What is Clutch Slipping?

Does it feel like your clutch is slipping when you’re driving? This can be a concerning sensation, but more importantly, it means that you won’t be able to engage or disengage your gears properly, stopping you from using your car.

This month, to help you with this very specific clutch issue, we’ll be looking at what causes clutch slipping, how you can spot it and how you can try and prevent it. Read on to find out more.

clutch replacement


What is clutch slipping?

Clutch slip is a common issue where the disc which joins to your flywheel is not catching as well as it should, sometimes failing completely. This means that your vehicle won’t get full power to your wheels in the way it should when connected to the right gears.


What causes clutch slip?

Clutch slippage is really just a clutch starting to fail. It can do this for a number of reasons, the first being that the disc or plate is starting to wear to a point where it no longer works properly. It may also fail due to aggressive driving styles where you rev the engine a lot or accelerate quickly, or try to move through the gears rapidly, as these things contribute to the wear and tear on your clutch. Finally, a clutch can begin to slip if the weather gets too hot – not something we experience here a lot in the UK, but worth noting if you ever take your car abroad to hotter climates.


How to spot clutch slip

Clutch slippage is not a hidden issue, since when it occurs, you will be aware of something being amiss with your vehicle. There’s a range of signs you can look out for to help you spot signs of clutch slippage, all of which should prompt you to take action.

  1. A burning smell – while a burning smell could mean a number of things, it can be a sign of clutch slipping as the engine will start to overheat from all the revving. 
  2. Difficulty changing gears – if it’s becoming difficult to get up or down through the gears, it’s a clear sign that there is something wrong with the clutch. 
  3. Noises when pressing the clutch – whether it’s a squeak or a grumble, it could be a sign that your clutch is slipping if you hear noises when you put your foot on the clutch. 
  4. Loss of momentum or acceleration – while driving, if you feel like it’s hard to build momentum, or you suddenly lose it, then this could be due to your clutch not engaging properly. 
  5. Sticky clutch – if your clutch pedal seems to stick after taking your foot off, or feels spongy when you press down, this could be another indicator. 
  6. High revs – looking at your dashboard, you’ll notice your revs are higher than normal if you’ve got your foot on the accelerator and the clutch has slipped.


Repairing clutch slip

Unfortunately, while you might be tempted to continue to drive when noticing your clutch slipping, it is not advisable, as it could completely fail at any point, leaving you stranded out on the road. To prevent this in the first place, it’s advised that you drive sensibly and have you clutch checked every 60,000 miles.

The best course of action when you notice any issues with your clutch is to seek professional advice. At Auto Exhausts & Tyres, our experienced mechanics can assess your vehicle and provide a diagnosis along with potential remedies, helping you get back out on the road again safely as swiftly as possible. Clutch repair and replacement might seem costly, but it could be far more costly if you become stranded on the motorway or on the busy Lincoln roads during rush hour.

If you’re concerned about the clutch on your car or would like advice about fixing clutch slip, simply contact our professional team today and we’ll be happy to help.