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Summary
  • Experts recommend replacing or repairing your clutch every 75,000 miles since its average lifespan lasts between 30,000 and 150,000.
  • Clutch slips, clutch grabs, and clutch noises are common symptoms of a failing clutch.
  • Clutch replacement ranges from $700 to $3,000 or a median rate of $1,850. If you want to save money on labor, you can get a clutch kit anywhere from $70 to $1,700 and do the replacement yourself.

Your car’s clutch system is vital to your vehicle’s functionality. The clutch separates the engine from the wheels, allowing you to change gears and come to full stops when the engine is running.

The clutch disk is splined onto the transmission input shaft and is sandwiched between the pressure plate and the engine’s flywheel, so that when the clutch pedal is pressed, the disk is released so that no turning torque is delivered to the transmission.

destroyed car clutch
The clutch in this photo is totally destroyed, with the disk (top) having lost every bit of its lining and the pressure plate (bottom) having been broken. A new clutch comes with a new disk, pressure plate, pilot bearing, and throwout bearing, as well as a plastic alignment tool. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian.

Some DIY folks will replace their own clutch, some won’t. Slave cylinders are hydraulic on newer vehicles, and bleeding the slave cylinder can be easy or difficult depending on the vehicle.

As such, clutch replacement is essential to your safety and in keeping your car performing its best. After all, you wouldn’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere with a worn-out clutch.

When Should You Replace Your Clutch?

Experts recommend replacing or repairing your clutch every 75,000 miles since its average lifespan lasts between 30,000 and 150,000.

Some people wait until they observe symptoms before replacing their clutch.

Note that the clutch could fail prematurely due to various issues, so it’s best to check it often for signs that it needs replacing.

See also  Slipping Clutch: Symptoms, Replacement Cost, How to Fix

Symptoms of a Failing Clutch

Because clutch issues can happen at any given mileage, you must keep an eye out for the symptoms of clutch failure below. If you encounter any of them, take your vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop to have it checked.

Clutch Slips

Clutch slips often happen due to worn-out clutch friction material. The clutch engages through friction, so if the material can’t provide enough resistance, the clutch won’t engage properly. As the clutch lining wears, the clutch pedal play will also decrease, so pay attention to this as well.

A noticeable sign of a slipping clutch is when you release the pedal and accelerate, yet your car moves slowly while the engine revs high. The following problems could cause clutch slips:

  • Worn clutch
  • Out-of-adjustment clutch
  • Oil on the clutch disc’s surface (this usually causes clutch chatter).

Clutch Grabs

Clutch grabs occur when the friction disc doesn’t slip; instead, it grips, then loses contact, causing excessive vibrations in the car’s driveline.

Various problems can cause clutch grabs, but the main culprit is usually the clutch. Common causes of clutch grabs include:

  • Oil on the clutch disc’s surface
  • Bound clutch linkage

Clutch Noises

Your clutch can make different noises, depending on the issue.

A whistling sound could mean the release bearing is running off-center. It could also indicate an off-center input shaft or a defective pilot bearing.

Meanwhile, the clutch could give off rattling noises due to load alterations, which happens when the clutch discs are rigged out with preliminary dampers.

Other possible causes of clutch noises include a worn pilot bearing and a defective release bearing.

Stuck Clutch Pedal

If your clutch pedal is stuck on the floor, it might mean you have binding problems with the linkage or the release bearing. Of course, there are other causes not related to bearings disconnecting, such as:

  • Missing rod
  • Broken clutch cable
  • Insufficient fluid
  • Internal leaks and cracks
See also  Slipping Clutch: Symptoms, Replacement Cost, How to Fix

To determine the exact cause, take your ride to an auto repair shop for a diagnosis.

How Much Does Clutch Replacement Cost?

Clutch replacement ranges from $700 to $3,000, or a median rate of $1,850. The final bill depends on the car, the clutch, the shop’s labor cost, and more.

If you want to save money on labor, you can get a clutch kit and do the replacement by yourself. Clutch kits cost $70 to $1,700.

How Much Do Clutch Repairs Cost?

Clutch repairs range between $500 and $2,500 for an average price of $1,500. The rate varies depending on the damage, clutch, and vehicle model.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Clutch?

It takes around two to eight hours to replace a clutch, depending on the vehicle. However, there are cases where it takes longer to replace the clutch, due to factors like its location and damage or issue.

Can You Drive With a Bad Clutch?

car technician holding used car pressure plate and clutch disc
You can drive with a bad clutch, but it’s not advisable. The issues that it can cause could make it risky to be on the road.

You can drive with a bad clutch, but it’s not advisable. The issues that it can cause could make it risky to be on the road. Imagine dealing with clutch slips and grinding gears while you’re in the middle of the freeway.

Can a Clutch Go Out Without Warning?

Clutch failure is never sudden, as the part exhibits symptoms before going out.

What to Do if the Clutch Fails While Driving?

Stop the car and switch your hazard light on. Then, once you’re parked, call a mechanic and ask for help. You can also troubleshoot the issue, granted you have the appropriate tools and experience.

Can Bad Driving Ruin a Clutch?

Yes, poor driving can ruin your clutch, as clutch failure is a slow process that’s usually sped up by bad habits. Here are different practices that can result in a bad clutch.

Riding the Clutch

Riding the clutch refers to keeping your foot on the pedal after changing gears. Drivers stuck in traffic are often guilty of this habit, as they tend to edge closer to the vehicle in front. The slight press on the pedal can speed up the wear and tear on the entire clutch system.

See also  Slipping Clutch: Symptoms, Replacement Cost, How to Fix

Improper Hill Start

Revving your engine to avoid rolling down while doing a hill start can degrade your clutch. In fact, the burning smell after a hill start is likely from your clutch.

Poor Maintenance

Car servicing allows mechanics to spot early symptoms and prevent them from worsening. As such, you must stay on top of your ride’s maintenance and commit to annual car checkups.

Incorrect Gear Shifts

Improper gear shifts often make for a bumpy ride and can damage your clutch and gearbox.

Where to Get a Clutch Replacement for Your Vehicle

Don’t wait too long before getting your vehicle’s worn or failed clutch replaced. CarParts.com has a wide selection of replacement clutches, so it’s easy for you to order one online.

To get your hands on a new clutch, all you have to do is go to our website and look for the vehicle selector. Input your ride’s specific details to narrow down your search to the aftermarket clutches that are compatible with your ride.

Our selection of replacement parts comes with a low-price guarantee. You don’t have to spend your hard-earned savings to get your vehicle back on the road. Plus, we source our products from trusted brands in the industry to ensure they’re as good–if not better–than the stock part.

Do you have questions about fitment or shipping? Don’t think twice about calling us on our toll-free hotline. Our team is available 24/7 to answer your queries.

Check out our selection now, and order your new clutch today!

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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Rotceh

I liked the way you explain the clutch system and it’s operation

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