How to Test Your Clutch

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While manual transmissions are no longer as popular with automotive manufacturers as they once were, there are still many vehicles on the road today that are equipped with manual transmissions, and thus have clutches.

An automotive clutch is a friction disc that is located inside the vehicle’s transmission. It is one of the most important components in a manual transmission vehicle’s driveline, as it is the component responsible for transferring the power from the engine through to to the transmission, so that it can be distributed to the wheels.

Clutches operate using friction lining, so over time they can wear out and begin to falter in performance. When a clutch wears out, it starts to display symptoms such as noise, vibration, and slippage. If left unchanged, the clutch will fail to transfer any of the engine power to the wheels and will need to be replaced eventually.

You can use a few simple tests to check whether the clutch is functioning properly or if it needs to be replaced.

Part 1 of 1: Test the clutch

person stepping on clutch pedal

Step 1: Check the clutch. Before checking to see if a clutch needs to be replaced, see if it is engaging and disengaging properly.

With the vehicle running, step on the clutch pedal and put the vehicle into gear. The transmission should shift into gear without any grinding or popping sounds.

If your vehicle’s clutch is hydraulically operated, make sure that the fluid level is topped off and ensure that there are no leaks or other problems with the system.

If your vehicle’s clutch is cable operated, examine the cable assembly and make sure that it is functioning correctly.

Pay attention to any signs that may indicate that the clutch is slipping. If the clutch is slipping, it may not engage properly and will cause the engine to shake, hesitate, or even rev to high rpms while driving.

Step 2: Drive and test the clutch operation. Put the vehicle into first gear and drive off from a stop, as usual. When releasing the clutch pedal to take off, pay extra attention to any abnormal behavior or cues that vehicle may exhibit, such as any grinding or squeaking noises, burning smells, or slippage, indicating that there may be a problem.

If you notice slippage, squeaking or grinding noises, or any sort of burning smells, the clutch may be excessively worn and may need to be replaced.

Step 3: Test the clutch by attempting to take off from third gear. Once the car has been road tested, take the car to an empty parking lot and take off from a stop with the car in third gear.

You will have to release the pedal very slowly and give the car some throttle to prevent it from stalling.

When releasing the pedal, the vehicle should eventually take off, albeit very slowly.

If when you try to take off the vehicle begins to display any signs of slippage, abnormal noises, or burning smells, then the clutch may need to be replaced due to excessive wear.

person replacing clutch disc

Step 4: Replace the clutch if necessary. If a problem is detected, you may need to replace the clutch with a suitable replacement.

You can easily test a clutch while driving and see whether it needs to be replaced. However, if you are not sure about the source of the problem, or if you feel that the clutch needs to be replaced, this is something that any professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, should be able to help you with.


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Recent Clutch is not working Inspection reviews

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YourMechanic Clutch is not working Inspection Service

Average Rating

5/5

Number of Reviews

41

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
99 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
157 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
353 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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