracket.

Part 4 of 5: Installing the clutch switch

  • Boxed end wrenches
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Protective gloves
  • Ratchet with metric and standard sockets
  • Safety glasses
  • Torque bit set
  • Wire crimpers
  • Wire strippers

Step 1: Install the switch. Put the adjusting nut on the new clutch switch and install the switch into the clutch pedal bracket.

Step 2: Put on the locking nut on the clutch switch. Leave the nut loose so you can adjust the switch.

Step 2: Release the brake pedal. Do this by turning the switch clockwise or counterclockwise to adjust the switch to where it is in full contact with clutch pedal arm.

Step 4: Access the switch jam nut. Use the pedal depressor and position the clutch pedal far enough off the clutch switch to have access to the switch jam nut.

Step 5: Tighten the jam nut by hand. Turn the adjuster 1/8 turn more to secure the clutch switch to the clutch pedal bracket.

graphic showing appropriate placing of clutch pedal and switch

Step 6: Verify contact between clutch pedal and switch. Remove the pedal depressor, verifying that the clutch pedal is in full contact with the clutch switch.

Step 7: Plug into the harness. If you had to cut the wires, match up the wires to the new switch.

Strip the wire bare using your wire strippers. Use butt connectors with built in heat shrink and place the wires inside them. Use your crimper tool and crimp the butt connectors to the wires.

Step 8: Reinstall dash covers. Install any dash covers that you had to remove to have access to the clutch pedal bracket.

Part 5 of 5: Test the clutch switch

Step 1: Remove the wheel chocks from the vehicle’s wheels. This will prevent damage to the clutch if the vehicle was to move during the test.

turning car on

Step 2: Turn the ignition key to the start position. At this time nothing should happen.

Step 2: Step on the clutch pedal and turn the ignition switch to start. With the clutch pedal off the switch, the circuit to the starting position on the ignition switch should have a complete circuit.

The engine will start.

Step 4: Repeat the process three times. This verifies that the clutch switch is working correctly.

If your vehicle will not start with the clutch in the down position or if you have problems with the vehicle starting with the clutch switch engaged with the clutch pedal, then there may be further diagnosis needed. If the problem persists, then you should seek out help from one of YourMechanic’s certified mechanics that can inspect the clutch and transmission and diagnosis the problem.


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Recent Clutch is not working Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Clutch is not working Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

39

Rating Summary
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William

18 years of experience
129 reviews
William
18 years of experience
Nissan 300ZX - Clutch is not working - Lehigh Acres, Florida
William carefully listened to my description of the issue, asked detailed questions, tested the operation of the clutch and determined the problem to be a worn clutch, not the slave cylinder as I suspected. He impressed me with his detailed description of the worn part involved, how it caused my car's symptoms, and why replacing the slave cylinder would not correct them.
Kia Rio - Clutch is not working - Naples, Florida
Very good service

Berchel

16 years of experience
97 reviews
Berchel
16 years of experience
Chevrolet Cavalier - Clutch is not working - Baltimore, Maryland
100% Satisfied. I booked an inspection to have my brother's Chevy Cavalier checked out. His clutch system failed, rendering his car stranded in the parking lot of his apartment complex, in Baltimore City. My brother is a disabled vet, who lives independently, yet relies heavily upon family to help him. We live in Frederick, MD. For a month, we racked our brains, trying to figure out how to get his car from Baltimoret to our local garage without spending a fortune. Low and behold, I found Your Mechanic and Berchel came to our rescue! Berchel had a prior cancellation and contacted me 3 hours ahead of our scheduled appointment to inquire if we could meet sooner. When told, my brother's were still in Frederick and had to drive to Baltimore to meet him, he agreed to stay in the area and patiently wait for their arrival. In the interim, he had gone to the address where the car was located. My brother's were impressed by Berchel's friendly personality, excellent customer services skills, automotive knowledge, mechanical skills and ability to quickly diagnose the clutch malfunction and problem solve to make it temporarily drivable. Berchel explained everything he was doing, why he was doing it as, he checked the car. He was thorough, knowledgeable, honest and upfront. With his expertise, Berchel managed to get the clutch to function, so my brother COULD drive his Chevy Cavalier, from Baltimore to Frederick, for repair at our local garage. We are so grateful and appreciative. He is a top notch mechanic and wonderful human being!! Thank you, Berchel. 

Edmar

20 years of experience
144 reviews
Edmar
20 years of experience
Mazda 6 - Clutch is not working Inspection - Frisco, Texas
He is efficient, knowledgeable, kind and great at what he does. I am so impressed and pleased with my services. Thank you so much!

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Subaru Outback - Clutch is not working - Denver, Colorado
Scott was very thorough with his work on my Subaru, communicated effectively to coordinate my appointment, and provided excellent recommendations for further services to resolve my problem (which ended up being more of a problem than initially anticipated). Very helpful and friendly, and I would highly recommend!

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