So, imagine that you’re driving along one day, and feel that perhaps something is amiss. Have you noticed that there were odd noises, crunches, smells, or the clutch pedal feeling just a bit too stiff? If so, your car’s clutch might be due for a change. Now, you might wonder to yourself, “How much would a clutch replacement cost?”. The clutch is a key component in making a car work, and it regularly undergoes a lot of strain.
As such, it can be a heartbreaker to know the true expense of a clutch replacement. It’s hard to discern an exact value, given the number of variables at play. It depends on what car you’re driving, how it’s driven, and where you’re sending it to. The average cost can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for most cars, although it can easily go higher. So, read along as we’re going to spend some time taking a look at clutch replacement costs, and how it may be replaced.
- Signs of clutch failure
- What is a clutch?
- Should you keep on driving?
- Can you fix this at home?
- Time needed to fix it
- What else should you do?
Symptoms Of A Bad Clutch
“But how would I know if my clutch needs replacing?”, you might ask. Before we can get to talking about a clutch replacement cost, we need to look at its symptoms. There are some tell-tale signs that are related to clutch issues, or if failure is imminent. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the easiest ones are strange smells, noises, or sensations. Alternatively, you might be able to feel increased tension on the clutch pedal, more than usual.
There are other things to look out for, as well. For instance, the engine’s revs (RPM) might be higher than usual. Or, the revs might be increasing without any effect on the vehicle’s speed. In contrast to the clutch pedal being stiff, it might get stuck in its downwards, depressed position. The car shuddering or vibrating while changing gears is also another sign of clutch problems.
What Is A Clutch, And How Does It Work?
We should know a bit of how the clutch works, and its key parts, prior to discussing clutch replacement costs. The clutch forms part of the car’s transmission and is therefore one of the components within the drivetrain. The engine is responsible for creating power through combustion, which then sends the reciprocal motion of the piston’s movement to the crankshaft. The crankshaft then turns that reciprocating motion into rotational energy.
Now, it sends the rotational energy to the flywheel. The flywheel then takes that energy, and sends it to the clutch. From there, the clutch then feeds the power into the transmission, where it will go through the gearing. After that, the transmission can then control and effectively match the car’s power to drive the wheels.
That is, in short, how energy is transmitted from the engine to the driven wheels of a car. All internal-combustion engine vehicles have a clutch. This goes for cars with automatic, or manual transmissions. Some cars have more complex transmissions setups, like those in hybridised cars, or cars sporting dual-clutch transmissions. Apart from the flywheel that connects from the engine, there are 3 main components within a car’s clutch.
Main Components Inside Of A Clutch
The ‘throw-out bearings’ take input from the clutch pedal, such as engaging or disengaging the clutch, and sends it to the pressure plate. The ‘pressure plate’ has powerful springs that push the clutch disc towards the flywheel. The ‘clutch disc’ then connects to the flywheel, to transfer power from the engine to the transmission.
Being a core component to any car, a clutch has been designed to last a very long time, although not subject to wear-and-tear. Among the key differentiators in determining how long a clutch can last is the type of vehicle. This varies from small city cars to big SUVs. Moreover, we need to take a look at how much load is being put onto the clutch.
Some clutches can wear out in just as little as over 30,000 miles, while others could hold its life-span far above 150,000 miles. A delivery van or lorry carrying heavy load would put a lot of stress on their transmission, thus wearing out their clutches faster. This also applies to cars pulling caravans or trailers, or sports cars being driven hard and fast.
Should You Keep Driving With A Faulty Clutch?
If your car has those symptoms that we’ve mentioned above, then your car might be suffering from a faulty clutch. You might then be put off by a high clutch replacement cost. So, you’re now thinking of simply driving around, and maybe that clutch problem isn’t so bad after all. Or maybe, you think that it might simply go away after a while, or after putting in a few miles.
