What actually happens when your clutch is replaced?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 2 years ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
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Clutch Replacement

Find out exactly what happens when the clutch, one of the hardest working component in any car, gets replaced

What is a clutch?

The clutch transmits power from the engine to the gearbox, allowing you to change gears by isolating the engine. 

Clutch replacement is one of the great car repair mysteries. We know it costs a lot, we know it's kind of inevitable over time, but most of us have no idea what's actually involved in a full clutch replacement. So today, we're going to help you find out.

Firstly, it's important to know that the way you drive your car will have a big impact on how quickly your clutch wears down. Anything that increases the load or weight on the clutch will affect its overall condition. 'Riding the clutch' is one example of this that you're probably familiar with.

How to tell if your clutch is going

Symptoms of a faulty or worn-down clutch include:

  • Spongy / Sticking / Vibrating / Loose Pedals

  • Squeaking or grumbling noise when clutch pedal pressed

  • Poor acceleration

  • Difficulty changing gear

  • Slipping clutch – unexpected increases in revs or momentary losses of acceleration

  • Bite points are higher than ever before

How long does it take to change a clutch?

Generally, replacing a clutch can take anywhere between 2 to 6 hours.

If you book in for the job, we recommend you should put a whole day aside just in case. Like with any other repair job, the length of time taken varies due to a number of factors. Namely, if the part is harder to access and remove in certain vehicles.

The process of how to replace a clutch

Step 1

The first part of the process is the removal of the old clutch. Firstly, the positive cable that goes into your battery (at the negative battery terminal) is unhooked. The front end of your vehicle is raised, your engine stabilised and most or all of the engine mounts undone. The driveshaft is then taken off and the clutch linkage disengaged so that the cables are all now disconnected.

Step 2

The mechanic will also disconnect the speedometer cable at this point and unfasten the starter motor from the engine housing. A jack will normally be placed under the transmission to place a level of pressure underneath it.

Step 3

All bolts on the transmission are removed to release the transmission from its mount. Slide the transmission out of place to gain access to the clutch. The bolts around the pressure plate are removed, then the plate and clutch disc are removed.

Step 4

At this stage the mechanic will check that there has been no leakage before installing a new seal. The crankshaft flange is then cleaned, the flywheel inserted, and a torque is used to secure its place and tighten the bolts. The clutch disc, pressure plate and the release bearing are inserted back into the vehicle.

Step 5

Following that, the mechanic will move the transaxle into the correct place, along with ensuring the shaft goes into the appropriate opening on the clutch disc.

Step 6

Lastly, all the bolts that have been removed must be reinstalled and a test is performed to confirm that the new clutch is working properly.

Does a new clutch smell?

Your clutch may smell a little funny when you first drive it after it's been replaced. However, this is nothing to be concerned about. It's likely just the manufacturers oils burning off or the clutch just settling in.

You can expect this smell to last for the first few hundred miles depending on how you drive your car but if you begin to smell burning coming from you clutch, get in touch with the garage who replaced it and get it booked in for diagnostics.

Clutch replacement through WhoCanFixMyCar

Clutch replacement cost varies depending on several factors. Nevertheless booking your clutch replacement via WhoCanFixMyCar saves drivers an average of £171.

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