Do you drive a manual vehicle? Besides the improved control with manual transmissions, vehicles with this transmission system tend to cost less than their automatic variables. In addition, manual transmissions tend to have fewer moving parts than their automatic counterparts. That means maintenance is typically less involving and repairs tend to be easier in many situations. Like many vehicle systems, your car's manual transmission comprises many other components. And the clutch is one of the most significant parts of your vehicle's manual transmission system that makes it possible to shift between gears. Therefore, a faulty clutch will make it hard for you to drive properly and potentially lead to transmission failure. For this reason, knowing when your clutch starts failing is vital, and here are the signs to watch out for.
Clutch Pedal Issues
One of the easiest ways to know whether your clutch is failing is to note how your clutch pedal responds when you depress it. If your clutch pedal feels spongy, soft, sticky or loose when you press down on it, you need to have it checked. Generally, it shouldn't take too much effort to fully depress your clutch pedal when you need to shift gears. Therefore, if you find it extremely hard to do this or if the pedal sticks (such as if it takes longer than usual to return to the original position after you lift off your foot), you could be having a worn-out pressure plate, throw-out bearing or clutch fork. If your manual system uses a hydraulic system, worn seals and blockages can make your clutch pedal harder to engage.
On the other hand, spongy, soft or loose clutch pedals are generally indicators of a worn clutch plate. Air in your hydraulic clutch system, leaking connections, hoses, pipes and low fluid levels are other culprits behind a spongy clutch pedal.
Unusual Noises When Shifting Gears
If you notice weird sounds every time you shift gears, it may be time to check your clutch. Noises may originate from your loose parts coming into contact with each other or parts rubbing against each other. Whatever the cause, it's essential to be keen enough to identify any unusual sounds. While you may hear different noises, grinding noises tend to be the most common. However, before you panic, check to ensure that you pressed your clutch pedal all the way down when shifting. Failing to do this can also cause grinding sounds. Grinding often occurs when you have a faulty release mechanism, pressure plate or throw-out bearing.
Other sounds you may hear are whirling and chirping. These noises tend to occur when you are in neutral and fade as you step on your clutch pedal. Worn-out shaft bearings are often the culprits in such cases. To learn more, contact a clutch repair service.