In short, you should not drive your car while it’s suffering from clutch issues. Firstly, it is a hazard to be driving a car with a faulty clutch on public roads. This is owing to how unpredictable the car will be when the clutch isn’t functioning properly. For example, the clutch could suddenly give way, and leave you without power in the middle of a busy road or motorway. Driving with clutch problems is something you should only, only do as a last resort.
The other big concern is that continued usage of your car while undergoing problems with the clutch could cause further damage. It will contribute to greater degradation of the other components within the transmission, such as causing transmission slipping. This will further exacerbate the clutch replacement cost. What might seem to be an expensive repair could be even more catastrophic, should you continue to keep driving with a damaged clutch.
Could You Fix Clutch Problems At Home, By Yourself?
We’re going to label this under a solid, ‘maybe’. Fixing problems with your car at home is not only engaging and satisfying, but it could also save loads on labour expense. In our case, a DIY fix could very well cut around at least $300 or so in labour, from your clutch replacement cost. However, unlike changing engine oil, spark plugs, or broken fuses, clutches are extremely complex parts to service yourself.
It is possible for you to do this at home if you’re knowledgeable and experienced. But for most, we’d definitely recommend going to a qualified mechanic to have your clutch replaced. Firstly, it requires a wealth of tools to get the job done. You might need engine hoists or a hydraulic car lift. It also takes a lot of effort and know-how around underneath the car.
Clutch replacements require you to completely disconnect the transmission from the driveshaft and engine. For some cars, you might even need to remove the entire engine out of the way! Then, you may have to take apart the transmission, just to get to the clutch. However, one fix you could do at home is re-adjusting the clutch pedal, if it’s out of alignment. By doing so, you’re aligning the pedal with the tolerances of the clutch, thus preventing further damage to the clutch.
How Much Does A Clutch Replacement Cost You?
Now we get the main question; “How much does a clutch replacement cost?”. As we’ve outlined in our introduction, it varies depending on the make, model, and type of vehicle. For example, the clutch replacement cost for a front-wheel drive car can be more expensive than other types of vehicle. This is since it requires a removal of the drive axles, and sometimes the entire engine. Then, there’s to take into account the mileage of your car.
You might also take into consideration what are the parts need changing within the clutch. Often, since the 3 main parts (throw-out bearing, pressure plate, clutch disc) work in tandem, they should all be replaced. However, it might be prudent to replace or top-up the transmission fluids. The flywheel might also require resurfacing, or a total replacement. The clutch parts that you’re replacing with might be brand-new, used, or re-manufactured.
There’s also the labour costs to consider, and where you’re taking your car to have it fixed. In essence, there are a lot of variables associated with clutch replacement costs, more than just the clutch disc itself. The best way for you to find a more accurate cost value for your car, is to call up nearby workshops, and ask them to give you an estimate. Or, you can use sites like Who Can Fix My Car, AutoButler, or Fixter to easily find quotes from thousands of workshops across the USA.
Average Costs Of Clutch Parts
The market average costs for those components inside of a clutch alone are:
- Clutch kit; including the throw-out bearing, pressure plate, clutch disc – $320
- Transmission fluid – $45
- Flywheel; for a total replacement, not resurfacing – $500
If your car has hydraulically operated clutches, then you might need to replace the two cylinders that operate the hydraulic pumps. These two cylinders are called the ‘master’, and ‘slave’ cylinder. They cost on average $100 to $300 each.
Here is a condensed, bulleted list of things to consider that will have an impact for the clutch replacement cost on your car, if you need a quick look.
- The make and model of your vehicle – Some carmakers use clutches that are cheaper, and easier to replace than others.
- The type of vehicle that you drive – A heavier or more powerful vehicle will require more robust, and expensive clutches.
- What sort of transmission do you have? – An automatic, or a manual? Perhaps your car is hybridised, or it uses a dual-clutch transmission.
- What drivetrain does your car use? – Is your car front-, rear-, or all-wheel driven?
