If your car’s clutch has seen better days, is damaged or faulty, you may start to notice it ‘slipping’ when you change gears. This is a sign that the friction material on your clutch is wearing out and needs replacing.

 

With Fixter’s seamless, end-to-end service your car will be collected, taken to your local garage and delivered back to your home by our fully-insured drivers. You’ll be kept up-to-date from start to finish.

How do I know when my clutch is slipping?

When your clutch slips you will feel a momentary loss of acceleration, or your car may accelerate but not at its normal rate. You will experience a slipping clutch when changing gears. Usually a clutch starts slipping in first gear on acceleration, often under moderate to hard acceleration. When a clutch is slipping there may also be a burning smell and sometimes you may even see smoke.

 

One way to test if your clutch is slipping is to select a new gear, release the clutch pedal and continue trying to accelerate. If you notice that the engine is racing, but you’re not speeding up as fast as you normally would, there is likely an issue with your clutch.

 

Usually a clutch will start slipping long before it fails. However, as soon as you notice it slipping, you should book your car in for a clutch kit replacement.

Why does my clutch keep slipping?

A typical car clutch is made up of three parts – the clutch plate, the pressure plate and the flywheel – these work in harmony to allow you to change gears seamlessly. The clutch works by employing a plate or disc that uses friction to join it to the flywheel where they move at the same speed. A slipping clutch occurs when your clutch’s friction material is worn out, therefore the clutch plate will start moving at a different speed to the flywheel, causing a slip.

What are the common causes of a slipping clutch?

Worn, damaged clutch friction linings or disc surface

Risk level – Medium

What to do – If you have felt your clutch slip it’s important to get it checked out or replaced, as a faulty clutch can compromise the drivability and safety of your car. One way to test if your clutch is slipping is to select a new gear, release the clutch pedal and continue trying to accelerate.

Oiling of friction linings

Risk level – Medium

What to do – If you have an oil leak or if oil has somehow made its way into the clutch mechanism, this could be causing the slipping sensation. The oil will reduce the effectiveness of the friction lining meaning that the components in your clutch won’t be able to operate properly. You may need to book your car in for a service so that your oil levels can be checked and your engine cleaned if necessary.

How long should a clutch last for?

There isn’t a set amount of time or mileage that your clutch should last for, as it can depend on both the car and your driving style. Most clutches are designed to last approximately 60,000 miles, however they can remain healthy and in good condition after covering anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000 miles.

 

There are a range of factors that can affect the lifespan of your clutch:

  • Quality of driving – if you do a lot of stop-start driving or fancy yourself a bit of a “boy/girl racer”, i.e. revving your engine excessively and harsh acceleration without climbing up the gears first, this is likely to wear down your clutch more quickly
  • Quality of vehicle – the car’s age and the mileage it’s done can affect how often the clutch needs replacing
  • Maintenance of your car – regular services and checks to ensure the car is in good health and operating as it should be

Can you drive with a slipping clutch?

A clutch will usually begin slipping in first gear on acceleration, often under moderate to hard acceleration. At this stage, it is still possible to drive with a slipping clutch, however we recommend that you get your clutch replaced as soon as possible. When your car’s clutch begins to slip when you’re driving in higher gears – say, gear three and up – this is a sign that your clutch will most likely fail soon, and you must