Clutch Slipping? Here’s What To Do

In this article you’ll find information about symptoms of a slipping clutch, what to do if you experience a slipping clutch and if it can be fixed.

What does a clutch actually do?

The clutch is a device that allows the transmission to disengage from the engine, allowing the car to change gears. Basically, there are three main components in a clutch, namely the clutch plate, the pressure plate, and the flywheel. By pressing down on the clutch pedal, you release the springs that maintain the pressure plate against the clutch plate, as well as the clutch plate against the flywheel. Changing gears or stopping requires separation of the clutch plate and flywheel.

What does a slipping clutch mean?

A slipping clutch occurs when the clutch engages and disengages, without delivering power to the vehicle’s wheels as it should be doing. In this situation, the transfer of rotational power from the engine to the wheel is not occurring and the vehicle will struggle to move forward. 

This can be caused by a worn clutch, incorrect clutch adjustment, or low transmission fluid level. So for example, if the clutch’s friction material is worn out and has reduced thickness, the clutch plate will start moving at a different speed to the flywheel, which will cause it to slip.

What are the symptoms of a slipping clutch?

The following are some of the key things to look out for if you feel your clutch is slipping but aren’t quite sure:

  1. Engine revs but vehicle doesn’t move or difficulty accelerating
  2. Grinding noise when engaging the clutch
  3. Burning smell
  4. Difficulty shifting gears
  5. Slipping out of gear while driving

If you’re worried that your clutch may need replacing, you can read more on this blog post here: How Do I Know If My Clutch Needs Replacing? 

What causes the clutch to slip?

Wear and tear: The most common reason for the clutch to slip is simply just wear and tear. Over the years, a worn out disc or just extreme heat damage to the clutch components will eventually result in the clutch to slip. 

Incorrect installation: Even a newly fitted clutch can slip if it has been incorrectly fitted (bad adjustment) or due to low clutch fluid. 

Driving style: How quickly the clutch starts to wear out also depends a lot on the driving style. Faster acceleration, changing gears too quickly or “riding” the clutch all contribute to the premature wearing out of the clutch. 

Lack of maintenance: Failing to do an annual service can mean that crucial parts of the transmission system can go unnoticed and neglected causing all sorts of problems such as premature clutch failure.

Top Tips On How To Use A Clutch To Prolong Its Lifespan

What should I do if the clutch is slipping?

Technically, you may still be able to continue to drive a few miles if you find that the clutch is slipping but it doesn’t mean you should. It is not only unsafe but attempting to drive with a slipping clutch can cause damage to associated components that will cost even more to get repaired or replaced at a later stage. 

If you experience a slipping clutch while driving, it is recommended that you drive carefully and at a slower speed until you can have a mechanic take a look at it and fix it up. If you’re unable to get the car to a garage, you can always get a mobile mechanic to come to your home and get the clutch fixed.

Can a slipping clutch be fixed?

Yes, a slipping clutch can be fixed in most cases. In some cases, the damage caused is quite extensive and will likely need a full clutch replacement. The mechanic will be able to advise on this once the transmission has been removed and the clutch has been inspected

A slipping clutch is a common problem and qualified mechanics are no strangers to it. To find a local mechanic, simply enter your postcode and vehicle registration number and you can get a fixed price for a clutch replacement. 

Book a Clutch Replacement

Is there a quick fix for a slipping clutch?

If you notice symptoms of clutch slipping then one thing you could do is check the clutch fluid levels. The fluid itself is the same as brake fluid. Ensure that the master cylinder controlling the clutch has enough fluid and is not below the minimum mark. 

A slipping clutch is not typically something that you can quickly fix. It would require a qualified mechanic to take a look at it and then fix it. Even if you manage to drive a few hours or days with a slipping clutch, sooner or later it will give out risking even more damage in the process. 

Instant Price for Clutch Replacement

Marketing at ClickMechanic

Louanne is a marketing and communications professional in the automotive tech industry currently at ClickMechanic, boasting over 5 years of experience.

Louanne’s work at ClickMechanic might revolve around branding and customer engagement, but her passions extend far beyond the marketing sphere. A true foodie at heart, she loves exploring diverse cuisines and talking about her culinary adventures across the world. Her writing prowess shines through in her car-related blog content, where she offers invaluable driving tips and practical car repair advice.

In her Suzuki Jimny 4-wheel drive, Louanne combines her sense of adventure with her automotive know-how, transforming every drive into a lesson and a pleasure.