Cheaper clutch repairs to try before doing a full clutch replacement

If you are having issues with your clutch, hearing the quotes for a full clutch replacement can be eye-wateringly high. A clutch replacement tends to be expensive as the clutch placement means that the mechanic needs to remove some other large components, including the gear box in many models. Here are a few clutch repairs that your clutch specialists might suggest before going for a full clutch replacement.

Draining the brake fluid on a hydraulic clutch

If you have a hydraulic clutch, it can often be worth draining the clutch fluid (which is just brake fluid) and then refilling the system. Clutches, like any hydraulic system, can get leaks and/or bubbles in the system which can affect how well the pressure from pressing the pedal translates. This can result in a 'soft' clutch that you need to pump. The mechanic will check the system as they are refilling it to look for leaks to try and prevent the issue from recurring.

Inspecting shift linkage on a manual clutch

Any loose links in the shift linkage can lead to problems with the clutch being hard and unresponsive. This is relatively easy to eyeball as an issue (checking for wear), although again it can be labour intensive to fix if it is the issue, due to the difficulty getting into the space.

Inspecting the fluid on a manual clutch

A manual clutch still relies on transmission fluid to convey the gear changes. If you find that your clutch has suddenly gotten worse, it can be worth checking to make sure that the transmission fluid hasn't been inadvertently topped up with the wrong sort of fluid. This can be an issue if the servicer gets distracted and tries a fluid that is not recommended for your model, which can happen in very busy mass market auto service chains.

If this is the issue, you might find that your clutch is particularly hard to operate until it gets hot enough and fluid enough, or else the clutch may suddenly become sloppy and change into neutral without prompting. The solution again is to drain and replace the transmission fluid.

While there are quite a few parts of the clutch that can fail, due to the high labour cost by the time a clutch is removed for inspection, it is usually more prudent to replace the full clutch kit and machine the flywheel if you are replacing part of the clutch. If you are not feeling certain on what is required for your clutch repair, seek out an auto repairer that can happily answer your questions.