The clutch is a key part of a manual transmission that enables you to shift between gears. If it is not working correctly or any part of the clutch system is damaged, you will experience problems and it could lead to even more significant transmission issues.

There are signs to let you know when your clutch may not be functioning properly or have some sort of damage. Here are 8 of the most common symptoms of clutch failure, according to the Central Valley transmission specialists at Ralph’s Transmission:

1. Weak Acceleration

If your engine is revving but the vehicle doesn’t seem to be accelerating appropriately, this could be the sign of a clutch issue or some other sort of transmission problem that you will want to get inspected as soon as possible.

2. Grinding Gears

If the gears really grind hard every time you try to shift (or when shifting to or from specific gears), something within the clutch system is probably at fault. It could be the driver just not shifting smoothly or pressing the clutch all the way down. When the grinding is persistent regardless of how smoothly you shift, it is likely a clutch problem.

3. Loose Clutch Pedal

When the clutch pedal feels really loose and weak (as in you step on it and it drops to the floor with little to no effort), then this is definitely a sign that the clutch plate is worn or there is an issue somewhere in the clutch assembly.

4. Sticky Clutch Pedal

On the other hand, you may feel that your clutch pedal is a bit “sticky.” It might take a lot more effort than usual to press down or it sticks and holds the clutch open too long when the pedal is pressed down.

5. Other Noises

In addition to grinding, you may notice other strange noises when you have clutch problems. The pedal can be squeaky or you may hear screeching and squealing every time you shift. Any unusual noises should be cause for concern. Get your clutch and transmission checked out by a transmission specialist before it leads to bigger problems.

6. Won’t Shift into Gear 

Obviously, when the vehicle won’t shift into gear at all or slips between certain gears, this is a clear sign of clutch issues or other transmission problems that need to be addressed.

7. Won’t Stay in Gear

This may not be a clutch problem, but it is definitely not good when your vehicle won’t stay in gear or regularly slips out of gear while driving. It is not safe and it’s a common sign of transmission damage.

8. Burning Smell

Grinding gears and a struggling clutch will typically result in bad metal-on-metal friction. This can give off a distinct burning smell. Just like with strange noises, any unusual smells while driving should prompt you to want to get your vehicle inspected sooner rather than later.

These are just some of the common signs of clutch failure and other transmission-related issues. If you notice any of these symptoms or anything else strange while driving your vehicle, call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 to schedule a free transmission inspection. You can also book your service appointment online.

Contact Us