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Q: Having problems with my clutch

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The clutch on my car has been giving me trouble recently. I was driving and it was extremely difficult to get into gear. The clutch also felt like it was engaging sooner (as soon I step off the pedal) and there was more dead space. I was sitting at a light and shifted into first gear, after some difficulty, and the car lurched forward (like the plate and flywheel were engaged even though the pedal was pressed all the way in). Can this be fixed? Or does the clutch need replaced?

Based on your description, the clutch system will need to be inspected. As the clutch wears, the clutch pedal height will be affected and this will be a first indicator of a worn clutch with engagement happening closer and closer to the top of the pedal position. Another possibility, especially if gear engagement is hard could be the clutch hydraulic system. The clutch master and slave cylinders should be checked to ensure that there are no leaks or fluid passages internally as this will limit the range of motion. A clutch master or slave cylinder going bad will give more "dead space" in the clutch pedal also. You may want to enlist the help of a professional mechanic who will have the expertise and tools to diagnose this shifting issue and repair the clutch hydraulic system if necessary.

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