I have been asked the question recently “what causes the clutch to slip” and also “what causes the clutch to burn out” These are just a few of the questions we receive concerning “clutch repair” and “clutch replacement” I have tried to answer 5 of the most common clutch issues.

1. Master or Slave cylinder leakage.  There are two types of clutches—hydraulic and cable-operated.  Most cars these days are hydraulic, so they rely on fluid pressure from the clutch master cylinder to actuate the clutch slave cylinder. Age and wear  can cause the seals to fail and this can happen either internally or externally.  If your master or slave cylinder starts to lose fluid, it can become unable to produce hydraulic pressure.

How you can tell: If your cylinders are leaking, you might see fluid leaking under your vehicle.


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2. Your flywheel might become warped.  The flywheel is bolted to the end of the crankshaft.  Over time, your flywheel can get overheated, which can cause it to warp or crack.

How you can tell: As a result of your flywheel’s surface becoming uneven, you might experience what we call “clutch chatter,” which are the vibrations or shudder you might feel as you let out the clutch.

3. Your clutch disc might be worn out.  The clutch disc is splined to the input shaft of your transmission and it can wear out over time with use or due to your particular driving habits. Hint; Slipping the clutch or ridding the clutch will cause premature wear.

How you can tell: When your clutch disc becomes worn out, it causes your clutch pedal to release higher.  In some cases, it can become so worn that your car can have trouble accelerating under a heavy load. You may hear the engine speed increase with no increase in speed.


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4. Your pressure plate might be worn out.  The pressure plate is what clamps the clutch disc to the flywheel.  Since it is one of the hardest-working parts of your clutch, it can become worn out easily. 

How you can tell: As with your flywheel, a worn pressure plate can also result in clutch chatter.


5. Your throwout bearing might be worn out.  The throwout bearing is what actuates the pressure plate.  It rides on the input shaft for the transmission.  Because it’s constantly spinning, it can become worn out and lose its lubrication. 

How you can tell: If you hear a squeaking sound when your car is running, or the noise may increase when the clutch is appiled, it’s possible that your throwout bearing being worn or failing.


At London’s Automotive in Corvallis we are equipped to handle all of your automotive service and repair needs. If you ever have a concern about the condition of your clutch or drivetrain we can get you in for an inspection or test drive to evaluate the situation. We want to make sure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. We hope to be the one stop shop for all of your automotive needs.