What is Clutch Slipping?


There are many things that can malfunction in your car. If you drive a manual transmission, that will include the clutch. If you are in the habit of slipping your clutch, then it will happen faster than you wish. Too much wear and tear on your clutch, using it too often or not using it appropriately will start to grind it down. If you start to notice a burning smell in the car, it may be your clutch.

What is clutch slipping?

When someone is slipping their clutch, it means they are only partially shifting gears to avoid a jerky transition. It is also used if a driver is starting from a stop or when driving on hills, which allows the driver to control the vehicle’s movement more precisely. Clutch slipping is also referred to when your clutch can’t fully engage with the transmission. It is fairly common as clutches are always in use with a standard transmission. 

When the clutch slips and can’t engage or disengage, the transmission can’t react and the wheels won’t be able to move. The car will no longer be able to move forward.


Signs of a Bad Clutch 

If you think your clutch is failing, here are several signs of a bad clutch. 

Grinding gears

If your gears continuously make a grinding noise, it could be a sign of a bad clutch. It can also happen with an inexperienced driver, but if not, it is likely your clutch system.

Weak acceleration 

If you notice that your engine is engaged but your vehicle isn’t moving, it’s best to have your clutch and transmission checked.


Clutch pedal sticking or too loose

If you are having difficulty with the clutch pedal moving too freely or it’s difficult to press, then the clutch may need to be repaired.

Won’t shift or stay in gear

When you have trouble getting or keeping the car in gear, then there is a problem with the clutch or the transmission.

Strange noises

Clunking, banging, grinding, screeching, or any type of noise that is new can mean trouble for your clutch or transmission. Have this checked out as soon as you notice these sounds.

Burning smell in car

If your clutch is burnt, then you will notice a strong burning smell in the car. You may not be able to even engage the transmission if it has been damaged for too long.

Cause of the clutch slipping

The most common cause of clutch slipping is wear and tear. The clutch is always in use and not always used properly. Other clutch slipping symptoms are oiling of friction linings, worn friction lining, damaged mechanisms, and damage or malfunction of other parts of your clutch.

Like any part of your car, it is smart to have it checked out as soon as you notice any difference or change. The longer you wait, the worse it gets and then it starts to affect other areas of your car as well.


How to Repair Clutch Slipping

In order to fix a clutch slipping, a mechanic must identify that this is the issue first. There can be numerous reasons why your clutch isn’t engaging or working properly, so there isn’t just an easy fix. Clutch slipping can be caused by too much free play with your clutch pedal, oil or fluid contaminated on various surfaces inside your clutch, or a worn-out friction disc, or pressure plate.

Once the damage and the cause are determined, the clutch may need to be replaced. It will depend on how extensive the damage is, but if it isn’t too far gone, your mechanic may be able to make repairs.


How to Prevent Damaging Your Clutch

To keep your clutch from wearing out too soon, do your best to take care of it. Here are a few things you can keep in mind to preserve your clutch for a longer period of time.

Change gears quickly and smoothly. Don’t leave the clutch pedal pressed for too long while shifting gears.

transmission maintenance

Don’t keep your foot on the clutch pedal. Keeping the clutch pedal partially engaged will wear it out far too quickly.

Move to neutral when stopped. Keeping the car in gear while stopped puts a lot of pressure on the clutch and the transmission.

Use appropriate gears. Don’t try to push your car too hard in the wrong gear. Shift down as you need to slow down and gradually gear up when accelerating.

Contact Us

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us at Toronto Transmission Centre for all your clutch and transmission needs.

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