The Clutch is one of the most integral parts of a vehicle. It is the one that connects the engine to the transmission. So, if your clutch plate gets damaged, the car would not be able to move as the power from the engine is not being transferred to the wheels. However, the clutch goes through a rough and tough use over its course of life. Bumper to bumper traffic, driving in hills etc. increases the rate of wear and tear of the clutch plate. So, it is important that you know some signs that your clutch life is about to end and soon you would need to replace it. Like this, you will not get stranded anywhere as if your clutch plate runs out, you would need to tow the vehicle as it cannot be replaced on the roadside.
A growling or grinding noise when the clutch is pressed or a squealing noise that comes when clutch pedal is released is usually caused by a worn-out or a bad bearing. If not replaced then it will end up causing more damage and might harm other mechanical parts too.
Shuddering can be explained as the shaking or hopping feeling that you get when you release the clutch too fast. If this feeling continues while driving at low speeds, it means that there is some defect with the clutch system. There are chances some water has entered into the system when you drove through a flooded road. Usually, the water goes away when you drive for some kilometers. However, if the issue persists, you must get in touch with the mechanic. There are other reasons also such as misaligned engine and transmission, worn out engine mounts or the friction plate in the clutch is not working properly.
Slippage is the most usual sign of an ageing clutch. Slippage is simple to understand. It is basically when the rpms of the engine keeps on increasing but the car is not gaining any speed or gaining very slowly. It means that the clutch has started to slip and it is very close to its end of its life. The slippage happens because the clutch plates are not able to provide enough traction and power from the engine is not able to transfer to the transmission.
Hard gear shifts
If you have to use more than usual force to slot the gears into the place and there is a mechanical noise, even though you have engaged the clutch thoroughly, it means that there is something wrong with the clutch. Sometimes the issues can be fixed by making some adjustments or you would need to replace some parts.
What should you replace?
Usually, the clutch plate easily lasts 1 lakh kilometers if the conditions are right i.e. you do not face regular bumper to bumper traffic, you do not drive on hills, you drive properly with a light foot etc. If you are driving with a heavy foot and aggressively then there is a high chance that you would need to replace the clutch plates sooner.
If your vehicle is slipping than the cost can be around from Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 12,000 which varies from vehicle to vehicle. In it usually the whole clutch assembly is replaced. However, for the CBU or Completely Built Units or expensive luxury cars, the cost could be as high as Rs. 50,000. If you are experiencing hard gear shifts then there might be a leak if your car comes with a hydraulic clutch. The leak can be detected and you won’t have to change the whole clutch assembly. If your car is shuddering then the clutch friction assembly may require a replacement and it will cost you almost the same as the clutch assembly. The grinding noise can be fixed by changing the set of ball bearings that are worn out. However, it requires the transmission to be separated from the engine.