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3 Signs Your Manual Transmission Clutch Is Failing

Manual Transmission Gearbox

If you have noticed that your car is acting strangely whenever you try to shift gears, you may wonder if your manual transmission has an issue. A common cause of manual transmission problems is when the clutch is not working the way it should. Look for the following signs that the clutch is failing and in danger of going out altogether if it is not replaced soon.

1.  Clutch Pedal Depresses Too Easy

Normally, when you apply the clutch pedal, you should get some resistance. You should only be able to push the pedal about halfway before needing to apply hard pressure to depress the pedal further.

However, if the gears in the clutch are bad, the pedal will depress easily. The pedal will hit the floor without much pressure. This ability to fully depress the pedal with little effort is a sign that the teeth on the gears are worn down. When paired with other indicators of a clutch problem, the pedal depressing too easily is almost a sure sign that you need a replacement.

2.  Pedal Vibrates While Shifting Gears

Another sign that your car's clutch is about to go out is when you start feeling vibrations on the pedal. Whenever you depress the pedal to shift gears, you will feel the pedal start to vibrate because the gears have either slipped or the teeth are worn.

This vibration of the clutch is called chattering. When the clutch first starts exhibiting this sign, you may feel only slight vibrations. You may not even notice them and think they are part of the car's normal sensation.

However, as the clutch continues to wear, the pedal will pulsate every time you push down the pedal and manually shift gears. You may also have a harder time moving the stick shift whenever you try to switch gears.

If the clutch is not repaired, eventually you will be unable to move the shift stick into certain gears. As the clutch sustains more damage, the chattering may happen even while your car sits in neutral.

3.  Engine Revs Up After Releasing the Clutch Pedal

As the clutch sustains more damage from use after becoming worn, the clutch will start to slip. Because the gears on the teeth of the clutch are no longer aligned or worn down, the clutch can become stuck when you engage it.

When clutch slippage occurs, the engine will still rev up after you switch gears and release the clutch pedal. If this happens, depress the pedal to engage the clutch and put the car in neutral. 

If you do not take steps to re-engage the clutch and stop the engine from revving up too hard, one of two things could happen. First, the car may lurch forward unexpectedly once the gears fully engage. If you do not have a firm hold on your brake pedal, you could hit another vehicle, person, or object.

Second, if the clutch slips and the engine continues with a hard rev, you risk blowing up the motor. Your engine is only designed to withstand so much torque at one time. If the clutch sticks and the engine works too hard without stopping, your pistons, headers, and gaskets could become damaged.

If you notice any of the above signs whenever you try to shift gears, your car's clutch is probably bad. Bring your car to American & Foreign Transmission Service in Reno, Nevada, where we can inspect your manual transmission. If we find an issue with your clutch, we will then discuss your options for repairing or replacing the faulty clutch and get you back on the road safely.