How Can I Tell if My Clutch Is Going Out?

Driving an automobile with a manual transmission can be an exhilarating experience. You are in complete control as to when the automobile shifts gears. The clutch is one of the primary parts of the manual transmission, and its average lifespan ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Mark’s Auto Service lists the signs that your clutch is going out below. Bring your vehicle to our shop at the first indication of trouble.

Burning Clutch

You shouldn’t smell anything hot or burning when you shift gears. If you do, it’s possible that your clutch is slipping and this is causing it to overheat. It’s important to have your clutch checked if it smells hot all the time. Something isn’t right and an adjustment needs to be made. It is also possible that we may need to replace the clutch.

Gear Difficulties

If your clutch is slipping, or the internal mechanisms are wearing down, you may find it difficult to shift gears. It may be difficult to get your vehicle into gear in the first place, and/or once it’s in gear, you may find it difficult to shift through the gear cycle. You know how your vehicle feels when you shift gears. Any resistance indicates there’s a problem with the clutch.

Grinding Sounds

You may also hear grinding sounds as you try to shift gears if the clutch is having problems. This is a sign that the clutch is not engaging and disengaging completely and the gears are grinding into place. It’s important to have the clutch checked right away rather than continue to grind your gears. Grinding the gears will cause further damage to the clutch and the transmission.


Another sign that your clutch is going out is acceleration hesitation. What is happening is that the clutch and manual transmission are unable to power the wheels and your vehicle does not accelerate as a consequence. Another thing that could be happening is the transmission could be slipping out of first gear as you are accelerating and this will cause the vehicle to go back into neutral.

Odd Catch Point

Once you get used to driving your automobile, you know exactly where the clutch catch point is. Some people also call this the bite point. If this point has changed, in most cases gone higher, this is a sign that your clutch needs to be adjusted or replaced. The bite point should not change. If it does, it’s possible that your clutch is going out.

Spongy Feeling

Finally, how your clutch feels underneath your foot can also give you an indication that the clutch is going out. If it feels spongy or soft, the clutch either needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Mark’s Auto Service in Rockford and Loves Park, IL, can inspect your clutch and fix it. We can also replace it if it needs it. Give the shop closest to you a call today.

Photo by Stason4ic from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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