- How much needs to be replaced? – What else needs to be replaced other than the clutch kit itself? Will you need to flush the transmission fluid, or replace the flywheel?
- Do you still have a warranty on the clutch? – Did your previous transmission servicing or recent clutch replacement come with a warranty?
- Where are you sending your car to? – Dealerships are assured to use authentic, compatible, and original clutches to replace on your car. But they will also charge more, compared to general-purpose workshops, or dedicated transmission specialists.
Clutch Cost Comparisons Between Models And Brands
However, to make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of different popular cars, and how much it is roughly for a clutch replacement cost. This should give you a better idea of what to expect, on average. Note, these are general estimates that take into account material costs (just the clutch kit itself), and labour.
First, we’ll start with some of the most popular cars sold in the recently. We can see that they mostly average between $450 and $650 for a full clutch replacement. The most popular cars, and in general, are mostly front-wheel driven. This is important to know, as front-wheel drive cars require more complex procedures to do a clutch replacement.
The price variations are mostly between different car manufacturers and not the model of the cars itself. In our comparison here, we can see that Ford, Peugeot, Volkswagen are cheaper in regards to a clutch replacement cost on average, than Vauxhall or Skoda.
- Ford Fiesta – $480
- Ford Focus – $500
- Vauxhall Astra – $650
- Vauxhall Corsa – $600
- Volkswagen Passat – $550
- Volkswagen Golf – $500
- Volkswagen Polo – $500
- Mini Cooper – $500
- Mazda 3 – $550
- Renault Megane – $550
- Toyota Yaris – $550
- Peugeot 206 – $500
- Peugeot 207 – $500
- Skoda Octavia – $800
- Fiat 500C – $600
Clutches – Comparing With Luxury, Or More Complex Cars
Now, we’ll start with some more complex, or luxury cars. We can see that the front-wheel drive cars from the above are nearly as expensive to have a clutch replacement, than rear-wheel or all-wheel drive cars. Some luxury or exotic cars have transaxle gearboxes, meaning that their transmission is situated at the back of the car.
This can be easier to fix, and have access to. Instead of having to potentially remove the engine, a mechanic will only need to disconnect the driveshaft from the gearbox. However, these cars are also generally more powerful, and require more robust or specialised clutches. Mercedes, Audi, and Alfa Romeo’s cars are more performance-oriented, and as such, their clutch replacement costs are among the most expensive.
- Audi A4 – $650
- BMW 3-series (E90) – $450
- Mercedes A-Class – $750
- Toyota RAV4 – $600
- Land Rover Discovery 3 – $600
- Jaguar XE – $600
- Porsche Cayman – $700
- Porsche Cayenne – $750
- Alfa Romeo Giulia – $600
How Long Do You Have To Wait To Get Your Clutch Replaced?
We now know roughly what to expect when it comes to the monetary expense in replacing your clutch. Now, you might want to know how much time it will take to get your clutch replaced. Once again, we can only give an average estimate, understanding that there are a wide variety of different cars, and each with their own unique setups and construction. Again, we recommend calling up a mechanic to quote a more accurate timeframe.
As we’ve noted already, rear-wheel drive cars are often easier – though not always – to fix than front-wheel drive cars. Having a transaxle-mounted gearbox is another added bonus, that will make the process of taking out the clutch itself much more time-efficient and easy. On average, a knowledgeable mechanic or a transmission specialist could have your clutch replaced within 3-5 hours. However, one can also expect the worse, having to wait a total of 10 or more hours for a replacement.
Clutch Replacement Warranties
So, your mechanic of choice has already replaced the clutch, and you’re ready to pick up your car and drive out. But before you leave the workshop, here’s a few things to check while you’re there. Following an already hefty repair bill for a clutch replacement, it would be a good idea to check on the warranty of the clutch.
