Despite their robust design, which is required for all the engaging and disengaging of gears during each drive, clutches can wear out over time. A faulty clutch tends to worsen if it's not addressed promptly, which can lead to a higher repair bill than was originally necessary. Here are three signs to look out for that indicate you have a problem with your clutch:
Lack Of Resistance
Lack of resistance when you engage the clutch pedal can indicate the master cylinder has failed, which you can check yourself with a simple test. Ask a friend to observe the brake fluid reservoir level while you fully depress the clutch pedal. If the brake fluid level rises and the clutch pedal has no resistance, the master cylinder needs to be replaced. A hose leak can also cause the clutch pedal to lose resistance, so check the condition of the hose that connects the brake fluid reservoir tank to the master cylinder.
Your clutch should slip a little during gear changes to prevent damage to the drivetrain and keep the car running smoothly. However, if your clutch is slipping at other times, it can easily damage the pressure plate and flywheel. If your clutch is slipping when the clutch pedal is released, it may be due to a worn clutch disc. The only way to check the condition of the disc is to remove the pressure plate, so it's best to have a qualified mechanic look at it for you. A broken rear crankshaft seal is another common reason for a clutch slipping and causes oil to leak. You won't necessarily see evidence of this oil leak on your driveway, but if you seem to be losing oil, you should have the crankshaft seal checked.
A contaminated clutch disc can cause your clutch to shudder when it's in gear. Clutch discs can become contaminated as a result of a coolant or oil leak, which you should be able to detect by inspecting the clutch housing. Shuddering can also be caused by damage to the pressure plate or flywheel, which can only be inspected by stripping back the clutch.
As it's necessary to strip back the clutch to access its various components, it's cost-effective to have the entire clutch inspected when a fault is being investigated. This saves you paying for labour to strip it back and replace a part only to find another needed clutch repair a few months later.