Slipping Clutch Symptoms, Diagnosis and Replacement Cost

The clutch establishes the connection between the engine and transmission, even if the engine is rotating and the transmission isn’t. Commonly, you have to put pressure on the clutch pedal to initiate the disengagement. However, if you do not have to put much pressure to create disengagement on the engine, this will be known as a slipping clutch. But what are the slipping clutch symptoms?

7 Slipping Clutch Symptoms

1. Increasing RPM, but the Speed Does Not

A simple way to confirm whether your clutch is slipping is to watch carefully the RPM of the engine. If you initiate acceleration by stepping the gas pedal and you notice the RPM to abnormally increase while the speed of your driving does not, there is a great possibility that you have a slipping clutch.

A slipping clutch is commonly more palpable when in higher gears if you try to accelerate.

2. Unsatisfactory Engine Performance

The greatest test is if you are hauling a heavy load in your car. Commonly, this will demand engine to supply the drive wheels plenty of power. However, if there is a slipping clutch, the engine will fail to provide this power. And most likely, you will nearly create no acceleration due to the insufficient power. You can lessen the load that you are hauling to considerably improve the power, although it can only serve a temporary fix.

3. Burning Smell

You will notice a burning smell originating from the frontispiece of the car if there is a slipping clutch. This is because of the entire heat created from the regular detachment of the engine, as well as the slipping of the clutch.

The more slipping of the clutch, the worse manifestation of burning smell you will notice. Surely, you do not want to run your car with this kind of smell as it can be sickening. The more slipping of the clutch, the worse performance you can get.

4. Clutch Pedal Senses Wrong

Aside from keeping an ear to the sounds, you should also familiarize how the clutch pedal feels like. If you notice that it starts to feel strange, it could mean that there is a problem with the clutch. A soft feel can tell you that the system gets air in it.

5. Clutch Height Difference

While you drive your car, you must be familiar with the clutch height. If you hold down on the clutch pedal and lift off your foot, the pedal is expected to go back to the similar height that it used to be.

However, if you observe that there is a change in the height regardless if the pedal is extremely low or extremely high, then it could mean that there is a problem with the clutch. In many cases, it is because of a slipping clutch.

6. Quick Disengagement

The largest symptom of a clutch that is slipping is the immediate disengagement between the engine and the drive wheels. You can tell that the clutch is in a normal condition if you will only need to hold down the pedal around 1 to 2 inches before disengaging the engine.

Nevertheless, if the clutch is slipping, the engine can already disengage even after you gently hold down the clutch pedal to less than 1 inch. There are even times that are simply relaxing your foot over the pedal can already work to disengage the engine.

7. Weird Noises in the Clutch

A grinding noise, if you change gears, could never make a good indication. It is not always because of clutch problems, and it can be simply because you failed to completely engage the clutch. Nevertheless, a grinding noise could be because of a slipping clutch. It tells that the clutch is not completely releasing, which can create systems' deterioration.

How To Tell If Your Car Has A Slipping Clutch-Easy Test YouTube Video:

How to Test for a Slipping Clutch?

There are several ways to evaluate the condition of the clutch. Consolidate these with your car’s age and its background; you can create a precise evaluation of your clutch’s condition:

  1. Try pulling away in third gear – If you succeed in pulling away from a full stop in either third or fourth gear and not noticing the engine to cut out, then you know that you have a slipping clutch.
  2. Evaluate how the clutch feels – If the car revs or accelerates too much, it can lead to an indication of a slipping clutch.
  3. Inspect the placement of the clutch – Changes on the placement and movement of the clutch pedal may also direct to a slipping clutch.
  4. Inspect the level of the brake fluid – While the clutch wears, you will see the release bearing to cross inwards, creating a drop in the brake fluid. Find the reservoir of the fluid and check whether the level of fluid is lower than how it should be.
clutch pedal

How to Fix a Slipping Clutch?

Fixing a slipping clutch can be done depending on its cause. If a flywheel or clutch disc is impaired or greatly worn, the only way to fix it is to replace the affected parts. This commonly includes uncovering the clutch and, at times taking off the gearbox.

Many contemporary hydraulic clutch systems can adjust by themselves. It means that they can fine-tune to remunerate for the scrape to the disc. Some will let a particular quantity of manual adjustment through tailoring the range of the push-rod of the slave cylinder. By setting a longer push-rod, the reduced quantity of friction on the disc is taken care of. This brings back the clutch pedal to its good condition.

At times, adding fluid in the system can address the concern of a slipping clutch. It can sometimes make a momentary fix.

How to Fix a Slipping Clutch in Your Car (Clutch Replacement) YorTube Video:

How to Replace a Clutch?

If you have to replace the clutch, then you should get the service of a skilled mechanic. You cannot do it with your car simply positioned on jack stands. This job will require a proper ramp or lift.

How much is a Replacement Cost?

If you plan to have it performed in a garage, then you should also prepare for the labor fees. Expect the labor fees to be quite costly than the amount of the parts.

The average cost of replacing the clutch is roughly $1,200 to $1,400, including the parts and labor. Although this figure may not seem to be as high as your other repairs, it is still fair to say that it can make you think twice.


Slipping clutch symptoms are worth knowing. You have to familiarize these indications for you to properly care for your car. Now that you know the common symptoms of a slipping clutch, you should never forget them. If you notice any manifestations, it is important that you immediately act on it to prevent further damage.

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