Signs your clutch is going

By David Sholicar

The clutch may not be the most glamorous part of the drivetrain, but it needs to be working properly in order to get the performance and safety you expect from your vehicle.


There could be up to 10 reasons you might need a new clutch and in our experience, it is always a good idea to get a professional opinion. It is better to be proactive and have your clutch checked regularly to avoid major problems. And while you are getting the clutch checked, why not have our tyre professionals look at the state of your wheels and tyres. Even with top brands such as Pirelli, Falken, Bridgestone and Sumitomo, tyres require regular maintenance.

While there may be one or more of 10 reasons you might need a new clutch, years of experience tell us that signs to look for include a clutch pedal that is not responding as it usually does. If your clutch is sticking, vibrating or the 'bite point' has changed, then you might need a new clutch. To understand what the clutch does, think of it as a mechanism to separate the engine and the wheels, enabling you to change gear. A clutch has three main components, these being the flywheel, the pressure plate and the clutch disc. Any of these components can wear over time, especially with a lot of stop-start driving.

Other signs to look for include strange noises. If your clutch is squeaking, grating or whining then this is another indicator that your clutch may need attention. Another common problem which suggests that a clutch may be wearing out is when you can rev the engine, but the transfer of power is limited and the car simply does not accelerate as it should. If it becomes difficult to change gears, then this is a further classic sign that your clutch could be wearing out. If ignored, you may find one day that the clutch will fail to function and you will be unable to select a gear or to gain traction.

A whining noise, in particular, may suggest a worn thrust bearing which, if left unaddressed, can lead to clutch failure down the line. A burning smell may suggest that the pressure plate has become worn and is beginning to slip.

It is important to address any issues with the clutch as soon as possible. As with anything mechanical, early attention can save significant sums at a later stage and is essential from a safety perspective alone. Driving with a faulty clutch may risk sudden failure and has the potential to cause an accident. Examples include pulling out in the face of oncoming traffic only to stop when you lose traction. Similarly, failure on a steep hill can result in loss of control and has the potential to cause a serious collision.

Protyre makes it easy to book your car in for service with our handy website booking form. Even if you don’t think your car needs work, why not book in for a free vehicle check? You may be very glad you did!

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About the author

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By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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