How to Replace Your Car's Clutch

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How to Replace Your Car

The various systems in a vehicle work together to provide drivers with a safe and efficient driving experience. When one of these systems has a problem, then the other systems can also be affected. Some of the systems that work together include the transmission, clutch and driveshaft. When one of these three items does not work properly, the vehicle more than likely cannot work as efficiently as it should and sometimes cannot run at all. When one of these parts fails, vehicle owners should fix or replace the parts as soon as possible.

The clutch, in particular, can become damaged and worn through extensive or improper use. If a clutch needs replacing, vehicle owners can go to mechanics for repairs or do the replacements themselves. Failure to replace this part quickly can lead to further damage to other car parts, such as the transmission or even the drive shaft. Doing the job at home can save vehicle owners money and time. Shoppers can buy clutch parts and tools at local automotive parts shops or online on sites like eBay.

Types of Transmissions

When buying replacement clutches, vehicle owners need to consider the types of transmissions they have, either manual or automatic. The table below describes these two transmission types.

Transmission Type


Manual Transmission

Allows drivers to gain speed faster

Drivers must determine when to shift by the sound of the engine or amount of RPMs

Automatic Transmission

Gears shifted through the use of predetermined shift points

Onboard computer determines when to shift by engine RPM

Clutches in cars with manual transmissions usually wear out faster than those with automatic transmissions. This mostly comes down to wear and tear from improper shifting or improper use of the clutch pedal.

Clutch Replacement Symptoms

Vehicle owners should watch out for certain signs that their clutches are failing. These signs include the clutch slipping when applying power, usually indicated by the engine speed increasing greatly when accelerating without the clutch pedal being pressed. Another sign of impending clutch failure involves the engine revving while the vehicle remains still and not moving. This typically happens if a car owner waits too long to replace the clutch. An owner should always replace the clutch before it gets to this point to avoid potentially damaging other components.

How to Replace a Car's Clutch

When vehicle owners decide to replace clutches, they need to make sure they have all of the necessary tools and the correct replacement clutches before beginning the repairs. These tools include jacks and jackstands to allow access to the bottom of the car. Additionally, vehicle owners need the appropriately sized wrenches and screwdrivers to remove screws and nuts and bolts. Besides clutch replacement kits, owners need at least four clutch springs, two pipe gaskets, and a clutch cover gasket. Other tools include a scraper and some soft cloths.

An owner has to know how to successfully remove the old clutch before he or she can install a new one. Never work on a vehicle without the proper knowledge of how to do so correctly and safely. Consider reading the owner's manual and other helpful resources that explain and identify each vehicle part.

Remove the Old Clutch

Make sure that the problem lies with the clutch and not some other part, such as the slave-master cylinder, any of the activating cables, or the pedal-arm bushing. If the problem is unclear, a vehicle owner should consider taking the car to an automotive repair shop for evaluation. After ensuring that the problem lies with the clutch, owners can use the steps below to remove and replace a car's clutch.

Step 1

Disconnect the positive battery cable to eliminate the chance of electrical shock. The clutch cable and thehydraulic slave cylinder should also be removed. This prepares the transaxle for removal. At this time, remove anything else that might get in the way, such as the speedometer and the exhaust pipes, but be sure you know how to replace them before removal.

Step 2

Make sure to secure the car before jacking up the front end. This includes applying the parking brake and placing blocks behind the rear tyres to keep the vehicle from rolling.

Step 3

Stabilise the engine by placing a jack below the oil pan. To remove the transaxle, remove at least one engine mount. Make sure to place all the necessary jackstands before proceeding.

Step 4

To free the transaxle completely from the engine, remove the bolts surrounding the flywheel bell housing. This allows those working on the car to push the transaxle away from the engine. Push the transaxle to a point where the input shift clears the pressure plate.

Step 5

Remove the pressure plate and clutch disc by disengaging the surrounding bolts. Check to see if the surface of the flywheel has become scored, checked, or has any hot spots. If so, the flywheel requires removal and machining before reinstalling it.

Step 6

While inspecting the flywheel, also look at the pilot bearing at the centre of the flywheel. Make sure to lubricate the needle bearing and verify that no galling has occurred. Lastly, owners should check for any oil leakage around the rear main engine seal.

Things to Check Before Installing the Clutch

By following the above steps, vehicle owners can avoid having to replace the transaxle. They should examine the transaxle components before installing the replacement clutch.

Step 1

If the transaxle input shaft has any leakage, it requires replacement. At this point, remove the old input shaft and install a new one in its place.

Step 2

If necessary, take out the flywheel and the old seal and install a new seal. Owner's should do this while they have everything disassembled to save them from having to do it at a later point.

Install the New Clutch

After completing all of the above steps, vehicle owners can replace the old clutches with new ones. The following section outlines the steps necessary to install a new clutch.

Step 1

Be sure to clean the crankshaft flange fully. Replace the flywheel and place and tighten the bolts in a star pattern to get the correct torque.

Step 2

Install the new clutch and the pressure plate. Before putting the transaxle back into position, install the new release bearing to the release fork. Test the fork to make sure that it moves freely.

Step 3

Move the transaxle into position, moving it forward until the input shaft glides smoothly into the clutch disc's spindled hole. Owners should not have to apply any force for this to take place.

Step 4

Replace any bolts or mounts that were removed and secure the clutch and transaxle back into place. At this point, vehicle owners can lower their vehicles and remove the jacks.

Step 5

Adjust the clutch cable to give enough free play for the new clutch, which needs to be used before it can adjust to the transmission of the car. Car owners should also consider replacing the clutch cables at this point.

Step 6

Depress the slave cylinder into its bore to assure that the clutch's self-adjusting action works properly. Once satisfied that it works, test drive the vehicle to check that the new clutch performs properly.

Finding Clutches and Automotive Parts on eBay

If you want to purchase a clutch or related automotive parts online, visit the eBay marketplace to start browsing available products. To search the marketplace, just enter keywords into the search box on any eBay page. Use terms like 'Nissan clutch' or 'manual clutch', for example, to begin your search. The key here is to use words that closely describe the product you need. After viewing the list of results, cut the list down by clicking on the filter options to display only the listings that closely match your search. Sellers who have eBay Shops sometimes provide great products, as well. If you need more help searching the site, visit eBay'sSearch Tips page.

After finding an applicable listing, read over the product details, including model number, cost, condition, size, and other important specifications. If searching for a clutch, make sure it is the correct make and model. Check with the seller if you have other questions by clicking the Ask a Question link on the seller's listing page. Finally, before buying a product, check the seller's feedback rating to make sure he or she meets exceptional customer service and product standards.


In addition to replacing a failing clutch, a car owner should strive to take proper care of a clutch to ensure long product life, thus saving the owner the expense of having to replace it. This includes using proper shifting techniques at all times. Another way to protect a clutch involves the proper use of the clutch pedal, which means a driver should not rest his or her foot on the pedal when it is not in use.

When replacing clutches, vehicle owners should make sure they have all of the necessary tools on hand, all of the parts they need, and a general understanding of the vehicles they own and how to replace and repair various components. Owners who have any questions should talk to automotive specialists about the process before attempting to make any repairs on their vehicles. Parts and tools for numerous repair jobs can be found at local auto parts shops, online at a wide variety of auto parts sites, and on eBay.

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