Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What Happens If My Clutch Is Slipping?

asked by on

How can I tell if my clutch is slipping?

Your clutch is what connects the engine to the manual transmission. When a clutch is working correctly, you will get a smooth clutch engagement with little to no chatter. When the clutch is fully engaged, you will have a solid engagement between the engine and transmission. When you accelerate, you will get a gradual increase in vehicle and engine speed at a constant rate depending on the gear you are in.

The clutch will slip when the clutch disc gets worn and the clutch pressure plate can no longer keep constant even pressure applied to the clutch disc to lock the engine and transmission together. The pressure plate may also get weak and not be able to apply enough pressure to keep the clutch engaged.

The symptoms of a slipping clutch will start as an increase in engine speed to accelerate but then have a lower rate of vehicle speed increase than normal. The clutch may chatter when you engage it, or the clutch will not engage smoothly with little jerks. As the clutch slipping gets worse, you will notice a small RPM engine flare before full engagement. You may not notice it in the lower gears, but it will be apparent in the higher gears. The flares will get worse and then start to happen in the lower gears also. The next stage you will notice when you take off from a stop, you will get large RPM flares and may get bad chattering of the clutch during engagement. The last stage before full clutch failure may be heavy chattering and RPM flares after the clutch is fully engaged by pressing the accelerator, and the speed will be slow or the vehicle won’t move at all. When you have full clutch failure, you may get no gear engagement at all in any gear and the vehicle will not go anywhere. Sometimes the engine will run normally and there may only be some clutch rattling noise. In any case, you should get the clutch replaced if you experience any of these symptoms.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Over manufacturer recommend

You did not specify the fluid you did not change? I suspect you are talking about the transmission fluid. You should change the fluid as soon as possible using recommended fluids only. The only problem with waiting so long to...

Q: P/s hose leak

I would not recommend using a sealant on a power steering hose as the fluid is under quite a bit of pressure (can exceed 300 psi creating tremendous potential for vaporized spray). The risk to this is that if that...

Q: ABS & SRS lights on; car shifts hard and shudders

Hi there. These repairs that were done are fairly normal for this vehicle. It is very common for this car to have issues with these systems with age. I am actually a little surprised that there were not more issues...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.