What To Do If Clutch Won’t Disengage?
In a manual or otherwise known as standard transmission car, there is the clutch. The clutch is connected to the extra pedal that is normally on the far left side.
Sometimes the clutch doesn’t always function properly. In this article today we will explain what the clutch does and also one of the problems that can come about which is it getting stuck or not disengaging.
Your clutch can not disengage for a few reasons which we will explain here, and we will also discuss the solutions to these problems. Read on to find out why your clutch gets stuck and what to do about it.
More: When the car is not used much, the battery can begin to lose charge because its not charged by the alternator. This is a common occurrence of classic cars that are only used on weekends . To keep the battery fully charged, you need the best battery tender for your car.
What Is The Clutch?
First, before getting into why the clutch might not disengage, we will cover what the clutch is. It will help to understand briefly what the clutch does before we get into why it might not work.
The clutch is what connects the engine to the transmission. When the car is running and moving the clutch is engaged. The clutch is a pressure plate that is hooked to the flywheel that puts pressure on the drive plate.
When you step on the clutch pedal, it moves this plate out of the way for a moment so you can shift gears. When you shift gears, it literally moves the old gear out of place and a different into place. The clutch then reengages when you lift off the pedal, and the plate connects with the new gear.
What Happens When It isn’t Disengaged All The Way?
So, now that you have the basic understanding then it will probably make sense to you that when the clutch isn’t disengaged all the way, then part of the plate is rubbing against the gears when you are trying to change gears.
Also, if the clutch is only partly engaged, then it will cause rubbing and friction. This causes the friction material to burn up and get wasted. It will also cause heat which will lead to wear and tear.
Eventually, the different bearings will wear out due to pressure and twisting forces and the system will break completely. This is bad, that is why if your clutch is slipping or not disengaging all the way you need to get it fixed as soon as you notice the problem.
What Can Cause It Not To Disengage?
So, now you are probably asking yourself what can cause the clutch to slip or not disengage. Well, there are four main things that can cause your clutch to slip. They are
- Stretched or Broken Clutch Cable
- Hydraulic Leak in Clutch System
- The linkage is Out of Adjustment
- Incompatible Aftermarket Parts
These are the common reasons, and we will look at each one in more detail if you keep reading.
1/ Stretched or Broken Clutch Cable
The most common reason for issues with your clutch is a stretched or broken clutch cable. The clutch cable is what connects the pedal to the clutch and tells the car to pull the clutch out of the way when you step on the clutch pedal. Luckily it is easy to check the clutch cable and replace it if it needs to be replaced.
For checking the clutch cable, all you need is a jack, flashlight, and some things to block the wheels off. A jack stand and googles also help for safety but aren’t needed.
The key when checking the clutch cable has put the car in park or first gear and engage the parking brake. Block the rear tires off and jack the front end of the car up.
Find the cable that is leading from the clutch and to the clutch pedal. Use the flashlight and visual look at it. See if it is tight or if it has slack. Also, make sure it isn’t coming apart or broke.
If it is loose or visible broken, then you need to replace it. All you do is unhook it from the clutch and the pedal and put the new one in. If the cable isn’t the problem, you can move to the next possible issue.
2/ Hydraulic Leak in Clutch System
The next most common thing is a hydraulic leak in the clutch system. Luckily this one is pretty easy to check, especially if you are already down under the car.
To check look for any liquids under the car especially around the clutch. Also, pay special attention to the slave cylinder and make sure it isn’t leaking.
Check the rubber boots to make sure the seal hasn’t failed and checked the hydraulic lines. After checking under the car, you can lower it and check under the hood.
Look at the master cylinder and see if there are any leaks. Also, check all the seals and lines from above as well. If you find any leaks, then the damaged parts will have to be replaced. You want to make sure there is no hydraulic fluid or oil coming from anywhere.
Depending on the part of the hydraulic system that is damaged and your experience you might be able to replace it yourself, or you might have to get a shop to do it.
The good thing is about checking it yourself though is you save the labor cost on that and can tell the repair shop exactly what is wrong with it so your vehicle can get repaired faster and cheaper. If the hydraulic system appears fine though, then you will have to start looking at the clutch alignment.
3/ The Linkage is Out of Adjustment
The clutch alignment or linkage may not be right, and this can cause it to slip or not disengage all the way. This issue can be a little harder to check, but you want to look under the car again for this.
You will jack it up the same way as already described. To see if the alignment is right you will want to look at the pin and cotter pin on the clutch linkage and clutch pedal.
If these are loose or in the wrong position, then they will need to be adjusted. You also want to make sure that the adjusting nut is tight. If it isn’t than tighten it down.
Outside of those couple things, it is hard to do anything to the adjustment yourself unless you are experienced. If you are experienced, you can try to make sure the plate is in the right position, but if you are not skilled with cars than you should just take your vehicle to a mechanic and let them look at the clutch.
If you think you have a clutch alignment issue and have checked the other things, then just let a shop take care of it because you can cause more harm than good working on it yourself if you don’t know what you are doing.
4/ Incompatible Aftermarket Parts
The last issue of incompatible parts is also another common problem. This is especially true if you tried to upgrade something on your own and don’t have a lot of experience.
Sometimes, especially if you buy something online, it will say it is compatible, but really it isn’t. If you have recently redone your clutch system and then start having issues, then there is a good chance the part you used wasn’t the right size.
To fix this, you can take it to a mechanic and let them use the right parts or try to find a different part that is compatible. When upgrading or working on your clutch save all the material when installing something new in case it doesn’t work, and you need to return it and also try your best to get matching parts or buy somewhere that guarantees the compatibility of the new parts.
A clutch that won’t disengage is a major issue. It causes the clutch to wear out faster and can also lead to unsafe driving conditions. That is why if you have a clutch that is slipping or not disengaging it is important to check it out right away.
Now you know the four common causes of a clutch that won’t disengage, and that is a stretched or broken clutch cable, a hydraulic leak in the clutch system, an out of alignment linkage or incompatible aftermarket parts.
Most of these issues are easy to solve and now know how to diagnose each of them and know what to do about them to fix them. After reading this, you are well on your way to get your stuck clutch fixed and car driving safely again.