The clutch is one part of your car that will still work even when it’s already a bit faulty. They’re designed to last for a long time before it gives you some signs that there’s something wrong with it. For new cars, the clutch is expected to last 80,000 to 100,000 miles before they show signs of an impending problem. In older cars, they last at least 50,000 miles.
Signs Your Clutch Is Failing
When your car hits the range of mileage of the recommended replacement interval, it would be advisable for you to be on the lookout for symptoms of a faulty clutch. Here are some signs that your clutch would be needing a replacement anytime soon:
- The floor feels soft and spongy when you step on the pedal
- You’re revving the car but it’s hardly moved an inch
- You struggle a bit with the shifter
- You hear weird sounds when you step on the pedal
- There’s a foul, burning-like smell inside your cab
Is It Worth Replacing Your Clutch?
In most cases, replacing the clutch will require the following jobs: replacement of the clutch disc, release of the pilot bearing, and replacement or resurfacing of the flywheel. Sometimes, it would also require replacement of the clutch bushing and the pressure plate.
The typical clutch replacement is quite expensive and will likely cost you between USD$1,200 and USD$1,400. This amount includes the parts as well as labor. You might think it’s not that expensive, but it’ll definitely make you think twice whether it’s worth it. And clutch replacement is just one of those several things that you have to fix every so often, further adding up to the out-of-pocket expenses.
If your car is already a bit advanced in years with a lot of mileage on it, and replacing the clutch would cost you somewhere just below the actual resale value of your car, then it might no longer be worth replacing your clutch.
Factors That Affect Clutch Replacement Cost
Here are some of the most important factors which affect the cost of replacing the clutch:
- The Make And Model Of Your Car
The costs of the materials to replace a clutch aren’t that expensive. In most cases, after a mechanic checks your car, they’ll usually find out that what needs to be replaced are the pressure plate, the clutch disc, and the throw-out bearing. The retail price for this whole lot, which includes all three parts, would range between USD$90 to USD$400.
The majority of cars of various makes and models would fall on the low side of this price range. Only the spare parts (pressure plate, clutch disc, and throw-out bearing) for luxury or high-performance makes and models would have prices near the higher range of USD$400.
- Your Car’s Warranty Coverage
If your car’s warranty coverage hasn’t expired yet, then you might be able to charge your clutch replacement costs to the warranty. You’ll just have to coordinate with the dealer where you bought your car or the manufacturer if they have a servicing office in your state.
- Manual Vs Automatic Transmission
Replacing the clutch for automatic transmission is more expensive than that of replacing a manual transmission. In general, manual transmissions are more expensive because you’ll have to replace your clutch parts more frequently especially if you’re a clutch driver. But if an automatic transmission does need replacement, then it’ll definitely be more expensive and time-consuming as compared to a manual transmission.
If they’ve tried everything but your car still won’t start, , your mechanic might recommend that the entire transmission be replaced altogether instead of just rebuilding it. There are sensors, batteries, and computers in your gear box which might also have to be replaced. These parts are different from those found in your engine.
- Transmission Service Inclusion
You’d have to pay for additional fees if you include the transmission service in the replacement job. If you ask them to replace the transmission fluid and a few other engine fluids when the transmission has already been removed, this won’t cost you that much. But if you choose to have these transmission fluids changed after the transmission has already been put back in, you’ll most likely have to pay quite a bit more for the service.
- Using New Or Used Spare Parts
The replacement cost of the clutch would obviously vary based on whether you’d want them to use new parts or used spare parts. Brand new parts usually cost a bit higher than if you’d allow them to put used spare parts to replace your clutch. If your car is brand new then you’d most likely prefer that they put in brand new parts to replace the clutch. But if your car is already a bit old, then you might want to save on material costs by using used spare parts.
- The Type Of Cylinders Used In Hydraulic Clutch
If your clutch uses a hydraulic operation, then there’d be two cylinders in your clutch. These are the master cylinder and the slave cylinder. There may be times when either or both cylinders would need to be changed. The cost of master cylinders and slave cylinders is between USD$20 to USD$50.
If you want to prolong the life of your clutch, you should avoid clutch driving or riding the clutch. You can do this by taking your foot off the pedal when you’re not using it. You should also avoid ‘hanging’ on a steep incline. When you get stuck uphill, use your handbrake instead of balancing your clutch and throttle. If you can observe these things, you’ll be able to prolong your clutch replacement.