Clutch Pressure Plate Failure Symptoms

The lifespan of a clutch ranges between 30,000 kilometers and 240,000 kilometers, and it varies based on the car’s model. Nevertheless, a bad clutch pressure plate could cause some serious issues for the vehicle. Still, clutch pressure plate failure symptoms are pretty visible.

Does your car have a manual transmission? Then, you should know that the clutch is one component that works very hard with every start, stop, and gear change. With such a tasking job, the clutch tends to wear out over time.

The clutch assembly is pretty crucial for every car, as it works well in connecting the engine to the transmission. However, there may be a sudden clutch failure due to some issues with the pressure plate.

In essence, the driver may face some difficulties in engaging or changing gears. The issues with the clutch pressure plate may occur due to broken springs, overheating, and even worn-out clutch discs. This article reveals some common symptoms of clutch plate problems and tips for increasing the clutch lifespan.

Clutch Pressure Plate Failure

Common Clutch Pressure Plate Failure Symptoms

Various symptoms tell you that the clutch pressure plate is in bad shape. The good news is that these signs appear pretty visible, and you can take swift action before the car faces more problems.

Nevertheless, it would help to learn more about the role of the pressure plate. The clutch or pressure plate seems pretty beneficial in the manual transmission’s clutch assembly. It works with other components, including the clutch disc and flywheel.

In essence, the pressure plate, alongside these other components, engages the gears and keeps to the driving speed. Thus, the clutch plate is often under much friction and pressure with these activities. Soon, they may start wearing out.

Nevertheless, here are a few signs of a failing clutch pressure plate.

symptoms of clutch plate problems

Difficulty in Engaging the Clutch Pedal

There is some amount of force needed to engage every clutch of various vehicles. This “input” would allow the car to completely depress and engage the pedal. However, drivers can do this effortlessly, as the force needed is not excessive.

Still, when you find yourself applying excessive pressure for the clutch to engage, you should know that there is a problem with its release mechanism. For most vehicles with mechanical systems, it would help if you checked the pressure plate.

Aside from the pressure plate, this issue may arise when the clutch fork, cable, throw-out bearing, and linkage are in bad shape. Kindly note that a faulty cable, in this case, may cause the transmission to shift hard. If you work with hydraulic systems, you may need to check the seals for any blockage or wear.

Spongy or Loose Clutch Pedal

Has the clutch pedal of your car been feeling loose? Then, there may be some faults in the mechanical unit’s diaphragm spring of the clutch spring. You can look through the clutch fork or release bearing to see if there are issues with these components.

For vehicles that work with the hydraulic release clutch mechanism, it would help if you look out for any leaky connections or pipes. Furthermore, checking the piston seal, fluid reservoir, and air in this hydraulic system would suffice.

Slipping Gears

There are lots of chances that cars with manual transmissions expose drivers to what it’s like to start engaging gears. Nevertheless, there is a chance that slipping gears occur with the clutch pressure plate getting worn.

In most cases, you would start the car starts feeling like the engine is revving, and there would be an increase in “rpm.” So, it would appear too drastic for the gear shifting to happen. Hence, the car wouldn’t stall as it does on a normal day.

Pulsating Clutch Pedal

With the rotating components of the vehicle’s transmission vibrating and wobbling, you may notice the clutch pedal pulsating. You should try to check the pressure plate. Asides from that, there may be a need for an adjustment on the release lever or the wrapped flywheels has some issues.


Excessive heat is something that doesn’t work well for cars, as you must have noticed from engine overheating. The same applies to the clutch system, and such an issue is one of the causes of clutch failure.

When it overheats, the various components get exposed to frequent wear. In essence, when trying to fix the clutch system overheating, you should check on the pressure plate. Greater chances exist that this part starts wearing out after being left exposed.

Noise from the Clutch Release

Ever wondered what causes that annoying sound that accompanies the clutch release? A faulty pressure plate could be the cause. When you place some pressure on the clutch pedal, you will start hearing a creaking sound if the pressure plate is in bad condition.

If this does not appear to be the case, then you should check the spring arrangement in the clutch system.

Vibration in the Transmission System

The clutch system of the vehicle would start vibrating if the car’s pressure plate seemed loose or imbalanced. When you notice such, it will help to take the car to an expert to fix the problem.

Grinding Feel with Gear Shifting

When the car starts making some chirping, grinding, and whirling sound when its transmission remains neutral, the shaft bearing may be worn. Often, the sound tends to go away with a “depress” on the clutch pedal. With such a sign, you can tell that a problem exists that needs a quick fix.

