How to tell if the clutch is slipping

Cars are machines that, no matter how much they take care of, sooner or later end up causing problems. The car clutch, as you have surely experienced at some time, is one of these classics.

However, we must bear in mind that the more a car is cared for and the sooner a possible breakdown is solved, the more chances we have that the damage will be minor and will not affect the mechanism of the car. With this in mind, if we notice any change in the feel of the clutch, as well as other possible problems with this pedal, it is possible that the time has come to stop by the workshop to have a review carried out and thus avoid any possible unforeseen event.

He thinks that it will always be better to take it to the workshop for this reason than to wait for the car to leave us lying in the middle of the road. If you want to find out how to know if the clutch is slipping, keep reading this article. We tell you everything!

Slipping and lack of power in the car clutch

One of the clearest symptoms that you have a bad car clutch are problems with acceleration. You shift into high gears, you demand more speed from the car, but the car doesn”t accelerate as fast as it should. If you have encountered this situation, it is very likely that you are facing a clear example of a slipping clutch. If this happens, the most common is that the action of the clutch does not reach the rest of the engine, which causes the sensation of ‘slipping” by not making the vehicle respond to what we ask.

This problem is noticeable throughout driving but, more clearly, on slopes or overtaking, which is when you need more power from the car. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you reduce your speed to one where the car moves freely and does not show signs of problems.

In general, it is recommended to drive below 100 kilometers per hour, as well as to visit a workshop as soon as possible to have a vehicle condition check carried out.

The car smells like burning

Another symptom that may indicate that you are facing a case of a slipping clutch is the smell of burning.

This smell can be manifested both when you keep the clutch depressed for a long time and when you push it too hard on different terrains. This leads to increased friction of the internal parts of the car, including the clutch mechanism. This friction is what causes this characteristic burning smell.

If this problem is not solved, it may damage other parts of the vehicle or cause the clutch to slip more easily.

Gear shifting problems

On the other hand, it cannot be ignored that the main function of the clutch is to change the gears of the vehicle. If when you shift from one gear to another you notice that the clutch does not respond as it should, that is, that the gear does not shift easily or that, even when it does, the vehicle accelerates and makes strange noises, it is most likely that the clutch is damaged.

These damages can be of different types. One of the most common cases is that the toothed wheels inside the mechanism have broken or deformed as a result of forcing the clutch. In these cases, it will be necessary to go through the workshop so that they carry out a review and can repair the vehicle.

Annoying and strange noises in the car

Finally, another symptom that can help you know if the car”s clutch is slipping or damaged is the presence of noises that shouldn”t be there.

In fact, although the presence of noises such as squeaks and forced friction may occur when changing gears, these noises can also appear when using continuous gears, that is, when the clutch is not being used. In these cases, it is important to be aware of the sounds and possible strange noises that the vehicle makes, as well as the moments in which they are heard more clearly. Some examples are:

  • Annoying noises when the car goes up a hill
  • Annoying noises when the car goes down a hill
  • Strange noises when the car accelerates
  • Strange noises when the car is braking

If the noises persist over time and there is no apparent cause, it is also possible that it is a problem with the clutch, regardless of whether the noises are manifested when this pedal is used or not.


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