Manual Drivers: Pay Attention to Your Clutch
In general, manual drivers have to better feel for their vehicle than drivers of automatic engines. A manual driver has to wait for the ideal moment to shift gears, and they often rely on the visual of their dashboard dials, the sound of the RPMs, and the feel of the engine. Because they need to be more attune to the feel of the machine, they are more likely to notice when something begins going wrong. Several signs may come up if your clutch is failing, so keep an eye out for these.
Reluctant Reverse: Your reverse gear is the opposite of each of the other gears because it sets the motion in reverse. This is a significant change for the engine to shift, and if you are finding it harder and harder to get into reverse, this may be an early sign of clutch failure.
Weak Resistance: The clutch pedal can feel quite sturdy when working because it suspends the gears momentarily before you place them back in the lower or higher gear. If your clutch pedal begins giving you less resistance, feeling soft, this means your clutch is becoming less effective. The problem here is that you may not be able to effectively shift gears when you need to, leaving you in a dangerous driving situation.
Slipping Gears: Another problem that may arise while you’re on the road is the engine may slip gears. If you find that after a shift, you may feel increased RPMs with no increase in power, this is a slipped gear. The clutch has been ineffective in securely placing the gears, and they are no longer connecting properly to receive and transfer motion.
Sticking Gears: At the early stages, you may not slip gears entirely but find it very difficult to shift. This is an early sign of clutch failure and is usually the best time to get a technician to inspect your vehicle!
Unusual Noises: Changing gears is a particularly noisy function in your vehicle, there is no shortage of noises. However, if your engine begins making new or unusual noises that accompany poor clutch performance, you should definitely heed this as a sign of poor clutch health.
Getting Shaky: As we’ve said, manual drivers are very attuned to the feeling of their vehicle. Shifting gears can be a jerky transition, but seasoned manual drivers can make those shifts so smoothly that they’re nearly imperceptible. If you suddenly notice that your smooth shifts are becoming jerky, or you feel more vibration than usual, the culprit may be your clutch.