The clutch is a mechanism that allows your wheels to disengage from the engine, so they can stop spinning even while your engine continues to run. Without a clutch, your wheels and engine would be stuck spinning at the same rate. We imagine we don't need to explain why it's important to stop at a red light without your whole engine going kaput!
Your clutch transfers power from your engine to your transmission and is located between those two components. The transmission then takes that power and passes it on to the wheels.
In order for the transmission to switch gears, the clutch has to release from it momentarily – something those of you with manual transmissions are familiar with! Clutch and transmission are distinct and essential parts that work together to keep you rolling.
A clutch generally lasts between 60,000 – 100,000 miles, though its lifespan is highly dependent on its use. No clutch will last forever, but there are a few different scenarios that can cause the facings on your clutch to wear quickly.
Stop-and-go city traffic is harder on your clutch than the open highway, so if you’re a city guy or gal, it’s more likely your clutch is worn. That said, for you out-of-towners, off-roading, pulling a trailer, and frequent gear shifting can also accelerate clutch wear.
Slipping gears, causing a temporary loss of acceleration
Burning smell when accelerating from a stop
Grinding sound while shifting between gears
Clutch pedal stays near the floor or feels soft when pressed (for manual cars)
Replacement of the pressure plate, clutch disk, and throwout bearing
Resurfacing or replacement of the flywheel
Replacement of any worn out hydraulic parts