What is a clutch and what should you do if it’s slipping?


There is nothing as frustrating as taking your car to the mechanic for what you think is a simple problem only to find out that it is a complex issue that is going to cost you hundreds of dollars to repair. The situation is even more challenging when you do not thoroughly understand what problem your vehicle is having. For example, what does it mean when your mechanic says that your clutch is slipping? To answer that question, we first have to figure out what the clutch is.
What is a Clutch?
The clutch is a disk that is attached to the transmission input shaft. It is constantly spinning and is part of the mechanism that provides power to your transmission. The disk is held fast between two other plates that also spin. These plates are connected to the crankshaft of your engine. When everything in your engine is working appropriately, all three disks spin in unison and provide power to the wheels, allowing your car to move when you push down on the accelerator.
What is a Slipping Clutch?
So, when your mechanic tells you that your clutch is slipping, it means that there is a weak link between the disk that connects your engine to your wheels. If the problem is not addressed in a timely matter, you will find yourself pushing down on the accelerator and the engine is going to rev very fast, but the car will not accelerate. Eventually, the problem is going to get so bad that you will push down on your gas pedal and your car will not budge at all.
Why do Clutches Wear Out?
When you put your foot on the clutch, the pressure on the clutch disk is minimized. This allows the disk to spin freely without any friction in between the outer two plates. This makes it a lot easier for you to shift gears. When you let go of the clutch pedal, the two outer plates close back in on the clutch disk, power is given to the wheels, and you’re able to drive off.
Every so often, a clutch disk will wear out. This is because when you first start your car, there is a small amount of friction that grinds material off the disk. At between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on how hard you drive your car and whether you ride your clutch, the clutch will wear out to a point where it will spin freely on its own because it is too thin to be grabbed by the outer disks.
Buying a new clutch is not overly expensive. It’s going to be a few hundred dollars. However, since the labor requires working in a tight space and it also requires removing the transmission, labor costs can be more than the price of the clutch itself so it’s not a repair you want to delay. However if you find yourself in this situation rest assured the team at Creech Import is well qualified to handle any clutch or transmission repair situation
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