A good warranty should last 3 years, or 36,000 miles following the replacement. This should help you prepare better next time, when your car may need another clutch change. It’ll even save you a pretty penny if something does happen to go wrong in the meantime. You might also want to double-check with the mechanic if the transmission fluids have been flushed and replaced fully.
Finally, have a thorough test drive, and especially try changing gears. This applies to both manual and automatic cars. If you’re driving a manual, notice the pressure of the clutch pedal under your feet. Is it too soft, or too stiff to depress? The mechanic can make final adjustments if needed. If the car no longer exhibits any of the symptoms that we’ve mentioned above, then your brand new clutch should be working as intended.
How Can You Prevent Clutch Damage?
We’ve found out now that clutch replacement costs are not cheap, and they can be a nightmare to deal with. They require extensive energy, time, and money to have the clutch replaced. However, clutches are designed to be robust, and last a long amount of time. With proper care, you can easily drive your car upwards of 100,000 miles or even more without any damage to your clutch.
The most common cause for clutch failure is the wearing out of the clutch’s friction linings. These friction linings ensure effective power transfer from the flywheel to the clutch disc. They can wear out over time, and will also cause the throw-out bearing and pressure plate to wear out as well. They are also other causes to clutch problems, such as problems with the hydraulic system, or the bearings.
The lifespan of a car’s clutch can easily be extended by practicing a much more gentle driving style. As durable as a car is, it will only last as long as you can afford to treat it nicely. Here’s a list of ways you can improve on your driving, and to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the clutch.
Fully depressing the clutch pedal
When you’re changing gears, make sure you fully depress the clutch pedal. Just because the car will let you move the gear-lever while depressing the clutch pedal only halfway, doesn’t mean you should. Make sure you depress the clutch pedal all the way down next time.
Don’t press on the clutch pedal while driving
The clutch pedal controls the clutch itself. Pressing it while driving, which is to say while you’re depressing the accelerator, will forcefully disengage the clutch disc from the flywheel. The clutch disc will then forcefully and harshly re-engage with the flywheel. This will easily cause substantial damage to the clutch.
Don’t hold the clutch pedal while stationary
This seems like a fairly innocent thing to do, but it can cause extensive wear to the clutch. Even in stop and go traffic, make sure you put the car in neutral, and let your foot off the clutch pedal. This will remove unneeded strain from the clutch. Depressing the clutch pedal for a long time is a good way to quickly reduce its potential lifespan.
Change gears more smoothly
Make sure you change gears more smoothly, and avoid any sort of grinding. Usually, grinding happens when the clutch hasn’t been engaged or disengaged properly. Preventing that grinding from happening is an easy way to protect the durability of your clutch.
Remove any unnecessary weight or load from the car
As we’ve mentioned earlier in our clutch replacement cost article, load can have an impact on the life of your clutch. Vehicles that have to carry huge loads, like lorries and vans, require clutch replacements more frequently. So, you might consider thinking twice before hitching up a heavy caravan, or strapping your sofa onto the roof.
Avoid frequent gear changes
This is a habit that you might want to consider changing if you’d like to extend the life of your clutch. Changing gears frequently, although a lot of fun, can bring more strain on the clutch, along with the rest of the car. Moreover, try to avoid skipping gears, like changing down 2 gears at a time.
Clutch Replacement Cost Conclusion
So, as we conclude our look into clutch replacement costs, I hope you’ve been able to now understand more about your clutch. You now know of what signs to look out for to know if you have clutch damage. This includes how the clutch works, and the potential causes for clutch problems down the line. You also know now how much it might cost to replace a clutch, and how much time it will take.
I hope you’ve also been able to learn a thing or two about how to make sure you can best extend the lifecycle of your car’s clutch. Clutches eventually need to be replaced, owing to regular wear and tear. However, that wear and tear can easily be reduced simply by taking greater care of your gear changes while driving. Something as simple as being more patient while changing gears could very easily make your clutch that much happier.