How to Test Your Clutch

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.


Next Step

Schedule Clutch is not working Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Clutch is not working Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Clutch is not working Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(57)

Rating Summary
53
1
3
0
0
53
1
3
0
0

Augustine

12 years of experience
102 reviews
Augustine
12 years of experience
Mazda B2200 - Clutch is not working - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Augustine was on time, friendly, and was mindful of COVID safe practices. He was very knowledgeable about my old truck and was able to fix it right away. Thanks so much Augustine!!!

Juan

9 years of experience
181 reviews
Juan
9 years of experience
Mazda MX-5 Miata - Clutch is not working - Orlando, Florida
Juan was professional, nice, and good at explaining what he was doing and why. He helped me understand the issues with my car and my obtions to resolve them.

Michael

6 years of experience
75 reviews
Michael
6 years of experience
Ford Escape - Clutch is not working Inspection - Lakewood, Washington
Extremely polite and professional. He explained things to me in a way I could understand (as best he could to a senior woman) lol. He even moved my car off the street due to neighbor complaints.

Ramon

20 years of experience
146 reviews
Ramon
20 years of experience
Toyota Pickup - Clutch is not working - Tucson, Arizona
Ramon was courteous and on time. He was thorough and explained everything he was doing. I have to say, I am so impressed that I will be calling for him for my two other vehicles! And, I have already recommended this service and Ramon to my co-workers! Thank You!

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.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Fan Clutch Last?
One One of the most important parts within the cooling system of your vehicle is the fan clutch. It’s not a part that comes up often, as it’s usually pretty consistent. However, if this part should stop working the entire...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Clutch Cable Adjuster
Common signs include difficulty disengaging, loose clutch pedal, and an excessively tight clutch cable.
How to Drive Your Manual Transmission Car With a Broken Clutch
If you drive a car with a manual transmission, there will likely come a point in time when the clutch wears out or...

Related questions

Car will not move in gear after we bleed the clutch slave cylinder 2011 Dodge Caliber

Hello - if releasing the clutch pedal with the car in gear does not produce forward motion with the transmission in a forward gear, then yes, the clutch has likely failed. This would be a failure of the clutch disk...

Clutch pedal going soft after you bleed it. Has s new clutch and a auto shop says it's the master cylinder

Hello. If the clutch pedal is going soft even after it is bled, then that is an indicator that there is either a problem with the master cylinder or the slave cylinder. If the seals inside the master cylinder wear...

Clutch pedal doesn't come back up

You are experiencing the effects of a worn out clutch and pressure plate. It feels like there is a lot of play because the clutch disc is worn out. The pedal is not returning because the pressure plate springs are...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com