Slipping clutch: Causes, Symptoms, and how to fix

Owning a car requires regular maintenance, and over time, you may encounter various problems that need fixing. One common issue in older vehicles is a slipping clutch. If you drive a manual transmission car, you’re likely familiar with the clutch pedal, which is used to disengage and reengage the engine’s power supply to the wheels. In some cases, the clutch may disengage without much pressure on the pedal, especially in vehicles that frequently encounter traffic, are driven aggressively by younger drivers, or have high-performance engines producing more power than their factory output. This is the reason why you are needed to know more about the symptoms of a slipping clutch: it causes and how you can fix it.



The symptoms of a slipping clutch include the following topics:

Clutch disc replacement

What is clutch slipping?

When a clutch improperly engages or disengages the transmission, the car may slip out of gear or struggle to stay in gear when accelerating, known as clutch slipping. This can be caused by poor adjustment, wear and tear, or lack of lubrication. A slipping clutch means it has lost the ability to hold the same amount of torque, causing intermittent sliding when engine torque exceeds its maximum capacity.

This issue is most noticeable in third or fourth gear and will worsen over time until the clutch is replaced. In rare cases, a worn clutch may leave the car unable to transmit engine power to the ground, causing it to lose power while accelerating and becoming difficult to control.

Causes of a slipping clutch

Common causes of clutch slipping include the age of the vehicle, lack of routine maintenance, infrequent servicing, and aggressive driving. Clutches wear down over time and with high mileage, leading to power loss due to the wear and tear of the clutch plate. Factors such as driving in stop-and-go traffic and low fluid levels in the clutch system can also contribute to this issue.

If the clutch plate is worn out, it may need to be replaced, and the same goes for a worn clutch release bearing or a broken cable. These problems typically require the expertise of a mechanic familiar with clutch and gearbox operations.

Symptoms of a slipping clutch

The following are the symptoms of a slipping clutch:

  • From the gearbox, grinding sounds are coming.
  • Difficulty changing gears when applying or releasing the clutch.
  • When traveling forward or changing gear, the vehicle suddenly judders, jerks, or stutters.
  • As the gear slips out, the RPMs when accelerating are unusually high.
  • Your hand should feel intense vibrations emanating from the gearbox if it is placed on the gear stick.
  • Coming from the gearbox was a strong, burning stench.
  • There should be some resistance when you press down on the clutch pedal, but it seems soft and spongy when you do.
  • When you start going, the clutch pedal may stick or refuse to return to its original position.

If you have seen any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should know this is what a slipping clutch feels like and you should take your vehicle to a reputable neighborhood garage right away or get in touch with a mobile technician.

How to fix a slipping clutch

If you notice your clutch slipping, it’s not a good idea to keep driving as it could fail at any time. It’s recommended to drive carefully and have your clutch checked every 60,000 miles to prevent issues. Most slipping clutches are not repairable, but changing driving habits may help. Consulting a mechanic is the best course of action to diagnose and fix the problem. While clutch repair or replacement may seem costly, it’s better than getting stuck on the road.



A slipping clutch is a common issue in both manual and automatic cars, impacting performance and safety. In automatic transmissions, it can be caused by hydraulic system problems, faulty adjustment, or wear and tear. It’s important to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage and ensure safety. Regular maintenance can help detect early signs of trouble, such as a high engagement point, burning smell, or RPM spikes, reducing repair costs.

Related Article

That is all for this article where meaning, causes, symptoms, and how to fix a slipping clutch are discussed. I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!


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