Troubleshooting Throw-Out Bearing Issues: Symptoms & Solutions

You could save yourself unnecessary headaches if you understand bad throwout-bearing symptoms; just like understanding bad pinion-bearing symptoms can save you a lot of stress.

The throwout bearing is a vital component of the clutch assembly that enables you to change gears seamlessly and smoothly. The clutch plate, flywheel, pressure plate, and throwout bearing are all components of the clutch linkage.

It is crucial for you to understand how the clutch linkage components of your vehicle work and the signs to look out for in case of a throwout bearing failure. This article unveils what you need to know about the throwout bearing and the symptoms of a bad throwout bearing.

what causes throw out bearing failure

What is the Throwout Bearing?

The throwout bearing is the component of the clutch assembly that moves towards the flywheel when the clutch pedal is depressed, thereby pushing the pressure plate’s release fingers and moving it against pressure plate spring force.

The clutch release bearing is the last part in the components of the clutch linkage from the pedal of the vehicle to the clutch assembly within the transmission bell housing. Being a bearing, it enables the interaction between a stationary surface and a moving surface.

The throwout bearing assists the clutch performance and ensures its longevity. It works in tandem with the other components of the clutch assembly to provide a smooth and effortless gear shift.

The throwout bearing is found inside your vehicle’s transmission housing, next to the clutch. While the throwout bearing is an incredibly durable component of the clutch assembly, it is used heavily and the clutch gets exposed to pressure and friction.

However, your driving habit is a factor to consider in determining how long your vehicle’s throwout bearing would last.

It is advisable to take it easy on your vehicle’s clutch as a way of ensuring the durability of the throwout bearing. However, you would have to replace the throwout bearing when it reaches the end of its lifespan.

Sometimes, many vehicles’ throwout bearing doesn’t reach their lifespan for one reason or another; while still in use, they go bad. Clutch release bearing failure causes a lot of damages.

If you notice while driving that you are experiencing difficulty in shifting or grinding gears, it is a sign that your car’s throwout bearing is bad. There are other bad throwout-bearing symptoms, and they are unveiled in the subsequent paragraphs in this article.

Bad Throwout Bearing Symptoms

Every component of a machine deteriorates and wears out with consistent use over a while. It is the same for the throwout bearing of your vehicle. This is a drawback when you consider manual vs. automatic transmission.

The symptoms of a bad throwout bearing switches dimensions depending on your driving situation, and the symptoms may also change dimensions with different vehicle models and makes. However, the bad throwout-bearing symptoms are the same for most manual transmission vehicles.

Therefore, if your vehicle’s throwout bearing is bad, you are most likely going to experience one or more of the following symptoms.

Vibrating Clutch Pedal

Clutch pedal vibration is a clear signal that your car’s throwout bearing is bad and needs to be fixed before any further damage occurs that may lead to a disaster.

Usually, while driving a manual transmission car, the typical experience is that the clutch moves down smoothly without stress and returns in the same manner.

However, if you begin to notice any form of vibration from the clutch pedal to your foot, then it is a sign that your car’s throwout bearing is bad, and the consequence is the vibration it sends to your foot whenever you press down the clutch pedal.

Strange Noises When Engaging The Clutch Pedal

Regular odd noise or throw-out bearing squeak is one of the primary symptoms of a bad throw-out bearing. This odd sound is usually produced when you press down the clutch pedal, and the noise ceases once you take your foot off the pedal. 

 The sound is similar to a rattling noise or a grinding noise. The noise usually worsens as you place more stress on the system, thereby pushing your car’s engine harder. If you experience this unpleasant sound coming from your vehicle, you should see a mechanic who knows how to fix throwout-bearing noise.

Compromised Clutch Pedal Feel

Under normal working conditions, the clutch pedal softly moves when you press down while driving, but if you notice stiffness or less freedom when depressing the clutch pedal while driving, it is a sign of a damaged throwout bearing.

 To have a smooth driving experience, the process of engaging your vehicle’s gear has to be seamless. So, when your clutch pedal becomes stiff, spongy, or unnecessarily hard with little movement, you would have a hard time clutching down to change gears, and this situation can make driving difficult and boring.

If you are experiencing this challenge, it is advisable to contact your auto mechanic; otherwise, prolonged problems of this sort can lead to an accident while driving.

Difficulty Changing Gears

If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you would have noticed that the process of changing gears can be straightforward under normal working conditions.

