How to Troubleshoot a Car's Clutch

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If a car has a clutch slippage problem, a rise in the revolutions per minute (RPM) rate of the engine will not always correspond to acceleration. Diagnose a clutch problems with the car maintenance tips in this free video on automotive repair from a professional auto mechanic.

Part of the Video Series: Automotive Troubleshooting
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Video Transcript

Dave Erb here from Dave's Ultimate Automotive and we are going to be talking a little bit about clutch diagnoses. There can be a lot of problems associated with clutch. So when someone says I have a problem with my clutch it can mean one of several different things, either they push in the clutch, put the car in gear, let out the clutch and it doesn't go anywhere or they push in the clutch and they can't get the car into gear. These are two separate problems, two separate areas. So first we have to understand a little bit about how a clutch works so we can properly diagnose it. In real simple terms, this is a fly wheel, this is what bolts to the back of the engine.This is a clutch disk, this is your friction material, this is what wears, when you talk about a worn out clutch. This is the clutch diaphragm, this is the other surface that the clutch this wears against. And this is your diaphragm, these fingers right here when you push in your clutch, these fingers get depressed and released the tension or squish if you want to say it a better way, between this plate and the fly wheel. So when you let out the clutch, this diaphragm releases and pulls everything together to make it one piece. Now as you know when you are taking off, things are sliding together and they slide to lock in, when a clutch starts to slip, if we were to diagnose it as a slip problem, that would be where you let off the clutch, you go to accelerate, your RPMs rise, the car doesn't accelerate or go forward. It might happen a lot going up hills and fourth and fifth gear, you go to accelerate, RMPs rise, you hear the engine racing, but the car doesn't motivate itself along anymore. That would be considered a slipping clutch which is going to be this part material right here being worn out. Another common problem is that people push in, the clutch and try to put it in gear and it won't go into gear, it just grinds a lot. That's another problem. What can happen there, is that part of this diaphragm could come apart and you feel like you are pushing the clutch in and out but, but you are not able to release these fingers because something is jammed between there or something else is come apart jamming that up. The last part would be is if you get in your car, you push the clutch petal in and the clutch petal does not come off the floor, it feels like there's no tension in there, the clutch just goes to the floor and lays down on the floor. Most cars they have what they call hydraulic clutches, in other words the activating mechanism, the part that pushes against this when you push on your petal, your pushing fluid from one point to another, from one piston to another, one of those pistons may have started leaking or by pass the fluid and you've lost that pressure, so that would be hydraulic problem and nothing to do with the clutch although it manifests itself in not being able to put it into gear.So the clutch is on the floor, probably a hydraulic problem, or a clutch slave or a clutch master as we call them. If it slips or you can't get it into gear that's still maybe a hydraulic problem that most likely a mechanical issue with the clutch. So understanding how a clutch works will help you diagnose a clutch problem.


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