Tips for Increasing the Lifespan of the Clutch Pressure Plate

Although the clutch gets involved in much work for the manual transmission, it seems like one of the most sensitive parts of the vehicle. Again, the pressure plate is a crucial part of the system, and once it is in bad condition, other issues arise.

It is also true that it starts wearing out with constant use, but proper care would ensure your clutch pressure plate lasts longer. Here are some helpful tips to prevent the occurrence of worn pressure plate fingers for a long period.

  • Ensure that you don’t “ride” the car’s clutch, as such action would cause it to burn quickly. The best thing to do is take off pressure (remove your feet) whenever you press the accelerator.
  • It would be best if you stop treating the car’s clutch pedal as your footrest. If you keep doing such, the bearings may get released, causing some issues.
  • When you want to pull away from the clutch, do so gently and “shift up” as naturally as you can.
  • Ensure that you don’t designate the duty of the brakes to your clutch. When the need arises, use the brakes and do not try to use the clutch in place of the brake. The clutch assembly may face serious problems due to such issues, including the pressure plate.
  • Try to learn when to replace the pressure plate, as swift action would prevent further damage.

Why fix issues with the clutch? Well, smooth gear changing and engagement in manual vehicles can only be possible with a good clutch system. If there is any problem with the clutch of your vehicle, a quick fix would be needed.

Allowing the problem to linger on for too long can cause more problems for the other components of the transmission. You can check with the local service station near you for the clutch pressure plate price. Also, the labor cost for replacing the damaged parts with a new one would vary. Nevertheless, they seem affordable and would prove beneficial for the car.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you check a clutch pressure plate?

One excellent method of how to test a clutch pressure plate is using the hydraulic press. Then, get out the clutch plate from the car and place it in position on the hydraulic press. Then lower the “lever” till you get some pressure. Take proper measurements from the plate down to the “metal pad.”

There is a varying travel distance needed for the plate before it disengages. So, you can check with a car expert to know the right pressure plate travel distance for your car. Some people find it pretty difficult to check their vehicle’s clutch plate. Nevertheless, it seems simple if you follow the steps mentioned above.

What happens when the clutch plate is damaged?

A damaged clutch plate would cause some difficulties when engaging the clutch pedal, and you may notice it was feeling spongy or loose. Again, you may start noticing a grinding noise whenever you engage or even disengage the clutch. There is also this pulsation that results from the clutch pedal if the pressure plate seems damaged.

Various factors can cause serious damage to the clutch plate, but one prominent issue is clutch overheating. When such occurs, the rest of the components, including the pressure plate, are left bare. With that kind of exposure, they can start wearing out.

What should one expect when driving with a faulty clutch

It seems pretty dangerous to drive a car that has a faulty clutch pressure plate. The threat seems great, leaving other road users at risk. Nevertheless, leaving the damage to linger for a long can cause some more issues for the clutch system.

If you still drive with such a problem in place, the steering gearbox will start getting damaged. With further damage, your car will not perform effectively. Then, fixing these problems would be more expensive.

Should I replace the pressure plate alongside the clutch disc?

It is pretty common for the pressure plate to appear worn when. The same goes for the clutch disc. Thus, ii is recommendable for car owners to get the pressure plate changed whenever they decide to replace the clutch disc.

Aside from that, when applying pressure on the clutch pedal, the effort is felt on the pressure plate and the clutch disc. Such action would allow a better “shifting.” So, it would appear more reasonable to get both replaced simultaneously.

How much does clutch pressure plate replacement cost?

The cost of making some repairs on the clutch ranges between 500 dollars and 2,500 dollars. The price varies based on some crucial factors, like the vehicle’s performance. After noticing some signs of a bad clutch pressure plate, it would be best to replace it as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, you may end up replacing more than the pressure plate. In some cases, there may be a need to replace the clutch disc and friction plates. Such action would allow the car to perform optimally.

Final Thoughts

The maintenance of driving speed and gear engagements seems possible through the aid of the clutch pressure plate. This component works effectively with other parts of the car’s transmission to ensure that the car runs smoothly.

Still, they start wearing out with time, and improper use of the clutch pedal can damage them quickly. Hence, these factors seem like what causes the clutch pressure plate to break and fail. A quick fix would help prevent further problems. You can look through some common clutch pressure plate symptoms hinted at in this piece.

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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