However, if you experience any difficulty in the process of changing your vehicle’s gear while driving, it is a sign that your car’s throwout bearing is damaged and needs to be fixed. 

 The throwout bearing and other clutch assembly components are required in changing gears; therefore, if any of the features fail to work correctly, it becomes difficult or sometimes impossible to change gears.

If immediate attention is not given to this issue to rectify it, the bad throwout bearing would be damaged the more, and the car’s engine performance can be hindered from proper functioning.

Total Clutch Failure

If difficulty in changing gears is not rectified within a time frame but is left to linger on for too long, it can further lead to complete clutch failure. This problem is more or less the one you cannot ignore or try to manage. You would have to take your vehicle for clutch repair or a complete replacement, and either of the two can be very expensive.

 If you are asking, “What happens when throw-out bearing fails in a manual transmission?” the above symptoms are a direct answer to your question. If you experience a minor challenge with your vehicle, having a few tools like a screwdriver, pliers, etc., can help fix them. 

However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, it would be best to contact an expert auto mechanic who knows how to replace throw-out bearing.


Q: What causes throw-out bearing failure?

Throw out bearing failure is primarily a result of wear and tear after using your vehicle over a long period. Therefore, there is a predetermined lifespan for every component of your car.

However, throw-out bearing failure can also be due to damage sustained because of an accident that affects the throwout bearing or the clutch assembly area.

Also, driving habit is yet another factor determining the lifespan of your vehicle’s components and the car itself. A car owner with a bad driving habit can damage the vehicle’s throwout bearing by his rough driving habit.

Q: Can a throw-out bearing cause hard shifting?

A bad throwout bearing can cause hard shifting in the process of changing gears in your vehicle. The throwout bearing is a significant component in the clutch assembly that works in tandem when the clutch pedal is depressed in the process of gear shifting.

Under normal working conditions, the throwout bearing works in synergy for the smooth running of your car. It enables the seamless and smooth shifting of gears; however, it becomes difficult to shift or change gears if the throwout bearing is damaged.

If you experience a hard time shifting gears, it would be best for you to see an auto mechanic fix the challenge before it escalates.

Q: How long will a noisy clutch release bearing last?

A clutch typically lasts for about 50,000 to 100,000 miles. However, the lifespan depends on the vehicle’s make and model. Also, the driver’s driving habit is yet another factor that should be considered.

However, a noisy clutch release bearing can last for 5 years or just 5 minutes. It depends on your attitude toward responding to a problem in your vehicle.

Once you notice a noise from your vehicle’s clutch release bearing, it is ideal for you to see an auto mechanic and get it fixed as soon as possible.

Q: How much does it cost to fix a throw-out bearing?

A throw-out bearing is relatively cheap compared to some other components of a vehicle. It costs between $30 and $100 depending on the vehicle’s make or model. While, the cutch costs between $300 and $800, and the price of a new flywheel is about $50 to $200.

However, the labor cost ranges between $80 and $100 per hour, and it would require between 4 to 6 hours to perform a complete replacement of your car’s throwout bearing, which brings the cost around $350 to $600.

Q: Is it ok to drive with a bad throw-out bearing?

Ideally speaking, it is not ok for you to drive with a bad throw-out bearing, as it can lead to further damages and ultimately lead to an accident in the long run.

However, some people manage to drive with a bad throw-out bearing, but the consequence is that they would have to bear the burden of difficulty in changing gears, stiffness of the clutch pedal, odd noise when the clutch pedal is depressed, etc.

Q: How do you test a clutch release bearing?

It would be best if you test your vehicle’s clutch bearing with a road drive test. As you drive, listen to observe any noise with the transmission in gear and the clutch pedal while pressing it down. Then, release the clutch and the transmission in the first gear.

You can also hold the clutch pedal down, change the transmission gear to neutral, and observe the noise. If there is a noise and it persists, then the clutch release bearing is bad.

 Final Words

Having read this article, you now know the bad throwout-bearing symptoms that can easily be identified. When you discover any other signs discussed above in your vehicle, kindly consult a professional auto mechanic to fix the problem before it escalates.

If you ask, “how long can you drive with a bad throw-out bearing?” the answer is not farfetched from the information this article has provided. It is most likely that you can drive with a bad throw-out bearing for a long time, but in some cases, only for a short time.

However, it would be best if you keep your car’s throwout bearing and other components under perfect working conditions.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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