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What to Do if Your Clutch is Slipping

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In this article, we take you through the common signs that your clutch is slipping, what you can do to prevent it, and what can be done to fix it.

What is Clutch Slipping

Your clutch is designed to withstand a certain amount of engine torque (twisting or turning force). The clutch is held against the flywheel with a pressure plate, spinning both the transmission shaft and the engine at the same speed.

Over time, the friction material on both sides of the clutch will get worn down, just like brake pads wear down. This means the clutch won’t be able to hold the same amount of torque that it used to, resulting in what we call clutch slipping - when the engine is able to spin freely.

If your driving style is harsh, with excessive acceleration and braking, your clutch is likely to wear down faster. Regular vehicle maintenance checks and services will help you to keep the clutch and other car components in good health.


How to diagnose a slipping clutch in your car

Clutch Slipping Symptoms

It’s pretty noticeable when your clutch starts to slip, but drivers who haven’t experienced it before might not know what to look out for. There are five important indicators:

  • Your revs, or RPM, increase but your speed stays the same.

  • There’s a burning smell in your car. Excessive heat from constant disengagement is the cause.

  • Poor engine performance, particularly when carrying or pulling a heavy load.

  • Clutch pedal height difference.

  • Quick disengagement. Normally, you’d need to push down around two inches before this would happen.


How long can you drive with a slipping clutch

There is no set answer to this, but once your clutch starts slipping you should probably think about getting it replaced. Although this can be an expensive job, it's one that will need doing sooner or later, and it's best not to leave it until it fails at rush hour on a busy road or on a rural road late at night.

To avoid having to replace your clutch - at least for a while - the best thing you can do is drive carefully, without revving excessively.


How much does it cost to repair a slipping clutch

There's no getting around it - having to replace your clutch is expensive. It's one of the down sides to car ownership, making many drivers wonder if they really need a full replacement. Couldn't a particular part of the cutch just be repaired or replaced, rather than the whole thing?

Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. Clutches are designed to last around 60,000 miles; after that, you're running on borrowed time.

Fortunately, getting your clutch replaced doesn't have to be a totally painful process. Selected garages on WhoCanFixMyCar's network offer Payment Assist, a payment method which allows drivers to spread the cost of their repairs across four interest-free monthly payments, making that replacement cost a lot less scary. The average cost of a Clutch replacement on our website is £442.71.


Do you think you’re suffering from clutch slippage? Contact a clutch specialist now for a diagnosis and subsequent repair or replacement.

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