The national cost for a clutch assembly replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $157 and $1820 with an average of $1065.

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What is a clutch assembly and how does it work?

A clutch assembly is a key component of a vehicle with a manual transmission. In order to shift gears in your manual transmission, it is necessary to momentarily disengage the transmission from the engine. That is the job of the clutch. The clutch is located between the engine and transmission and provides a connection between the engine crankshaft and the input shaft of the transmission.

Under normal driving conditions, with the clutch engaged, friction between the clutch disc and the engine flywheel attached to the crankshaft causes the transmission input shaft to turn at the same speed as the engine. The clutch pressure plate uses spring tension to keep the disc in contact with the flywheel. When you press the clutch pedal to shift gears, spring tension is relieved and the clutch disc releases from the flywheel, essentially allowing the engine and transmission to work independently of one another.

A clutch assembly is made up of a number of components - the pressure plate, clutch disc, pilot bearing, and release (or “throwout”) bearing. All of these components are typically replaced when your clutch is replaced.


How is a a Clutch Assembly Replacement done?

Clutch assembly replacement involves removing all of the clutch components and replacing them with new ones. When one clutch component wears out or fails, it is likely that the others are in similar condition. And since the time it takes to replace them as a set does not differ greatly from replacing them individually, most technicians recommend that they all be replaced together.

To replace a clutch assembly, a technician must first safely lift and support your vehicle in the air for access. From there, the service typically includes the following:

  • Removal of the driveshaft(s) and transfer case (if so equipped)
  • Removal of the clutch slave cylinder and/or clutch linkage
  • Unbolting and removing the transmission from the vehicle
  • Disassembly of the clutch assembly to remove and replace the clutch disc, pressure plate, release bearing, and pilot bearing
  • Reinstallation of the transmission, linkage, slave cylinder, and other components
  • In the case of a hydraulic clutch, the hydraulic fluid must be replaced and the system may need to be bled of any air in the fluid. Special alignment tools and procedures may also be required to properly reassemble and install the clutch assembly into the transmission.

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How do I know if my clutch assembly needs to be replaced?

A clutch assembly contains components that will naturally wear out over time. The clutch disc is covered with a sacrificial friction material that grabs onto the face of the engine flywheel when the clutch is engaged. The bearings in the clutch can also wear with age.

When a new clutch is installed, it is common for a technician to replace all related components, including the pilot bearing, pressure plate, release bearing, and clutch disc. When one or more of these components wears out, you might notice the following signs:

Your engine seems to “run away” or rev up when you press the accelerator pedal without an increase in vehicle speed, as if the clutch is slipping

You notice a burning smell after accelerating

The clutch shakes or chatters when you release the pedal

You feel unusual vibrations or pulsing in the clutch pedal

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Other questions customers ask

Can you drive a car with a broken clutch?
It is possible to drive a vehicle with a slightly worn out clutch, even for a significant number of miles. Of course, the more the clutch wears out, the harder it will be to change gears or to get your car going. If the clutch is broken rather than worn, putting off the repair could lead to more damage. For instance, if the pressure plate or clutch disc are vibrating significantly, the transmission input shaft could become damaged over time. And that is a far more expensive repair than clutch replacement.
Can a clutch fail suddenly?
Yes, a clutch can fail in one of several ways. Some of those are sudden. And in some cases, your vehicle will not be able to move at all once the clutch fails. The clutch master cylinder, slave cylinder, or clutch release bearing (throwout bearing) can each fail in this manner.
How does a car clutch disc get damaged?
The clutch disc is coated with a sacrificial friction material that is designed to grip the surface of the engine flywheel when the clutch is engaged. Friction between the disc and the flywheel allows the transmission input shaft and the engine crankshaft to spin at the same speed. The clutch disc can become damaged by abusive or severe driving habits, such as “popping” the clutch, “riding” the clutch, and releasing the pedal too slowly while accelerating. If oil leaks onto the clutch disc from a bad rear main seal of the engine, damage can also occur to the clutch disc.

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