This week at Ward Automotive in Bel Air, Maryland, we had a customer come in who was experiencing problems with his clutch. He has a manual transmission and was noticing a strange vibration whenever he would let out the clutch. Because clutch problems are a common concern among our customers with manual transmissions, let us explain what might go wrong with your car’s clutch.
1. Your master or slave cylinder might start to leak. There are two types of clutches—hydraulic and cable-operated. Most cars these days are hydraulic, so they rely on fluid from your cylinders to actuate the clutch and this can happen either internally or externally. If your master or slave cylinder starts to lose fluid, it can become unable to produce hydraulic pressure.
How you can tell: If your cylinders are leaking, you might see fluid pooling up under your vehicle or you might notice a strange odor as a result of the fluid dripping on the exhaust.
2. Your flywheel might become warped. The flywheel is bolted to the end of the crankshaft, much like the way your rotors are connected to your axles. Over time, your flywheel can get overheated, which can cause it to warp or crack.
How you can tell: As a result of your flywheel’s surface becoming uneven, you might experience what we call “clutch chatter,” which are the vibrations you might feel as you let out the clutch.
3. Your clutch disc might be worn out. The clutch disc is splined to the input shaft of your transmission and it can wear out over time with use or due to your particular driving habits.
How you can tell: When your clutch disc becomes worn out, it causes your clutch pedal to release higher. In some cases, it can become so worn that your car can have trouble accelerating under a heavy load.
4. Your pressure plate might be worn out. The pressure plate is what clamps the clutch disc to the flywheel. Since it is one of the hardest-working parts of your clutch, it can become worn out easily.
How you can tell: As with your flywheel, a worn pressure plate can also result in clutch chatter.
5. Your throwout bearing might be worn out. The throwout bearing is what actuates the pressure plate. It rides on the input shaft for the transmission. Because it’s constantly spinning, it can become worn out and lose its lubrication.
How you can tell: If you hear a squeaking sound when your car is running, but the sound goes away when you activate the clutch, it’s possibly due to your throwout bearing being too worn.
At Ward Automotive in Harford County we can service all of your car’s needs. If you ever have a question or concern about the condition of your clutch, bring your car in for an examination. We will make sure that your car is safe and healthy to be on the road. And remember—we service all of the towns in Harford County, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Burns Corner, Darlington, Edgewood, Fallston, Havre de Grace, Hickory Hills, Jarrettsville, Joppatowne, Perryman, Pleasant Hills, Pylesville, and Riverside. At Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive, we hope to be the one-stop shop for all of your auto repair needs.