Maintenance tips: DIY discovery of bad car clutch plates

Updated Jul 30, 2019 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Is something wrong when shifting gears? Maybe it is happening because of the car plate clutch. Check out for more signals to make sure right now.

Driving a stick and shifting isn’t up to par? Something may be amiss with the clutch disc very big time. Before it goes south, then you’ll have read this and do something about it.

Manual cars have many advantages over automatic cars though Achilles Heel is the clutch plate or clutch pressure plate. Automatic transmission will use hydraulics to shift the gears automatically, or similar is automatic manual transmission (AMT) shifts with ECU or manual input that isn’t affected by a faulty clutch plate.

repairing car clutch plate

What makes the clutch plate work is the abraded surface that is supposed to last long

Not always the case with bad habits and the usual wear and tear of everyday driving. Considering the amount of traffic that is stopped and go that burns through clutches like crazy. Not all drivers will know these problems until it bites them.

Getting the drop on any potential clutch plate is the top 9 ways to detect a bad clutch plate before it gets any worse.

Most of them are easy to detect and can be mistaken as something else. Because of this letting, a transmission specialist is the best and only option. There’s no way to DIY it because it will require opening up the transmission box. Let’s get cracking and learning what can be done, shall we?

1. Common signs for clutch replacement

The clutch feels soft when it is stepped on

Clutches should be hard when depressed by the foot pedal not feel soft and spongy. This could be the start of it getting thinner with less material to cling to. Each time the clutch is released just to let the gear catch better. A sure sign that shouldn’t be ignored or be sorry later.

car clutch

Clutches should be hard when depressed by the foot pedal not feel soft and spongy

Slipping is felt from the clutch plate

The way to test this problem is to step on the clutch then kick it up to the third gear immediately,

Another way that clutch bingo works are when the cars without a slipping clutch. If you notice higher RPMS and it’s not good because the clutch needs replacement.

Clutches will experience problems and one of them is lost contact with the clutch plate. When going uphill, speeding up, hauling heavy loads especially will be a problem. Overheating is a bad bonus for worn clutches that further wears it down faster too.

>>> Read more: How to drive a manual transmission car with slipping or broken clutch.

Each time you shift gears it seems problematic

If shifting gears is a problem with a depressed clutch that means problems to the max. If shuddering on the shift knob with force needed to shift the gears. Will signify a faulty clutch most of the time.

Chances are that the fork and cylinder ring is having a problem besides the clutch plate. Have it checked to fully diagnose the problem and address it soon!

How to diagnose a bad clutch

Grinding noise will happen each time the clutch pedal is depressed

Another concern with the clutch is hearing an excessive grinding noise from the engine whenever the pedal is stepped on. It can be of two things which are either replaceable bearings or burning smell from the engine caused by clutch riding.

It’s cheaper to have bearings done but not with a clutch disc that may need a replacement as soon as possible.

Both are decidedly serious concerns which cannot be avoided. A bearing repair can stave off more expensive fixer-ups, but when the clutch shows these warning signs it should be heeded!

Sometimes it’s the other clutch parts like cylinders not the fault of the clutch plate itself

The clutch system is intricate and has many parts other than the go-to clutch plate. All the mechanical parts in the clutch trannies should work well or it will diminish car performance! It could be the linkage, cylinders, or the hydraulic clutch that makes it less or more expensive.

Depending on the draw and what part involves will be trouble for the car owner! Preventively getting rid of guessing and dealing with all problem is better than waiting for more trouble before getting it done.

car clutch

The clutch system is intricate and has many parts other than the go-to clutch plate

The engine races while shifting the stick

Whenever shifting the stick to a higher gear the engine races from low to high which shouldn’t be happening. Ordinary shifting should have steady RPMS and with just a slight increase when revved properly.

It may be an indicator that the clutch plate needs replacement or the clutch pressure plate is just as compromised too! 

Shifting to reverse is difficult are times

Suppose shifting goes without a hitch from low to high then going reverse it’s quite difficult. It’s time to check the clutch of the car and its other components. If there is noise, resistance, and other difficulties which is indicative of clutch problems.

checking car clutch

It’s time to check the clutch of the car and its other components

>>> Relevant article: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) vs. Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT): Which is better?

Shuddering of the clutch when depressed

This does not happen often when it does these signs should be looked out for. Driving at low speeds will have shuddering because of oil and sludge, though it can be a clutch that is worn to heck too.

A duo of problems like a dirty plate or a worn plate is a good way to warn of immediate repair or suffer.

2. Other possible causes

Parts of the clutch that may be alternative causes of problems other than the clutch plate. Sometimes problems with the clutch will be found with them. Blaming the clutch plate does not always apple and changing it without a second opinion is financial suicide! Better make sure what is the problem or spend more.

  • Clutch release mechanism
  • Clutch cable
  • Linkage
  • Pressure plate
  • Flywheel
  • Pilot bearing
  • Release (throw-out) bearing
  • Clutch fork

car clutch plate

Parts of the clutch that may be alternative causes of problems other than the clutch plate

If you’re still driving a stick then knowing the top 9 ways to detect a bad clutch plate is very important! Compared to other repairs this is a certified pain that goes the whole nine yards. Another thing is when the clutch plates go it will be hard to fix especially in out of bounds places.

Save yourself the trouble and do something about it now or be sorry later with’s proactive advice!

Norjan Ismail Abbas

Norjan Ismail Abbas


Norjan enjoys writing about various topics, and car is among them. Don't ever ask him which his most favorite car is since he has none. He believes each car is beautiful in its own way.

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