Clutch Kit Buyer's Guide
- A clutch kit is a selection of parts that are used to replace a broken clutch or upgrade an existing assembly.
- Each kit comes with a clutch disc and a clutch pressure plate. A flywheel, alignment tool, and release bearing, pilot bearing/bushing, and spline lubricant may also be included.
- The job of the clutch is to control the transfer power from the engine to the transmission, as well as disengage the two whenever needed.
- The parts in this kit are engaged and disengaged multiple times while you drive. Therefore, they may wear out and need to be replaced over time.
- Problems with the clutch have a direct impact on the drivability of your vehicle. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms listed below, have your vehicle checked by a licensed mechanic.
- The cost of a clutch kit will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. In general, an OE replacement kit will cost you anywhere between $60 to $1,700.
- Most car enthusiasts who drive a stick shift will tell you about the joys of being one with the machine. At the same time, they will also be the first to tell you that a manual transmission requires a bit more attention, particularly when it comes to ensuring that your clutch is in good condition.
The clutch is one of the most hardworking mechanisms in your vehicle. If you think about it, the parts that comprise this assembly are engaged and disengaged multiple times while you drive. Therefore, they may wear out and need to be replaced over time. Here are a few things you should know about getting a clutch replacement.
What Is a Clutch Kit?
A clutch kit is a selection of parts that are used to replace a broken clutch or upgrade an existing assembly. Together, these components make it possible for the engine to continue running even when the brakes are applied and the vehicle has come to a full stop. The clutch also disengages the engine from the transmission every time the driver switches gears.
What Is Included in a Clutch Kit?
Each kit comes with a clutch disc and a clutch pressure plate. A flywheel, alignment tool, and release bearing, pilot bearing/bushing, and spline lubricant may also be included. These parts are typically manufactured according to OE specifications. You may also choose to upgrade to a high-performance clutch kit designed to match the power of modified engines or off-road vehicles.
How Does the Clutch Work?
The job of the clutch is to control the transfer power from the engine to the transmission, as well as disengage the two whenever needed.
Sitting on the flywheel is a clutch disc that is coated with a high-friction material on both sides. The disc is also equipped with coil springs that dampen any vibrations or power fluctuations from the engine. This allows your vehicle to run smoothly during motion transfer.
Force is applied onto the disc by the clutch pressure plate, pressing it against the flywheel. This allows the transfer of power output from the engine to the transmission. When the clutch pedal is depressed, a hydraulic system forces the center of the diaphragm spring underneath the cover of the pressure plate to push away from the clutch disc. This disengages the flow of power to the transmission.
How Long Should a Clutch Last?
The average lifespan of a clutch will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Some last for less than 30,000 miles while others last up to 100,000 miles.
The amount of wear and tear your clutch accumulates will also depend on other factors like your driving style. If you have a habit of riding the clutch or abruptly engaging it, chances are the friction material around the clutch disc will wear out faster. Towing heavy loads and frequently driving in stop-and-go traffic can also shorten the lifespan of your clutch assembly.
What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Clutch?
Problems with the clutch have a direct impact on the drivability of your vehicle. Below are some of the tell-tale signs of clutch failure. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, we strongly advise having your vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic.
When a clutch ‘slips,’ it means the disc is no longer able to generate the right amount of friction to move with the flywheel and transfer engine output to the transmission. As a result, the car will move slowly even if the engine is moving quickly. This is usually caused by an oil or transmission leak. It can also be due to a damaged pressure plate or rusted bearings.
Difficulty switching gears
A clutch pedal that feels loose or spongy is a sign that your clutch is not catching. This could be a result of improper installation or a warped clutch disc or pressure plate. Different parts may cause your car to have difficulty switching gears, so it is best to seek the expertise of a professional to accurately diagnose your vehicle.
The clutch pedal produces noise when depressed
High-pitched noises while the clutch pedal is activated or released are usually a sign that the lubrication in the mechanism is low. Clunking noises, on the other hand, could be due to a cable or rod scraping against other parts.
Excessive vibration from the clutch pedal
A worn-out clutch disc will intermittently disengage from the flywheel on its own, causing the clutch pedal to vibrate more than usual. This chattering may also happen if the assembly is contaminated with oil or if parts like the pressure plate, diaphragm spring, or flywheel are damaged/warped.
