-Get your vehicle into gear-
I am sure have heard the word clutch or clutch plate at some point and may not have fully understood the meaning of it, well, let us give you a bit of insight. Your clutch or clutch plate allows you to change your gears while your engine is still on the go. Your clutch connects your engine and transmission by two rotating disks-your pressure plate and the flywheel. The moment you release the clutch the pressure plate shaft presses against the flywheel of your vehicle which allows you to change gears smoothly.
When the material of your clutch wears thin, it doesn’t grip as well as it should. This reduces the amount of torque and power usually fed to your manual transmission causing it to slip and this is a tell-tale sign that it needs replacing.
Signs your clutch is on its way out:
· One of the first and most obvious signs of a retired clutch is if your clutch feels soft almost spongy and doesn’t jump back when you release it.
· A result of a clutch that is slipping for too long or frequently heats up. This causes a burning smell when you step on the clutch pedal.
· When your vehicle hesitates before it accelerates and your clutch doesn’t deliver enough power to your manual transmission.
· If your vehicle’s RPM reading is higher than usual but you still reach the same speed this may be the next clue of a faulty clutch.
· If your clutch pedal makes a noise when you are in neutral like a squealing or rumbling noise or if you can hear any grinding when shifting gears.
Don’t be alarmed though- it could also be something as simple as a shortage of brake fluid if you drive an older vehicle or a vehicle with a hydraulic clutch (yes I am speaking from experience). A situation that could have cost me thousands of rands if I took it in and had it checked by a not-so-honest mechanic was easily remedied with a quick stop at a petrol station and a single paper note. This is why we stretch the importance of seeing a trustworthy mechanic. If you drive a newer vehicle and you experience any of the above signs, we recommend that you visit a manufacturer-approved service centre as soon as possible before you are left stranded.
Written by: Nita Stadler