What is Clutch Plate? | Signs of Bad Clutch Pressure Plate

The clutch plate plays an important role in the efficient working of the vehicle. It is a vital component of the manual transmission system that allows to change gears. As your clutch doesn’t work efficiently, it generates some serious transmission problems. A bad clutch plate generates different symptoms. This article explains the causes and symptoms of a bad clutch plate.

What is Clutch Plate?

The clutch plate is a driving part of the clutch and is installed between the pressure plate and the flywheel. This plate is located on the clutch shaft via splines. When you tight it, it turns the clutch shaft and transmits power from the engine to the gearbox.

Clutch Plate

The efficient working of the car is highly dependent on the clutch. A good clutch has a service life from 49,000 to 100,000 miles. It depends on the clutch type, vehicle design, model, year of construction, and your own driving method.

Bad or Worn Clutch Plate Symptoms

As the clutch plate goes bad, it generates one of the below-given symptoms:

  1. Slipping Clutch
  2. Clutch takes higher up than usually
  3. Loose Clutch Pedal
  4. Trouble Shifting Gears
  5. Noise When Pressing the Clutch
  6. Clutch Pedal Feels Stiff
  7. Burning Smell
  8. Vibration in the Transmission System

1) Slipping Clutch

The slipping clutch is one of the main symptoms of a bad clutch plate. As your clutch plate goes bad, your clutch starts slipping while driving. Damaged clutches tend to slip, especially when you drive a vehicle uphill or when carrying heavy loads.

In case of a damaged clutch, you will observe an increase in engine RPM, but the vehicle will not move faster, or the engine RPM will not correspond to the speed increase. If the clutch slips, other components of the vehicle can overheat, and the engine damage magnitude can increase.

In case of a bad clutch plate, contact the professional to replace or repair it as soon as possible.

2) Clutch takes higher up than usually

As the clutch wears out, the clutch pedal begins to lift the car higher and higher.

If the clutch is worn on an older car, adjust it to prevent the car from lifting. The mechanic usually makes this adjustment during each service of the vehicle.

The new car uses a self-adjusting hydraulic clutch system. Therefore, such car clutches don’t need manual adjustment.

Unfortunately, if the self-adjusting hydraulic clutch gets so bad that it can’t be adjusted hydraulically, then you need to replace it immediately.  

3) Loose Clutch Pedal

If you feel that your clutch pedal is loose and weak (like stepping on it and falling to the ground with some effort), this is a sign of damage or a worn clutch plate.

4) Trouble Shifting Gears

In the case of a good clutch plate, your vehicle gears shift smoothly and unobtrusively.

The main function of the clutch is to eject the force between the transmission and engine so you can shift your gears easily. If your vehicle clutch plate doesn’t disengage the connection between the transmission and engine, it becomes difficult to change gears.

As you feel difficulty to change your gears, you must inspect your clutch and replace it if it is bad.  

5) Noise When Pressing the Clutch

You may hear grinding noises in the engine compartment as you press the clutch. This noise may appear due to a bad or damaged throwout bearing or the clutch pressure plate.

The throwout bearing compresses the clutch pressure plate and releases the clutch. The throwout bearing always replaces together with a clutch.

The clutch may also produce noise due to the loose parts of the clutch. As you hear a noise near the clutch, you must immediately inspect it.

6) Clutch Pedal Feels Stiff

A stiff clutch is one of the major signs of a bad clutch pressure plate.

However, a hard clutch pedal indicates a problem with the hydraulic clutch system, such as a bad slave or master clutch cylinder. Therefore, you must properly inspect your clutch before replacing it.  

7) Burning Smell

Abrasive gears and stiff clutches often result in poor metal-to-metal friction. It gives off a characteristic burning smell. Like the strange noise, as you notice an unpleasant smell while driving, you must stop your vehicle and inspect it properly.

8) Vibration in the Transmission System

In case of an imbalanced or loose clutch plate, the clutch system starts vibrating. If you notice vibration, it makes sense to take the car to a specialist to solve the problem.

How to increase the service life of the clutch plate?

The clutch is most commonly used in many applications for manual transmissions, but it seems to be one of the most delicate components of the car. The clutch plate is an important component of the system, and in poor condition, it may lead to many other problems. Therefore, follow the following tips for the efficient working of the clutch plate:

  1. Do not “ride” the clutch of a car. This action can cause the clutch more fast than usual. Therefore, you must release the pressure (release your foot) as you step on the accelerator.
  2. We do not recommend using your car’s clutch pedal as a footrest. If you continue to do this, the bearings can become loose and cause problems.
  3. Properly inspect and repair the clutch plate of your vehicle.
  4. If you want to disengage, drive slowly and upshift as naturally as possible.
  5. Make sure you have not assigned braking responsibility to the clutch. Use the brakes as needed. You shouldn’t use the clutch in place of the brake. Because of these problems, the clutch assembly can be subject to serious problems such as pressure plates.
  6. If you notice signs of a bad clutch plate, immediately repair or replace it.
  7. Make sure you know when to replace the plate, as acting quickly can prevent severe damage.

FAQ Section

How do you check a clutch pressure plate?

A good way to test the clutch pressure plate is to use a hydraulic press.

  1. First of all, remove the clutch disc from the vehicle and put it in the hydraulic press.
  2. Lower the “lever” until some pressure is exerted.
  3. Take the appropriate measurements from the plate to the “metal pad.”
  4. The plate needs to cover various traveling distances before it can separate. Therefore, you can consult a car expert to find the right number plate spacing for your car.

What happens when the clutch plate is damaged?

A damaged clutch plate generates one of the below-given signs:

  1. Slipping Clutch
  2. Loose Clutch Pedal
  3. Trouble Shifting Gears
  4. Noise When Pressing the Clutch
  5. Clutch Pedal Feels Stiff
  6. Burning Smell
  7. Vibration in the Transmission System

What is the replacement cost of the Clutch?

The replacement cost of the clutch plate varies according to the labor cost and car model. The average replacement cost of the clutch is from $450 to $2100. The cost of the complete clutch kit is from $180 to $410, while the labor costs $1600 to $2800.

What are the signs of bad Clutch Plate?

A bad clutch plate produces one of the below-given signs:

  1. Slipping Clutch
  2. Vibration in the Transmission System
  3. Clutch takes higher up than usually
  4. Burning Smell
  5. Loose Clutch Pedal
  6. Clutch Pedal Feels Stiff
  7. Noise When Pressing the Clutch
  8. Trouble Shifting Gears
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