Knowing how to bleed a clutch by yourself is one of the most straightforward DIY skills you can learn. You may not appreciate this skill until it is the only option you have to get the air out of your vehicle’s clutch.
The proper working of a vehicle’s clutch is dependent on the clutch fluid in the master cylinder’s fluid reservoir. The master cylinder is linked with the slave cylinder with hoses that serve as media for the flow of the clutch fluid.
Whenever you press down the clutch pedal of a car, the brake fluid is released from the master cylinder via the hoses to the slave cylinder. Then, the amount of pressure required to engage the clutch and change gears is released in the process.
However, running with low brake fluid or having air in your car’s clutch can affect the transmission and cause it to wear out quickly. Hence, you need to find out when it is necessary to bleed your clutch.
How Do I Know If I Need To Bleed My Clutch?
There are some signs that indicate that a clutch needs to be bled. Once you notice these signs, kindly take time off and bleed your vehicle’s clutch.
Spongy or soft clutch pedal
A car’s clutch is designed to feel springy and smooth when engaged. If you discover that your vehicle’s clutch is unnecessarily spongy or soft when pressed down, it’s a sign that you may need to bleed the clutch.
Difficulty in clutch release
A vehicle’s clutch pedal ought to freely release when engaged. If a car’s clutch fails to release after being engaged, it is most likely that the clutch fluid is low or air bubbles are present in the slave cylinder. You need to bleed the clutch.
Difficulty in gear shifting
The hydraulic pressure’s inability to completely move a car’s slave cylinder will automatically result in hard gear shifting. This is either due to low brake fluid or air bubbles in the master cylinder reservoir.
If you find it difficult to shift gear from a current position to the next gear, it is most likely a sign that clutch bleeding is required.
When a gear starts grinding, it is a sign that the problem has become worse. This can wear out the transmission system. In this case, you would need to bleed the clutch to get rid of this problem, and if the problem persists, consult a certified mechanic to check it out.
How To Bleed A Clutch By Yourself Step By Step
It is pretty easy to bleed a clutch by yourself; the process is not rocket science. Kindly take a moment and follow the steps provided below on how to bleed a clutch with a vacuum pump.
Step 1: Get a hand-operated vacuum pump.
First and foremost, you would need a hand-operated vacuum pump to enable you to bleed the clutch. So, endeavor to get one. Having a clutch bleeder kit is an added advantage.
Step 2: Open your car’s bleeder valve.
Next, get a line wrench, and use it to open the slave cylinder’s bleeder valve. This can be done without much stress.
Step 3: Fix the vacuum pump.
This time around, carefully attach the hand-operated vacuum pump to your car’s slave cylinder. It would be easier if you had someone assisting you, but not to worry, you can also do it by yourself.
Step 4: Suck out the air bubbles.
Now, open the bleeder valve; with the vacuum pump attached to the slave cylinder, suck out the air bubbles from the slave cylinder. While doing this, never take your eyes off the clutch fluid level.
Step 5: Close the bleeder valve.
At this point, pay attention to see whether the air bubbles are totally off. To know this, you will discover that the clutch fluid is no longer having those air bubbles. Once you are sure of this, close the bleeder valve.
Step 6: Do a test run
Once you finalize the process, start your vehicle and check whether the clutch is functioning properly. Once you are sure; then, you are good to go.
If you don’t have a vacuum pump to perform this job, you may have to find out how to bleed a clutch without a vacuum pump.
Q: How do you know if you have air in your clutch?
If at any time you press down your vehicle’s clutch and get a spongy or soft feeling, it is likely that the clutch is low on fluid. The spongy or soft feeling when you press down the clutch signifies that you have air in your clutch.
The air is most likely within the master cylinder to the slave cylinder in your car’s clutch line. In that case, you may need to bleed the clutch to get the air out so that the clutch can return to normal.
Q: Can I just add clutch fluid?
It is pretty easy to check your car’s clutch fluid level to ascertain whether it is low or not. If you find out that your car’s fluid level is low, all you need to do is add clutch fluid to top it off.
Meanwhile, you must endeavor to use the clutch fluid recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It could either be Dot 3 or Dot 4 or Dot 5 or better yet, use hydraulic clutch fluid.
Q: Can low brake fluid cause clutch problems?
Yes, low brake fluid can result in clutch problems. When your car runs low on brake fluid, it can affect the clutch and result in the following; the inability for a clutch to release appropriately, difficulty in gear shifting, with grinding sound.
If your car runs low on brake fluid for a long time, the difficulty in clutch release and gear shifting will gradually cause the transmission to experience undue wear. So, once you notice a shortage in your car’s brake fluid, kindly top it off with the recommended fluid for your car.
Q: How much does it cost to bleed a clutch?
Whenever you need to bleed your vehicle’s clutch, it will only cost an estimated amount between $46 and $60. The labor cost does not include taxes and does not take cognizance of differences in location.
So, you may have to consider what it would cost you to bleed your vehicle’s clutch in your neighborhood. Maybe you could check out a professional auto mechanic near you. However, learning how to bleed a hydraulic clutch isn’t a big deal. That is, however, the purpose of this article.
Q: Can a clutch go suddenly?
Of course, a clutch can fail suddenly; however, it can either fail gradually or suddenly. Some of the reasons why a clutch can fail suddenly include the following; loose or broken cable, leaks in the hydraulic line, contaminated disc, failed hydraulic master or slave cylinder.
It would be helpful to ensure maximum regular maintenance for your car and all its components, especially the delicate ones. Proper maintenance culture will help reduce worry over defective components and financial stress.
Q: What fluid do you put in a clutch master cylinder?
Your car’s clutch master cylinder simply requires brake fluid to function correctly. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend the most suitable brake fluid for their vehicle makes and models.
Anything different from the recommended fluid may lead to a complication of the clutch system. In that case, the way out would be to know how to bleed a clutch master cylinder.
Some of the best brake fluids include; hydraulic clutch fluid, Dot 3, or Dot 4. They are the most common fluids that can work efficiently in your car’s clutch fluid reservoir. Endeavor to find out what your vehicle’s manual recommends.
Understanding how to bleed a clutch by yourself is not rocket science. It is evident already through the step-by-step procedures provided in this article.
If you suddenly discover that your car’s clutch pedal is spongy or unnecessarily soft, while the gear becomes difficult to engage with a grinding sound, it would be best to bleed the clutch.
To bleed a hydraulic clutch will not take the whole day. Kindly schedule sometime this weekend to get it done; otherwise, you may be risking costly damage to that baby ride. A famous saying reads, “Prevention is better than cure.”