5 Signs of a Worn Out Clutch You May See After Auto Mechanic College

how to become a mechanic

The clutch is the part of the car that is responsible for getting power from the engine to the gearbox, which can then help to turn the wheels. Unfortunately, due to the passing of time or poor driving habits, the friction surface of the clutch disc can get worn out, the flywheel might become warped, and a mess of other problems can crop up.

As a future automotive service technician, it’s important to be able to recognize the indications of a worn out or damaged clutch. Below are five common signs that a clutch needs changing.

1. Clutch Pedals that Are Sticky or Loose

Early warning signs that there may be issues with the clutch can be found by paying attention to the clutch pedal. If the pedal feels like it’s sticking to the ground, there is likely something wrong with the clutch and it needs to be replaced. A bad clutch may also feel loose and offer little resistance when a driver presses on it with their foot.

A clutch pedal that sticks to the floor is often a sign of trouble
A clutch pedal that sticks to the floor is often a sign of trouble

Clutch pedals that are difficult to push down could also point to problems with the cable or clutch fork inside of the release mechanism. The release mechanism is what lets the driver maintain control over the clutch. An automotive service technician should check to see if any of the other internal components of the release mechanism need repairing in order to solve this problem.

2. Noise Can also Be a Sign there Is an Issue with the Clutch

Noise in a car is normal, but when you start to hear grinding or screeching sounds coming from the clutch pedal whenever you’re trying to shift gears, get that clutch out of your car fast.

The release mechanism could also be responsible for all this raucous. While some older cars have mechanical release mechanisms, they may be hydraulic in more recent models. For hydraulic release mechanisms, the noise might be occurring because its lubricant has evaporated, wearing out the device.

3. Smoke and Burning Smells Can Be Another Sign of a Clutch Problem

Sometimes when a driver gets stuck in traffic they might “ride the clutch.” What exactly is riding the clutch? It’s when you keep your foot on the clutch pedal when you’re not using it, which is a bad idea. Grads of automotive mechanic training know that a driver’s foot should only engage the clutch when it’s time to shift gears, otherwise it could result in an overheated clutch plate. If the clutch plate overheats, smoke might rise from beneath the car and they’ll likely smell something burning.

4. Heavy Vibrations Are a Clear Sign the Clutch Is Finished

Bad vibrations when the car starts to move is a sign of something called “clutch judder.” Clutch judder, or shudder, can sometimes be caused by a bent flywheel, or oil and other fluids that end up on the top of the clutch, which can cause it to suddenly slip and catch. The result of this sporadic activity could lead to vibrations which can make the car an absolute nightmare to drive. Thankfully, grads of auto mechanic college have the right training to properly assess and replace a worn clutch, getting drivers back on the road.

5. Grads of Auto Mechanic College Should Be Mindful of a Slipping Clutch

A clutch might start to slip because the friction surface of the clutch disk has worn out. A slipping clutch can be verified in a few ways. For example, the engine might rev unexpectedly, or the amount of energy given to the drive wheels might be significantly reduced. Automotive service technicians may also want to be mindful of any changes in the clutch pedal when the transmission is in gear, as it might start to move downward unexpectedly. By expertly and quickly catching problems with the clutch, you can help your future clients keep their cars working smoothly and reliably.

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