If you’re driving a manual transmission car and it doesn’t seem to be accelerating as fast as it should be when you step on the gas, even with rising RPMs, it is possible that you have a slipping clutch. Clutches on manual transmissions typically last between four and seven years, though extreme driving conditions, such as driving on hilly roads, start-and-stop traffic, and towing can shorten the life of your transmission, causing the clutch to slip.
As such, it is important to spot the problem early and get it fixed before it leads to other problems. Some warning signs that you have a slipping clutch include:
- Noticeably poor or declining gas mileage
- You are forced to downshift more often when driving uphill
- The clutch feels stiff forcing you to press harder
- The clutch is hard to adjust for pedal freedom
- The engine revs as you accelerate from a stop
Auto manufacturers recommend that you adjust your clutch every 6,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. When you take your car to a transmission shop, they will perform a diagnosis to check whether your clutch is slipping. This involves:
- Activating the emergency brake
- Turning the engine on
- Pressing the clutch and engaging the fourth gear
- Slowly stepping on the gas pedal – with one foot still on the clutch
You know that your clutch is slipping if you cannot take off your foot from the clutch pedal without the engine stalling, in which case, it’s time to schedule an appointment for clutch repair.
So, how do you replace a slipping clutch?
The process depends on whether your car is a front or rear wheel drive. For front wheel drive cars, you have to pull out the engine and drop the transaxle, which is a tough job that involves the use of an engine hoist. For a rear wheel drive, you don’t have to remove the engine, though you must remove the driveshaft, transmission, and bellhousing from underneath the vehicle in order to access the clutch.
Failure to repair a slipping clutch can lead to additional problems due to increased heat and wear and tear. Replacing your car’s clutch is an extremely tough job because the transmission is a heavy component. It is also dangerous, and can easily cause serious injury if attempted by an untrained technician.
To get your slipping clutch fixed without any accident or incident, it is best to take your car to professionals who are well trained and certified in transmission repair, like the Pro-Tech Transmissions team.