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Slipping and Sticking Clutches: What to Look For

An automobile clutch is designed to transfer the power from your car's engine to the transmission, thereby putting the wheels in motion -- literally. This process is easy to recognize when you're driving a car with manual transmission, as you can feel the clutch release and engage each time you press and release the pedal. This kind of control over your vehicle is one of the reasons that many people prefer a car with manual transmission.

However, because the clutch is such an integral moving part of an automobile, it suffers a fair bit of wear and tear that will eventually necessitate repairs or replacement. Below are two common signs that it might be time to replace the clutch in your car.

Slipping Clutch

A slipping clutch is one of the most common issues you might face. The clutch in your car depends on friction in order to engage the transmission and get your wheels moving, but over time that friction will wear down from use. General wear and tear can be exacerbated by things like driving in stop-and-go traffic on a regular basis or first-time drivers learning to operate a car with manual transmission.

If your clutch is slipping, you may feel a disconnect between the gas pedal and the clutch, like your vehicle isn't responding as it should when you try to accelerate. You might also notice a lack of power when you are driving uphill or towing a heavy load. If this is accompanied by a burning smell, it could be the result of a worn-down clutch creating heat as it tries to engage.

Sticking Clutch

On the other hand, your clutch may not be releasing properly. When this happens, the clutch can remain engaged with the transmission even when you press the clutch pedal. This could cause a noticeable grinding noise as the clutch tries to release, or it could simply prevent you from shifting gears altogether.

A leak that introduces air into your hydraulics can prevent the clutch from fully disengaging, which would cause you to grind gears as you try to shift up or down. Another culprit could be something like a worn or broken clutch cable, which can result from years of use. If you've had some work done on your clutch recently, it's possible that incompatible aftermarket parts were used during the repairs; this can also cause problems with the way your clutch functions.

Fortunately, these common clutch problems can be diagnosed by an auto mechanic. Contact your local auto shop today for more clutch replacement information.