Why Do My Gears Grind When I Shift Them?

When you first learn how to drive a car, truck, or utility vehicle that has a manual transmission, you will grind the gears when you shift them. You will get to a point quickly, however, when you no longer grind the gears. Mark’s Auto Service advises that if your gears are grinding when you shift them now, your clutch is likely going out. The clutch should be adjusted every 6,000 miles to make sure it lasts longer. Aside from grinding gears, here are other signs your clutch needs to be replaced.

Burning Clutch

A burning clutch is a clutch that smells hot when you use it. This is a sign that your clutch is slipping. Slipping means that the clutch does not stay engaged even though you haven’t disengaged it yet. This can cause problems with the clutch itself and with shifting gears. You need the clutch to stay engaged to keep the power transferred from the engine to the transmission.

Gear Problems

If the clutch is not engaged, you will find it impossible to shift gears. You may also discover that it is hard to get your vehicle into gear if the clutch is going bad. Once you get the vehicle into gear, it may fight you as you shift between gears or the transmission may slip out of gear. All of these things point to a malfunctioning clutch that needs to be adjusted or replaced.


As we mentioned above, the clutch transfers the engine power to the transmission. The reason it does this is so the transmission can turn the drivetrain. When the transmission turns the drivetrain, your wheels turn. If you have noticed that your vehicle hesitates when you accelerate or when you release the clutch, this is an indication that the power transfer to the transmission is incomplete.

High Bite Point

You may also notice a difference in your clutch is bite or catch point. This is the point at which you shift the gears. When a clutch starts to go bad, the bite point often gets higher. If this is the case with your clutch, bring your vehicle to the shop closest to you so we can inspect the clutch and rebuild it or replace it if necessary.

Spongy Clutch

Finally, if your clutch feels spongy underneath your foot, it needs to be replaced. Your clutch should always give you the same amount of resistance when you press down on it. If this resistance level changes, the internal mechanisms of the clutch have worn out.

Mark’s Auto Service in Loves Park or Loves Park, Belvidere, Roscoe, and Rockford, IL, can help if you are experiencing clutch problems in your vehicle. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Photo by welcomia via Canva Pro

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