The clutch pedal is sticking
Binding problems with the linkage or release bearing may cause the clutch pedal to get stuck on the floor. Be sure to have the springs in the linkage checked to make sure that they are not over-stretched or do not require adjustment.
The clutch pedal is hard to engage
If you feel like you have to use more force than usual to depress the clutch pedal, there may be a problem with the hydraulic system connecting it to the clutch assembly. Poor lubrication, worn-out seals, mechanical failure, or blockage in the system are some issues that you may need to investigate.
Helpful Tips in Getting Your Clutch Kit
Most people think that clutch kits are used only for vehicles with a manual transmission, but the fact is, all automobiles use clutches, even those with automatic trannies. So whether you drive a stickshift or not, if you notice that your RPM gauge is higher than usual and your vehicle takes a long time to accelerate, you have to replace your old clutch.
With all the products available in the market, choosing the right clutch kit for your vehicle can be tricky. Apart from the differences in specs and features, every kit also varies in application. Here are some tips to help you find the right kit for your ride.
If you are a trucker who does a lot of towing or a driver who is in the business of hauling, you should get a heavy-duty clutch kit. This type of kit is perfect for utility, off-road, and performance street trucks. It comes with thicker clutch plates and discs, so it is capable of withstanding the truck's high torque levels.
But if you prefer performance and speed, you might want to consider getting a racing clutch kit. These are designed to withstand the high pressure and heat levels and to allow quick gear shifting during high-speed drives. This type of kit has a thin clutch disc made from organic friction material for better durability against excessive heat.
On the other hand, if you are a daily driver who only uses his vehicle to get around town, you can opt for a stock street clutch kit. Stock kits have discs with medium thickness and padding that is perfect for automobiles with medium horsepower.
Quality should always be the priority, not just the budget. You should be careful when buying clutch kits since some of these kits do not come with warranties. Purchasing a kit may also be considered as an investment, so if you are going to pay for a new part, you'd better go for one that can withstand regular use and is guaranteed to last for years.
Installing, replacing, and upgrading car parts by yourself will save you loads of dollars. So if ever you choose to take the DIY path, get a kit that is easy to install for less installation effort and shorter completion time. It should also come with all the parts you need to avoid the hassle of having to find other components that match its specs.
How Much Is a Clutch Kit Replacement?
The cost of a clutch kit will vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. In general, an OE replacement kit will cost you anywhere between $60 to $1,700. While it’s possible for experienced DIYers to install this part on their own, it’s highly recommended to enlist the help of a licensed mechanic to ensure that all components are properly installed.
Finding the Right Fit
CarParts.com has a wide selection of high-quality clutch kits for different makes and models. Searching for the right part has never been easier with our website’s built-in vehicle selector. Simply plug in your complete vehicle information to filter our catalog to all compatible parts.
How to Replace Your Car's Busted Clutch
Before deciding to install this component by yourself, make sure you have a detailed manual to help you out in the task. Improper replacement of the clutch may damage your transmission permanently, so be sure you are experienced enough to do this on your own.
- Clutch cover gasket
- Clutch springs
- Clutch alignment tool
- Pry bar
- Different sizes of wrenches
- Pipe gaskets
Step 1: Use the screwdriver and wrenches to disconnect all the exterior parts around the clutch, including the negative battery cable, clutch cable, exhaust pipes, speedometer, hydraulic cylinder hose, etc.
Step 2: Grab the jack and lift your vehicle to access the transmission system. Use the hoist to support the engine or spread the load by putting the jack under the oil pan and using a piece of wood.
Step 3: Remove the busted clutch by taking out the transaxle, pressure plate, flywheel, and clutch disc. Take note of the marks on the components to index them properly. Make sure there is no sign of leaking around the engine seal, and that the needle bearings are properly lubricated.
Step 4: Clean the area around the crankshaft. Get your clutch kit and install the new components: flywheel, clutch disc, pressure plate, etc. You can use the clutch alignment tool to check that the parts are properly aligned.
Step 5: Re-install all the components you removed: transaxles, bolts, mounts, hoses, gaskets, cables, etc. Once everything has been set to place, lower your vehicle.
Step 6: Turn on the engine. Check your clutch pedal and perform a road test to see if gear shift and acceleration improved.