Car Clutch: problems and replacement cost
Changing a clutch is a relatively complex repair, as the car's gearbox has to be removed. For this and for the installation of the new car clutch parts, a professional workshop usually needs about four hours. On some vehicle models, however, the engine must be removed along with the transmission, which can extend the working time to up to twelve hours. You can find out whether this is the case with your vehicle from the professional or the dealership.
Do it yourself or go to the garage?
If you like to tinker with your car yourself, you will probably also toy with the idea of changing the clutch at home. We recommend that only absolute professionals carry out the work themselves. If this applies to you, you can find a cheap clutch kit and flywheel here. If you are not sure whether you can do the work yourself, you should just visit a specialist workshop. Since a change in a workshop costs several hundred euros, it seems much cheaper at first glance to replace the clutch in the garage at home. However, even small mistakes during removal or installation could cause serious and costly defects later on. Clutch replacement parts are available in different price ranges, so it’s definitely worth comparing the clutch plate cost. Talk to your mechanic about purchasing the parts yourself and bringing them to the garage – most mechanics are happy to negotiate and keep you as a customer.
Indications of a defective clutch
A clear indication of a worn lining is that it may be difficult to get the car going. If you slowly release the clutch and gently press the car accelerator pedal, you will notice that the engine becomes louder than normal. Your car seems to hesitate when it begins to roll forward. Anyone who notices these signs should apply the handbrake and engage the highest gear. Now the driver gives a little gas and lets the clutch come up. If the engine stops, the clutch is ok. Please note: this test puts a strain on the clutch, so you shouldn’t do this too often. Problems with shifting indicate that the hydraulic pressure is not correct. Sometimes it is sufficient to top up the auto transmission fluid. If fluid is leaking, the hydraulic system could need a major repair, but the clutch does not always need to be replaced.
Proper clutch operation
If you want your clutch to work for you as long as possible, there are a few don’ts you should keep in mind.
Don’t let the clutch drag for too long. If the clutch is left to drag for a long time or repeatedly, it overheats and the lining of the clutch plate disintegrates. The greatest strain is placed on a clutch when it is allowed to drag. In this case, "letting it slip" means that the foot is not taken off the clutch pedal completely or fast enough. As a result, the clutch plate does not rest against the engine flywheel with full pressure and grinds against it. This not only wears down the clutch plate lining more quickly, but the friction also generates heat. The heat is not only bad for the clutch plate lining, but also for other components such as the release bearing or the slave cylinder. A clutch that has become too hot can usually be noticed not only by an acrid smell but also by smoke. Therefore, you should not let the clutch slip for too long or too often. That's why impatient drivers who let their car roll again and again at red lights are not good role models. When driving uphill, it is also better to use the handbrake than to start with the engine howling and the clutch smoking. Parking manoeuvres often only work with the clutch dragging – here the engine speed should be kept as low as possible. In slow-moving traffic, it is better to set the car in motion with the clutch, but then you should take the car out of gear and just let it roll. Of course, too rough use, also causes a clutch to wear out much faster as well.
Don't hold the clutch down unnecessarily. If you are at a red light, you should put the gear in neutral and release the clutch pedal. If, on the other hand, the gear remains engaged and the clutch depressed during the entire red phase, this puts strain on the release bearing and also on the automatic pressure control, which leads to increased wear.
Don’t overload the vehicle. How much power an engine needs to move a car forward depends on many factors, the so-called driving resistances. The weight of the car in particular plays a major role here. If you attach a heavy trailer to the car or load too much, the engine has to apply even more power to get the car moving. This force also passes through the coupling, which is also exposed to higher loads and thus wears out more quickly. This is why couplings of towing vehicles usually have to be replaced more frequently. When manoeuvring with a trailer, the coupling is also frequently allowed to slip. Proper driving and knowing how and when to use the clutch will save you money, time, and stress in the future.
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