Causes and Symptoms of a bad flywheel

Knowing the warning Symptoms of a bad flywheel will enable you to replace it as soon as possible with a new or used flywheel and keep you safe while driving. The flywheel of an automobile is a vital part that keeps it operating properly. If it isn’t functioning correctly, the automobile won’t operate well or might simply not run at all.

The flywheel, which is attached to the crankshaft at the back of the engine, stores intermittent rotational energy for when additional power is required. Additionally, it reduces surplus power, dampens crankshaft vibrations, and stabilizes any variations in your engine’s speed. For instance, the flywheel keeps your engine running when you let up on the gas pedal.

It’s considerably more challenging to shift gears when your flywheel is damaged, and the clutch may sustain costly, irreparable harm. Thus, in this article, we’ll be discussing the following;

Symptoms of a bad flywheel

  • What is a flywheel?
  • What are the symptoms of a bad flywheel?
  • What are the causes of a bad flywheel?
  • Can you drive with a bad flywheel?

So, let’s dive in!


What is a flywheel?

A rotating disk known as a flywheel aids in energy storage. It accomplishes this by rotating on its axis. The more energy it accumulates, the quicker it spins. Then, this power can be released to drive machinery like electric motors or turbines. There are several uses for flywheels, including in motor vehicles, wind turbines, and the production of electric power.

An internal combustion engine’s clutch system includes a flywheel as one of its parts. It is a large, heavy wheel that the engine turns, and while it turns, it stores energy. The car is then propelled using this energy. By delivering power smoothly, flywheels enhance the efficiency and performance of automobiles. They also contribute to lessening engine deterioration.

Read more: Understanding the working of flywheel          

Symptoms of a bad flywheel

  • Slipping gears.
  • Difficulty changing gears.
  • Burning smell.
  • Vibrating clutch pedal.
  • Clutch drag.
  • Difficulty in starting a car.
  • Engine stalls.

Slipping gears

There are a number of potential causes of gear slippage, but one of the most common is a faulty flywheel. When the flywheel is malfunctioning, it is unable to produce the required torque to prevent the gears from slipping. Wear and tear, damage, or even a flaw in the flywheel itself are some of the potential causes of this.

When experiencing gear slippage, it’s critical to get the issue identified and corrected right away. Otherwise, you risk harming the engine’s internal workings or even the gears.

Difficulty changing gears

Gear shifting issues may be caused by a damaged flywheel. The gears may shift irregularly if the flywheel isn’t functioning correctly. There are a number of possible causes for why shifting gears could be challenging with a damaged flywheel. One explanation is that the flywheel does not exert enough force on the gears, which makes it difficult for them to mesh.

Furthermore, it may be challenging to change gears if the flywheel has too much play in it. The flywheel’s alignment might also cause issues when shifting gears if it is not done correctly. You can more accurately choose the appropriate course of action for resolving the problem by knowing what the problem’s underlying causes are.

Burning smell

An indication that your clutch isn’t operating properly or isn’t being used appropriately is a burning smell coming from underneath your car. It results from clutch plate wear and tear, which may be brought on by a deformed flywheel that generates excessive heat and friction. If you don’t swap out your flywheel, the clutch will probably stop functioning.

Vibrating clutch pedal

There can be an issue with the flywheel if your clutch pedal is vibrating. There are a number of plausible explanations for why a faulty flywheel generates a vibrating clutch pedal. One possibility is that the engine vibrations brought on by the bent flywheel are causing the clutch pedal to vibrate.

Another possibility is that the clutch is vibrating because the clutch is being overworked by the worn-out flywheel. In either case, if the flywheel is the source of these issues, it must be replaced.

Clutch drag

The clutch may drag if there is too much inertia in the flywheel. The flywheel tries to continue spinning at its pre-acceleration speed as the engine and vehicle accelerate. The entire system will drag if the clutch tries to seize the flywheel too rapidly and it resists.

In extreme circumstances, this may even cause the clutch to slip. Make sure your flywheel has the appropriate amount of inertia for your automobile and driving style to prevent this.

Difficulty in starting a car

Because it might stop the engine from turning over, a damaged flywheel can contribute to starting issues. This frequently results from a seized flywheel, which won’t turn even when the engine is started. The starting motor may experience issues as well.

