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Taking Automotive Courses? 3 Common Symptoms of a Burnt Out Clutch

Published on July 8, 2021 by in Blog, CATI

Ready to shift gear.

Many vehicle owners favour a manual transmission for the added control it affords the driver. The clutch is an essential part of a manual car, allowing the driver to change gears smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately, the clutch absorbs a lot of wear that can cause it to burn out. Identifying a worn clutch isn’t as simple as identifying a flat tire. There is no specific lifespan on the clutch, and its condition depends largely on the driving style and conditions. 

A skilled auto service technician will know how to identify and replace damage to a vehicle, including the clutch. Knowing how to identify a burnt clutch early on will help to prevent excessive damage and the need for a whole new clutch assembly to be installed. Here’s a closer look at the common symptoms of a burnt out clutch. 

1. Pay Attention to Burning Smells After Automotive Courses 

The number one sign of a burnt clutch is a strong burning smell coming from the vehicle. With a pungent smell both inside and outside the car, this is the most obvious symptom of a worn clutch. The smell, similar to burning rubber, is a sign that the clutch is overheating and the friction is beginning to wear down the material. 

Generally, this happens when the clutch is not fully engaged by the pressure plate, usually from driving in slow-moving traffic for long periods of time. If the smell regularly appears after changing gears or pulling away, you can be sure that the clutch is burning and slipping. Those training to become a mechanic should be able to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle to confirm wear and tear on the clutch.

Automotive courses teach students to repair and replace the different parts of an auto body

Automotive courses teach students to repair and replace the different parts of an auto body

2. Feeling a Burnt Clutch

When a clutch is burnt out, the driver may notice a change in how the clutch pedal feels. If it feels soft to push, this is a good warning sign that the clutch is beginning to fail. Generally, this indicates damage to the flywheel, pressure plate, and clutch fork that has been caused by continually driving with a burnt clutch. 

A burnt clutch can also cause difficulty in changing gears. When the clutch plate is worn out, it may not fully disengage from the flywheel when the pedal is pushed down. Not only does this make it harder to shift gears but it also adds to the damage, as the clutch plate continues to slip and burn as it attempts to engage with the flywheel. If the driver experiences any of these symptoms, a skilled technician with auto mechanic training will know how to replace or repair the damaged parts.

A burnt out clutch may feel softer or harder to push down

A burnt out clutch may feel softer or harder to push down

3. Strange Noises When Changing Gears

Not only does a burnt out clutch feel different, but the vehicle may also omit a strange sound. If there is damage to the flywheel, pressure plate, or clutch fork, changing gears will feel rough. When excessive damage occurs, gear changes also become noisy. If parts of the clutch assembly are worn out, they may cause a clunking or banging sound when shifting gears. This is a good indicator that the clutch system isn’t operating as smoothly as it should. As a professional mechanic, you’ll need to be aware of the sensation, sounds, and performance of the clutch pedal in order to diagnose the root cause of the problem. 

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