Automotive Blogs for Australian Drivers

Clutch Issues – Are You Being Sympathetic Enough?

Did you know that only a small proportion of new cars sold in Australia are now manually operated? Nevertheless, you may have an older version of one of these vehicles, as you prefer the freedom of driving with a manual transmission. Yet this type of configuration can present its own problems, especially when it comes to the clutch mechanism. So, if you've started noticing some issues when selecting a particular gear, what is going wrong?

Manual Versus Automatic

In an automatic, gear changes are done for you through sophisticated components like the torque converter. In your type of car, however, you need to disconnect the power of the engine from the transmission before you can choose the most appropriate gear for the road conditions. Unfortunately, this act of intervention can cause things to go wrong.

What Goes on Beneath

A cable will pull the clutch release mechanism along the output shaft and away from the engine flywheel when you depress the clutch pedal. This mechanism rides on top of a bearing designed to make the process smooth and consistent. However, it does rely, to a large extent, on the actions of the operator.

Clutch Operation

The driver should wait until the engine revolutions are suitable for the road conditions before depressing the clutch. This would cause the least amount of wear and tear as the transmission would be spinning at roughly the same speed as the engine's crankshaft. However, this is not easy to achieve for most drivers, and they may be a little harsh when depressing or releasing the clutch pedal anyway.

Signs of a Problem

This is one of the reasons why a clutch release bearing can start to fail and it can cause some tell-tale signs. The driver may find it difficult to engage the gears as the clutch is not decoupling as efficiently as it should. The foot pedal may feel soft or have a lot more free play than usual, and the gears may "crunch" when they are being selected.

Taking Action

If you have noticed any of these problems, you may need to take the vehicle to a mechanic for clutch repair. They'll have a look at the bearing and the pressure plate and, where needed, will make adjustments to the pedal. In the future, think about how you depress the clutch pedal when changing gears. With more attention in this area, the bearing and other ancillaries may last a little longer. Reach out to a local car repair service to learn more.