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Like your brake pedal, your clutch pedal should have a firm feel when you press it. It should offer resistance as you push it toward the floor, and stop shy of the actual floorboard. When you depress the pedal, you should also be able to change gears. However, if your clutch pedal goes all the way to the floor and you can’t change gears, there’s definitely something wrong. The problem will depend on the type of clutch system in your car.
There are two types of clutch systems used in manual transmission vehicles – cable operated and hydraulic. Cable systems were more common a few years ago, but hydraulic systems have gained in popularity, so there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll have either.
The simplest way to tell is to open the hood and see if you can spot two components on the firewall that look like master cylinders. One is the master cylinder for your brakes, and the other is the clutch master cylinder. If you don’t see two things that look like master cylinders, you have a cable-operated clutch.
If you have a cable-operated clutch, chances are good that the cable has broken (this is very common, and will occur as your car ages unless you take preemptive action and replace the cable before it snaps). The cable runs from the clutch pedal to the clutch assembly itself, and allows you to engage the clutch and change gears.
If you have a hydraulic clutch, the problem is likely with the master or slave cylinder. These work in the same way as your brake hydraulic system. When you press the pedal, it pressurizes the fluid in the system, which then allows you to change gears. If the fluid is low, or the master or slave cylinder has failed, you won’t be able to change gears.
Broken Clutch Cable: The most common reason to have a clutch pedal that goes all the way to the floor is a broken clutch cable. This is extremely common, particularly on older cars. Replacing the cable will allow you to engage the clutch and change gears once more.
Missing Connector Rod: The clutch cable runs to a throw out fork and bearing. It connects with a small rod. If this rod is missing, the cable won’t attach to the fork and your pedal will go to the floor.
Low Fluid: If you have a hydraulic clutch, there are a couple of other things it could be. One is low fluid in the master/slave cylinder. This can be checked by visually inspecting the reservoir. If the fluid is below the “full” line, then you have low fluid.
Failed Clutch Master Cylinder: The most common way for a clutch master cylinder to fail is for the internal seals to begin leaking fluid out (meaning that you’ll be low on fluid). This fluid may or may not run onto the clutch pedal, and it may or may not be visible on the firewall or the back of the engine.
Failed Slave Cylinder: A failed slave cylinder is less common than a failed master cylinder, but the symptoms (and causes) are generally the same. Seals break down and begin leaking, leading to low fluid levels in the system.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to inspect the clutch pedal, the cable or hydraulic system to verify operation and determine the actual cause of the problem. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
The mechanic will first inspect the clutch pedal, as well as its connection to either the clutch cable or the master cylinder. The mechanic will check the fluid level in the reservoir if this is a hydraulic system, as well as inspecting for leaks.
If your clutch pedal goes to the floor, you won’t be able to engage the clutch, and you won’t be able to shift gears. In short, you’ll be stuck. Driving without an operable clutch cable is not recommended. One of our professional mechanics can inspect and repair your clutch system.