Simple Clutch Repair and Manual Transmission Service Tips

Automatic transmission vehicles dominate the landscape in North America, and this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Though more motorists drive clutch vehicles in Europe, fewer than 10 percent of vehicles sold in recent years in the U.S. were manual transmission.

Whether it is because American drivers favor convenience or because we do so much more highway driving, the overall popularity of clutch vehicles has faded. In Europe and Asia, manual transmission stick-shifts make up more than 70 percent of vehicles on the road.

A Brief History Of The Transition To Automatic Transmission In Cars

The automatic transmission vehicle was introduced to the U.S. marketplace in the 1940s by General Motors. At the time, the automatic transmission was heralded as an innovative marvel and compared to the light bulb versus a candle. In the 1950’s the automatic transmission was improved and started to gain traction for the everyday driver.

What in the 1970’s was considered a luxury feature has today become a standard. Though it is hard to put a number on it, many young people today do not know how to drive a stick shift and it is not typically taught in driver’s education classes. Today, outside of European sports cars, muscle cars, vintage vehicles and driving enthusiasts, fewer drivers on the road make it a point to own a stick-shift car.

The Lifecycle of a Manual Transmission Clutch System

How often you need to bring your vehicle in for clutch repair depends on a number of factors. The way in which you drive your car, including sharp accelerations and abrupt slowdowns, will have a significant impact on wearing out your clutch. Smooth shifting and proper pressing down on the clutch pedal itself for instance will wear out your clutch less. Yet stop-and-go driving is hard on your clutch even when done properly. In ideal circumstances, a clutch can last over 100,000 miles. Like most moving parts on your vehicle, however, clutch cable repair will need to occur at some point.

Clutch Repair Shops Are Harder to Find as Are Stick-Shift Drivers

As clutch-less driving continues to be the norm rather than the exception, drivers of manual transmission vehicles can have a more difficult time finding quality and fairly priced clutch repair shops in San Diego. As clutch vehicles become more rare, so does performing clutch repair work. When something becomes less commonplace, it generally becomes more expensive. This is somewhat ironic as manual transmission vehicles, the non-sports car variety at least, are generally less expensive overall than automatic transmission vehicles.

Trouble Shifting? How to Tell if You Need Clutch Repair

Signs of your vehicle needing clutch repair come in many forms.

  • Gear Slipping & Sliding — Clutch slipping occurs when your vehicle unexpectedly slips out of gear and goes into a lower gear. This can also occur when you shift the car into gear but it doesn’t take and slips back out. If this slipping starts to happen with any frequency in your vehicle, this is a sign that clutch repair is eminent. Each slippage that occurs damages the clutch system causing slippage to occur more frequently. And the cycle will continue on and on. To prevent transmission repair, you should bring your vehicle in for clutch inspection and auto repair as soon as possible.
  • Grinding Noise – A churning or grinding sound coming from your clutch system is not good news. The cause of clutch noise can be worn out or misshaped bearings or bushings. Unfortunately, it could also signal a problem with any one of the major components including the engine or transmission mount. The cause of the strange sounds coming from the clutch can be difficult to pinpoint. That’s why if your clutch is making a lot of noise, you likely need an inspection from a mechanic familiar with clutch repair.
  • Pedal Pressure Problems – Is your clutch pedal impossible to press down on? Alternatively, is it so floppy it feels like it is pressing on nothing? Either of these symptoms are a sign that something is wrong with the clutch linkage system or the cross-shaft. These types of clutch cable repairs can be less expensive and simpler to fix as they are specific to the clutch itself rather than the larger transmission system. They generally do, however, need to be handled right away.

So if you are having a hard time getting your stick shift in gear or if you can’t remember the last time you’ve had your clutch system looked at, bring it into your local auto repair shop for an inspection and clutch repair estimate. But don’t just bring it anywhere. Make sure you ask the garage if they have experience working on stick-shift vehicles with clutch systems.

Uncovering Quality Clutch Repair Shops in San Diego

While you could take a chance and bring your clutch vehicle to any run of the mill San Diego auto repair shop, doing so is a risk. Many younger generation mechanics may not be as familiar with clutch repair as it is not something they see every day. Though they may understand the mechanics and fundamentals of clutch repair in theory, without the opportunity for frequent practice they may lack proficiency. While there are specialty clutch repair shops San Diego, many foreign auto repair shops can also perform quality clutch repair, clutch cable repair and manual transmission repair work.

Abraham Chavez
About the Author: Abraham Chavez

Owner of Griffin's Auto Repair. Come visit us at our downtown location for all your auto repair needs!

Posted in Auto Repair, Auto Repair Maintenance
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