Much like the stereotype that older adults are baffled by smart phones and other high-tech gadgets, young adults – the infamous Millennial generation – are widely thought to be too intimidated to try their hand at any automotive repairs. These are, of course, generalizations that oversimplify trends and do not represent everyone in those age groups. However, there is a grain of truth in these clichés.
According to the Automobile Association (AA), it receives 3.4 million call-outs annually and a half of those are due to poor maintenance. That is a whopping 1,700,000 break downs that could have been avoided if the vehicle’s owners prioritized maintenance. Our wallets are already aching with sympathy pains!
Modern cars include more gadgets than older vehicles. However, the fundamentals of caring for an internal combustion engine have not significantly changed. Regardless of whether you are a stanch do-it-yourselfer or prefer to outsource your vehicle’s servicing, you are more than capable of keeping your car in good repair! The first step is to move outside your comfort zone by learning to identify when there is a problem and what is causing it.
What is a clutch?
Do you know how to drive an manual transmission? If not, the word “clutch” might be unfamiliar. It is an incredibly important piece of equipment. It is more than just that mysterious third pedal in some cars!
When you are driving, your engine will spin the entire time, until you shut it off. The car’s wheels, on the other hand, should not be moving the entire trip! To avoid causing damage when the car stops, the engine and transmission need to be able to separate. The clutch is two metal plates that transfer the engine’s power to the gearbox temporarily. This allows the driver to shift gears safely.
A decade ago, around half of new cars in the United States used a manual transmission. Times have changed and, today, people want automatic – or standard – vehicles. In 2012, only 7% of cars were manual. That downward trend continued into 2016, dropping down to 3% of vehicles!
Both automatic and manual transmissions include a clutch system, which preforms the same function. However, unless you are a mechanic, you’re unlikely to find yourself discussing an automatic vehicle’s clutch system. In automatic transmissions, there is a torque converter system, which connects the engine and transmission.
How can you tell when the clutch needs to be repaired?
Modern car’s clutches can last over 80,00 miles if you maintain them well. Your driving habits will impact how long a clutch lasts as well. Do you accelerate quickly or come to abrupt stops? That will cause more wear and tear.
In general, you should pay attention to the following signs to tell if your clutch needs to be repaired.
- Grinding noises - When you first learn how to drive a manual vehicle, you likely became familiar with a terrible grinding noise. Unsurprisingly, that is a noise you want to avoid. When the clutch does not release properly, the shaft keeps spinning, resulting in a grinding noise. It also may prevent the vehicle from getting into gear. Sticky pedal components, a blockage, or worn seals can also cause a grinding noise. Once you are used to driving manual, you should not be plagued by grinding noises so, if you find them sneaking back into your drive, speak to a repair shop immediately.
- Gear slipping - Gear slipping refers to when your car slips out of a higher gear into a lower one. It may happen unexpectedly or, when you are trying to shift into a higher gear, it may not take and slip back to the previous gear. Each slip damages the clutch system, resulting in more slips and more damage. Vehicles that experience gear slipping frequently need to be serviced at a repair shop.
- Pedal pressure issues - Pushing your clutch pedal down should not be a struggle. Similarly, it should not feel like you are stepping on nothing. Too much or too little friction can be a symptom of a larger, serious issue. A mechanic should check your clutch linkage system and the cross-shaft. Issues with either of these need to be repaired immediately.
When should I seek professional help?
We don’t want to scare anyone away from servicing their own car! There are many things you can do to keep your vehicle in good repair on your own. However, repairing a clutch is not like swapping out a car battery. You are messing with the transmission of your automobile. Even if you properly identify that your issue is coming from the clutch, the untrained eye – or ear – will likely have trouble properly diagnosing the issue. Your safety is worth more than the cash you would save from this particular repair.
Come in to Sergeant Clutch Discount Transmission Repair Shop in San Antonio, Texas today! Our mechanics can assess your clutch problems and determine the most effective, affordable option for you. Give us a call at (210) 239-1600!