If you own a vehicle with a manual transmission, you understand the importance of having a functional clutch. It enables you to achieve vehicle control by engaging or disengaging the power transmission. Nonetheless, many drivers neglect their clutch system or perhaps forget about it due to its concealed position. You only get to pay attention to your clutch when you face a dire situation, and your transmission won't engage.
The clutch undergoes substantial wear and tear due to the amount of gear shifting taking place in a manual vehicle. After all, the clutch has a limited lifespan like any other system in your car. Car manufacturers and mechanics recommend clutch replacement after a given mileage, which depends on your vehicle model and make. In spite of that, your clutch system will give you some early signals indicating it could be on its last leg. Some of these signs include the following:
The Clutch Becomes Overly Soft
The clutch is comprised of springs and heavy spinning plates. Because of that, you will experience some resistance when you press the clutch pedal down. In other words, the clutch should feel somewhat tough when you apply some force on it under normal working conditions. When your clutch begins to drop to the floor even with minimal pressure, it is an indication that the system is coming towards the end of its life. At this point, you should consider a clutch replacement right away to prevent further damage.
The Clutch System Produces a Burning Odour
A burning odour is not uncommon when driving, especially if you own an older vehicle. However, there is a cause for concern when the odour becomes more pronounced. If the smell occurs when shifting gears, your clutch could be the culprit. Most times, the burning odour emanates from the frictions of a slipping clutch. If the problem does not resolve with repair attempts, the system could be due for a replacement.
The Gears Will Not Change Smoothly
Naturally, your gears should move smoothly when you depress the clutch pedal. If you own a new car, you will attest that shifting gears is an effortless job. Thus, when the transmission does not change the gears, the clutch system could be failing. The problem mostly occurs when switching to the reverse gear. It is an early sign that you need to replace the old clutch with a new one.
If you detect any of these signs or anything else out of the ordinary, you should visit a local mechanic immediately for a clutch replacement. Waiting too long might lead to more severe damage or, worse still, an accident.