Due to the difficulty of starting the car in an emergency, this can pose a safety risk. Therefore, it’s critical to have a sound flywheel and to quickly replace one that’s damaged.

Engine stalls

A rotating part of the engine called the flywheel stores energy and aids in a smooth start-up. The engine may stall and idle unevenly as a result of a damaged flywheel. This is due to the faulty flywheel’s inability to retain sufficient energy or to enable a smooth startup.

Because of this, the engine won’t be able to function properly and will stall or idle poorly. To avoid these problems, it’s critical to replace a damaged flywheel as quickly as possible.

Read more: Why Does Car Stalls at Idle? What to do

Causes of a faulty flywheel

The following are the causes of the faulty flywheel;

Inadequate maintenance

Ignoring clutch problems, no matter how little, may lead to flywheel damage, which is much more expensive to replace. Make sure all components are balanced and that new clutches and starters are torqued according to the recommended specifications.


Your flywheel may crack or deform due to excessive heat generated by a faulty or slipping clutch.

Poor driving practices

Poor driving practices that might harm the flywheel include riding the clutch, towing weights that are too heavy for your car, driving in the wrong gear, and putting your car in reverse or first gear when the engine is off.

Can you drive with a Bad flywheel?

Although it is technically feasible to drive with a damaged flywheel, we don’t advise it. Any flaws can have a big knock-on effect elsewhere, especially within the clutch components, the crankshaft, and the engine, thanks to the crucial role that your flywheel plays in ensuring a smooth transfer of power from your engine to your wheels.

Even if the current damage to your flywheel is small, the issues this could create later on could result in more serious and expensive damage.

It’s a good idea to bring your flywheel in for a careful inspection from a reputable expert if you’re unclear whether it has a problem. They can inform you if your flywheel needs to be replaced.

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How do I know if my flywheel is bad?

  • Slipping gears.
  • Difficulty changing gears.
  • Burning smell.
  • Vibrating clutch pedal.
  • Clutch drag.
  • Difficulty in starting a car.
  • Engine stalls.

What problems can a flywheel cause?

It will be much more challenging to shift gears if the flywheel is damaged since the clutch plate might not disengage properly. Flywheel discs with cracks are more likely to distort, resulting in clutch and transmission issues. a clutch pedal that trembles.

Does a bad flywheel make noise?

Malfunctioning noises at idle are the most typical sign of a malfunctioning flywheel. Additionally, the transmission may cause vibrations, gear slippage, or a burning smell. There could be more shifting problems as well. Although they are not all conceivable indications, they are the ones that are most frequently seen.

Can you repair a flywheel?

While a solid flywheel can be removed and resurfaced at Mr. Clutch Autocentres through a skimming process, which can save the car owner a lot of money, the wear characteristics of a dual-mass type, which is typically installed in more modern vehicles, more naturally lend themselves to the good practice of replacement.

What is the function of a flywheel?

The flywheel’s job is to balance the engine by storing mechanical energy in addition to rotating the engine and ensuring that it continues to run smoothly. When an engine is functioning, mechanical power is produced. The mechanical power is stored by the flywheel, which balances it.

What happens when the flywheel is worn out?

The pressure plate may begin to make grinding noises, and eventually, the flywheel and other components of the clutch assembly can overheat, deform, or even shatter. Finally, you won’t be able to shift at all if the clutch and flywheel are not replaced.

Why would I need to replace my flywheel?

The likelihood that your flywheel needs to be replaced if your clutch disc fails due to significant wear is very high. We advise replacing a flywheel that exhibits any signs of wear or corrosion while carrying out a clutch replacement unless you love routinely removing the transmission from your car.

How many years does a flywheel last?

A flywheel used with a regular transmission or a flex plate used with an automatic transmission ought to last the duration of the engine under typical operating conditions. Failures do happen occasionally, but they are generally infrequent. You probably won’t ever need to repair a flywheel.

That’s all for this article where we discussed the following;

  • What is a flywheel?
  • What are the symptoms of a bad flywheel?
  • What are the causes of a bad flywheel?
  • Can you drive with a bad flywheel?

Hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share. Thanks for reading.

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