What Are the Warning Signs That My Manual Transmission (Clutch) Is Going Out?

If you own a car with a manual transmission, you are aware of all the nuances that go along with it. The experience of dropping the clutch at the perfect moment just cannot compare to driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. However, the amount of gear shifting that you must do does eventually wear down the clutch. Here are a few of the warning signs that your clutch may be nearing the end.

The Clutch Feels Like It Is Slipping

If the engine is revving higher than usual when you release the pedal, this is also a sign of slippage. Friction wears away at the clutch over time, which creates this very common problem. A telltale sign of clutch slippage is a burning smell.

The Transmission “Grinds” When Shifting

The clutch engaging and disengaging close to the floorboard, or the transmission grinding when you shift gears, is not necessarily a problem with the clutch. It could be related to the synchronizers, which help you smoothly shift into gear when they are working properly. When they fail, it can feel like you are trying to shift without the clutch. Sometimes gear grinding is simply caused when the driver forgets to engage the clutch.

Of course, it can also be a sign that your clutch is indeed wearing out. Driving in the city or excessively using the car can cause it to wear out faster.

The Transmission Will Not Go Into Gear

If your clutch pedal moves easily, but the transmission will not go into gear, the hydraulic fluid may be low, which means you may have a leak in the hose that connects the clutch master cylinder to the slave cylinder, or a leak in the cylinders themselves.

If you are unable to easily identify a leak, there may be a mechanical problem with the clutch disc, release bearing, or pressure plate. The transmission would have to be removed if these parts need to be fixed. You will most likely need some help to diagnose the exact issue, so it is a good idea to bring your vehicle to a technician.

The Clutch Pedal Just Feels Odd

You know your car better than anyone, so if your clutch pedal fades or feels odd in any way, trust your instinct and get your car checked. When a clutch starts to “fade,” it often seems to fall to the floorboard with very little pressure.

If you notice any of these warning signs that your clutch may be going out, not to worry. It is a common part of owning a car with a manual transmission and an easy thing to fix, but it is something that you should take care of as soon as you notice a problem. Having a well-maintained clutch is essential to keeping you on the road, and it will cost much less to fix if you catch it early.