Symptoms of a failing Clutch

Squeaking, squealing, or growling noises

A malfunctioning clutch will usually result in some bizarre noises coming from the clutch. In a manual transmission, you’re likely to notice a squeaking noise when you engage the clutch pedal. Noises are never a good sign from your car, and should always be addressed. They can signal a lot of different things, including a problem with the clutch.

Bad smell

Bad smells are not a good sign from a car. There are a few different issues that can lead to foul smells, including a clutch that is fully worn down. When the clutch is completely worn through, it will result in an acrid, burning smell that isn’t very pleasant.


Slipping is a common clutch problem. It results when the clutch disengages at times when it shouldn’t. When this happens, you’ll notice that you can’t accelerate, or you can’t accelerate very well. Yet even though your car isn’t accelerating, the engine will still be revving high. If you press on the gas pedal, the RPMs will increase, but the speed of the car won’t.

Difficulty shifting

If it’s hard for you to change gears in your manual transmission, then that’s often a sign of a clutch that is malfunctioning. You may find it laborious to try and get your car from one gear to the next, or you might find that the car isn’t wanting to stay in any gear.

Bizarre clutch feel

If you drive a manual transmission, you’ll likely notice a failing clutch by the feel of the clutch pedal. The pedal may feel spongy, or exceptionally loose. Conversely, it may feel sticky (like it won’t want to come back to its original position), or stiff and heavy. It’s also common for the clutch pedal to shake and shudder when the clutch is failing. If you notice anything weird in the feel of that third pedal, then it’s probably an issue with the clutch.

Difficulty shifting into reverse

If the clutch is failing, your car will have a hard time shifting into reverse. It will feel difficult to get into reverse, and in some cases it might even be impossible.

How urgent is a Clutch repair?

Clutch repair is very urgent, because the clutch is a vital part of your car’s transmission. When the clutch begins to fail, your car won’t operate as well, and could eventually become inoperable.

A clutch that is worn through will also cause damage to the rest of your car’s transmission, eventually even the engine. It’s a very important repair and should be handled immediately.

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