>How much does a clutch replacement cost in the UK ?
How much does a clutch replacement cost in the UK ?
The clutch is an essential part of your vehicle. They’re a fairly durable component, however, the job of the clutch plate is to allow the vehicle to change gears smoothly, at the expense of slowly wearing out the clutch.
What is a clutch?
The clutch is a mechanical device that controls the delivery of rotational power from the engine to the wheels. Clutches are not exclusive to cars, any machine where there is a constantly spinning shaft - the output from the engine - and a need to stop and start the power delivery, needs a clutch.
In the case of a vehicle then, the clutch is needed not only to set off and when stopping but to change gears too. Electric vehicles don’t have one because their engine - the motor - can be stopped and started when required.
How does a clutch work?
Clutches comprise three main components; a flywheel, a pressure plate and a clutch plate. There are also ancillary components in cars with a hydraulic clutch such as the master cylinder and slave cylinder, or alternatively a cable and linkage.
The flywheel is a heavy plate, attached to the output shaft of the engine, sandwiched between this and the pressure plate is the clutch plate. The clutch plate is secured onto the gearbox input shaft.
When the clutch is engaged, i.e. the pedal is not depressed, the pressure plate is applying clamping force, pushing the clutch plate to the flywheel, this transfers power from the engine to the gearbox.
When the clutch pedal is pressed, a hydraulic system transfers the force - in a very similar way to the braking system - to the clutch fork, which acts as a lever against the pressure plate, allowing the clutch plate to slip and disconnect the power transfer.
How long should a clutch last?
This depends heavily on the type of car and type of usage, but with good care and a considerate driving style, a clutch should last upwards of 60,000 miles on a petrol car.
There are certain things that will shorten the life of your clutch considerably:
- Towing heavy loads
- ‘Dropping’ the clutch in order to launch the car from a standstill quickly
- Holding the car on the clutch instead of using the brake - for example on a hill in traffic
- Riding the clutch pedal when driving - this can cause the clutch to slip very slightly, accelerating wear.
Clutch replacements can be time-consuming for mechanics which can make them a costly repair for drivers, as you’re about to find out!
How much does a clutch replacement cost?
Not all vehicles can be fitted with the same clutch, so prices may vary between different makes and models.
The average cost of a clutch replacement in the UK is £454.55, but prices range from £300 to £700.
You may want to consider using an approved manufacturer’s garage for your vehicle, to ensure the correct clutch is fitted for your car.
If car repairs and replacement parts have you worried, Bumper could help you with 0% interest car repair financing paid for in easy-to-manage monthly payments.
Do I need to change the flywheel as well as the clutch?
Like many components on a car, the clutch interfaces with other parts, in certain cases, it can be required to replace the flywheel and pressure plate.
If your clutch has been worn down too far, the rivets that hold it together can begin to contact the flywheel and pressure plate when the clutch is engaged, causing irreparable damage.
However if the clutch was replaced when just starting to show signs of wear, the flywheel should be fine to use again.
How much does a flywheel replacement cost?
The average cost for a replacement flywheel is £350 to £450.
Flywheels don’t always need to be replaced alongside a clutch, but there are some instances where a flywheel would need to be replaced without a clutch.
Learn how you could split the cost with Bumper.
Can you replace a flywheel without replacing the clutch?
In many diesel cars in particular, a dual mass flywheel is fitted. These improve the driving characteristics of the engine by altering the affective weight of the flywheel, for better responsiveness when manoeuvring, and more torque when driving normally.
As these have moving parts they can break, wear out and generally do need to be replaced. It is possible to change one without changing the clutch plate, but not recommended.
Because the clutch pressure plate bolts to the flywheel itself, whilst this and the clutch assembly is removed, there is no extra work to replace the clutch at the same time.
As the labour involved to get access to both the clutch and flywheel is significant, for the cost of a new clutch it is generally worth doing both jobs at once.
Can you replace a clutch without resurfacing the flywheel?
Whether or not you need to have your flywheel resurfaced depends on how worn the clutch plate was when it was changed.
If the clutch had been slipping for a long time and was very worn, there is a good chance the flywheel will have become glazed, and even experienced damage from the rivets that hold the clutch together.
This is why it's important to get a clutch checked out as soon as it feels worn or that it is slipping.
How do you know if your clutch needs replacing?
There are a number of factors that indicate your clutch might need repairing, these include:
High biting point
The point at which the clutch engages is called the biting point. As the friction material wears away, this point will change, resulting in a higher pedal position when engaging.
If your biting point is at the very top of the pedal’s range of motion, the clutch may be near its usable life. Before committing to a clutch replacement though, get your mechanic to see if your clutch can be adjusted.
Clutch pedals should have the same level of resistance all the way through the travel, if your pedal is softer in some parts, or does not feel normal, you may have an issue with the clutch’s hydraulic system.
This is probably the most common symptom of a worn clutch. As the clutch plate wears away, it not only gets too thin for the pressure plate to apply adequate pressure, but it can also become ‘glazed’.
A similar thing can happen to brake pads when they get too hot, if the clutch plate has started to slip, the friction material will get excessively hot and form a shiny, non-grippy surface, which can cause even worse slippage.
Usually caused by the previous symptom - a slipping clutch - if you smell a strong chemical-like smell when driving along normally, especially on hills or when towing, your clutch may be slipping.
Trouble changing gears
Difficulty changing gears could mean your clutch is struggling to disengage from the gearbox. This will not allow the gearbox input shaft to stop spinning and will stop you from putting the car into gear.
This could also be a gearbox issue, so check out our gearbox article here
If you’re unsure or suspect your car is experiencing one of the above issues, it’s strongly advised that you arrange for an approved mechanic to inspect your vehicle.
Failure to act could cause danger to yourself and your passengers, and will usually result in a more costly bill further down the line.
Other problems with clutches
Alongside the actual clutch plate, flywheel and pressure plate, there is a hydraulic system that actuates the clutch. There are a few different types of issues that can be present with these parts:
Clutch Pedal not returning
When you release the clutch pedal, both the hydraulic force from the spring in the pressure plate and often a return spring work to push the clutch pedal back up to the resting position.
A failing clutch master cylinder can cause this problem, as the seals break down and allow fluid to pass through, the pressure required to push the pedal back is dissipated.
Noise when the clutch pedal is pressed
If you’re hearing a whirring or scraping noise when the clutch pedal is depressed, which gets higher in frequency with the engine speed increasing, you may have a failed clutch release bearing.
When you press the pedal, and the system applies force to the clutch pressure plate through the clutch fork, that force is applied to the spinning pressure plate through a bearing.
Over normal usage, this bearing deteriorates and creates noise and sometimes vibration through the pedal.
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