What does a clutch do? And what is a clutch kit?
The clutch is a solid metal disc that couples the crankshaft and flywheel to the gearbox’s clutch shaft. The clutch is located between the engine and transmission to temporarily disconnect the engine drive from the gearbox.
A clutch kit usually contains all the elements to replace and rejuvenate your clutch and its performance: usually a clutch disc, pressure plate, flywheel and a throw race or release bearings. A clutch kit will contain the correct parts for a particular make and model of car and is often cheaper than buying the components individually.
How often should a clutch need replacing?
There isn’t a typical time or set mileage suggested to replace a clutch kit, as it can depend on both the car and your driving style. Most clutches are designed to last approximately 60k miles, yet they can have a healthy life covering mileages anywhere between 30k and 100k.
The law, vehicle regulations and your MOT
A damaged or broken clutch will affect your car’s driving ability to the point where it could fail its MOT. Testing doesn’t include an examination of the engine, clutch or gearbox, so if it appears to be working adequately, then it shouldn’t affect the test result.
What causes a clutch to stop working correctly?
A clutch will wear out over time through continual use. The disc thickness reduces, which affects the amount of force the pressure plate can apply to the clutch disc against the flywheel. Incorrect use over extended periods will impact the lifespan and cause unnecessary problems. Slippage can also be caused by reduced tension in the pressure plate’s springs.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning clutch
The clutch slips while driving
If you feel a loss or inappropriate delivery of power when using the accelerator, it could be due to a damaged or worn clutch.
Changing gears is a problem
If you can’t change gears or it feels like there is unusual grinding and friction when trying, your clutch isn’t separating the engine drive from the gearbox sufficiently.
The car doesn’t move
If there is no delivery of power to the engine from the accelerator, then your clutch could be the problem.
Your gearbox makes unusual and unhealthy noises
If the transmission makes unhealthy grinding noises when you try to use the clutch to engage or disengage the engine, there’s a strong chance that your clutch isn’t operating as it should.
Smart is a German automotive brand, established 25 years ago in 1994.
The company is a division of the automotive corporation Daimler AG and operated under the ownership of Mercedes-Benz.
How popular is Smart in the United Kingdom?
Smart isnt’ the most popular brand in the UK, most likely due to appealing primarily to parking-challenged city-dwellers; there are only 96k of their vehicles on the roads of the UK today.
Showing steady growth, however, since their introduction to the UK market in 2003, the trend would suggest that we’re likely to see more of these eccentric looking tiny cars as time goes by.
Smart: Quirky little microcars and subcompacts
Owned by Mercedes-Benz, Smart cars fit into the market you’d expect on first glance. They’re a fun and funky little city car; they’re solid, middle of the road machines, designed to be as versatile as they look.
A Smart car will never fool anyone that it’s a hi-end, luxury vehicle. There’s plenty of glossy plastic and groovy fabrics, yet in the cockpit, you’ll find up-to-the-minute touchscreen media options at the controls. They do come at an inflated price for the small city car market, but by nature of their unique design—there’s nothing quite like them.
Smart cars are cheap to run—but not so cheap to buy
Your Smart ForFour will be more expensive by comparison than its rivals: the Fiat 500, Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10—yet it’s rather hard to pitch the Fortwo against anything because there isn’t anything on the market quite so small. Only the Renault Twizy comes to mind, and that’s barely a car at all.
Once you’ve got one though, your Smart car will cost next to nothing to run with their tiny wheels and low weight. The electric models perform even better with a fuel equivalent of 87mpg.
Smart’s reliability and reputation
Smart didn’t feature as one of the brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018 that we’ve been using to draw comparisons of reliability against other marques—but checking the user reviews gathered by the AA it would appear that most owners have very few problems and that their reliability scores are generally high.
Recent Smart recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Smart models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
14/10/2017 – Smart ForTwo, Smart ForFour (2017)
The strength of the left front steering knuckle may be insufficient
29/09/2017 – Smart ForTwo, Smart ForFour (2014–2015)
As a result of the weakening of the braking rope wrench adjustment knob, the hand brake lever travel could be prolonged gradually
24/06/2016 – Smart ForFour (2014–2015)
The anchorage for the rear seat backrest may not be sufficiently resistant
10/06/2016 – Smart ForTwo (2014–2015)
At high vehicle speed, combined with strong wind, the plastic front service hatch can detach from the vehicle and fall into traffic
05/06/2015 – Smart ForTwo (2014)
The steering mechanism screws used for some vehicles may break
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.