Hours: Open Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:00pm Closed: SAT, SUN and Stat Holidays 27545 - 31 Ave. Aldergrove BC. Canada V4W 3L4


What is Clutch Slipping and Why Does It Happen?

Transfer case repair work showing connected bronze metallic gears with red case exterior

Clutch slipping happens when the disc joining your flywheel fails to catch. The result? Your engine doesn’t connect to the right gears and fails to reach maximum speed and power. By understanding the causes behind a slipping clutch and having the clutch slip diagnosed by clutch repair service experts, you can prevent further damage to the drivetrain and restore your clutch performance. 

Let’s explore slipping clutches, what they mean for the rest of the vehicle, and the causes behind them.

What Does the Clutch Do?

Before exploring clutch slipping, it’s helpful to understand the clutch’s role in your vehicle. The clutch comprising three parts: the clutch plate, the pressure plate, and the flywheel. Their roles are as follows:

The clutch plate

The clutch plate creates friction between itself, the flywheel, and the pressure plate. The amount of force a clutch can hold depends on the pressure between the flywheel and the clutch plate, in addition to the force the internal springs place on the pressure plate when you’re not pressing down on the clutch pedal.

The pressure plate

The pressure plate applies pressure to the clutch disc to transfer torque to the transmission.

The flywheel

The flywheel maintains inertia to support proper engine rotation and provide consistent torque.

Clutch Slipping Warning Signs

When your vehicle struggles to stay in gear while accelerating, you’re experiencing some form of clutch slipping. The following clutch slip signs indicate it’s time to book a clutch repair and drivetrain analysis.

  • Difficulty changing gears
  • Unusual rumbling noises when applying pressure to the clutch
  • Limited accelerating while maintaining the ability to rev the engine
  • Vibrating clutch pedal
  • Sticking clutch pedal
  • Loose clutch pedal

Which Factors Impact Clutch Performance?

While clutch slipping can occur at any time and even within well-maintained vehicles, specific factors can increase your chances of experiencing clutch slipping and clutch failure. The following make clutch failure more likely:

  • An Older Vehicle

As with all vehicle components, your clutch degrades with time. The age of the vehicle and the number of kilometers on the clock are high priority elements to consider when evaluating whether it’s time to replace your clutch. 

  • Style of Driving

Stop-start driving and accelerating quickly without necessarily changing gears can wear down your clutch. 

  • Maintenance

Adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to minimize the potential clutch component damage and degradation of your clutch. Remember to replace your transmission fluid and filter every 40,000 to 60,000 km and drive with no sound in the vehicle cabin for a few minutes each week to check for potential engine sounds. 

How Can I Prevent Clutch Slip?

A proactive understanding of your clutch and its connected components can help you minimize clutch slipping and prevent damage to your clutch, flywheel, and connected components. 

Consider the following to prevent clutch slippage in the future:

  • Decisive gear changes

Don’t change gears too often. Try to maintain a constant vehicle speed rather than continually changing gears every few minutes. Try to balance your brake and clutch use to minimize wear on both.

  • Use the handbrake when parking

Using a handbrake when parking can reduce the pressure on the clutch disc while the vehicle is in park. Pressure builds when you leave the car in gear when you park. 

  • Change to neutral when at a stop

When stopping your vehicle at a light, switch to the neutral gear to prevent the strain ocurring when your foot is on the brake with the first gear engaged.

Riding the clutch (placing continual pressure on the clutch while driving) constantly puts the pressure pad in contact with the clutch plate, increasing friction. Keep your foot off the clutch unless you’re changing gear.

Book a Transmission Service to Review Clutch Slip Symptoms

If you’re experiencing the telltale signs of a clutch slip, book your vehicle with our Langley clutch repair experts today in Aldergrove to explore your service options. We’ve serviced clutches, transmissions, and flywheels at our Aldergrove location since 1992. Our Red Seal technicians have decades of hands-on experience with clutch slips and repair. We offer well-equipped service bays and flexible service hours for all clutch diagnostics and repairs. Call our service department now for fast responses to your clutch questions and concerns.

Conveniently located in Aldergrove, Langley

Easy access from Highway 1, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, and Maple Ridge.

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