What Is Clutch Slipping – The Ultimate Guide

Nov 17, 2020

Driver With Faulty Car

Clutch slipping is a term that is synonymous with faulty vehicles and used by many drivers for the wrong reasons. Clutch slips are usually due to common wear and tear, however if ignored and the problem persists, the clutch can be seriously expensive to replace. Our dedicated blog describes what clutch slipping is, how to diagnose the problem, and identifies everything else that you need to know in the event that it’s happening.

What Is Clutch Slipping?

Clutch slipping is essentially where a vehicle’s clutch is engaged but no power is being delivered to the wheels. This means that the vehicle will be in gear with a high rev count and be at a standstill; It can be particularly terrifying if you’re in traffic and cannot move the vehicle in any direction. Clutch slipping usually occurs in older vehicles due to the fact that the clutch is older and will have worn down due to frequent usage. If you find that your clutch is slipping more than usual, or at all, you should look at taking your car to the garage to have it inspected and potentially replaced.

How To Tell If Clutch Is Slipping?

Clutch slipping doesn’t always occur when your vehicle is at a standstill, in fact, it can happen frequently whilst driving normally. You may notice this when changing gear; where you put your foot down on the throttle, yet the vehicle doesn’t seem to be speeding up at it’s usual pace. This can be a sign that your vehicle’s clutch is on it’s way out; you should book into a garage as soon as you possibly can. 

Does Clutch Slipping Occur In Automatic Vehicles?

The short answer is yes. Like manual cars, automatic vehicles also use clutches just in a slightly different way. Whilst you’re not physically changing gear yourself, you may experience a similar feeling in that the car isn’t pulling as well as it normally would when accelerating. 


What Causes Your Clutch To Slip?

  • Worn Down Clutch Facings/Burnt Clutch Facing
    Clutch Facings Contaminated With Grease And Oil
    Clutch Pressure Plate Contaminated With Grease/ Overheated
    Worn Or Broken Spring Tips


The above issues are all caused by common wear and tear and are quite unavoidable, especially if the clutch hasn’t been replaced in a long time and the car has been on the road for a good while. If any part of the clutch is faulty or damaged, this can cause the clutch to slip.


Tips To Prevent Clutch Wear And Tear

Don’t Change Gear For The Sake Of It

As we all know, driving is exciting; especially on a clear summer day in the countryside with the whole road to yourself. Many drivers will test their vehicle’s limits by changing gears frequently with high rev counts and accelerate in lower gears. Whilst it’s all fun and games, this can cause some serious damage to your clutch and gearbox as you’re forcing the car to drive in an unethical way. If you want to try and prevent clutch wear and tear you should try and drive in a calmer/safer fashion.

Use The Brake When Stationary On A Hill As Opposed To Balancing The Clutch:

Using the clutch to balance the vehicle on a hill when stationary is a bad habit most driver’s are guilty of, however it turns out that it’s actually quite strenuous on the clutch. You should remember to use the brake or handbrake when you’re stationary on a hill as opposed to using the clutch.

Always Use Your First Gear When Starting The Car:

Another bad driving habit is starting the car off in the 2nd or 3rd gear. Although it may not seem it, this is incredibly strenuous on the vehicle’s clutch. The clutch isn’t being used in the correct way that it was designed, and as a result, will cause quicker wear and tear.

Give Yourself Plenty Of Time To Slow Down For Red Lights. (Wind Down The Gears):

It’s imperative that you give yourself plenty of time to slow down for red lights, not only for your own safety, but also to prevent unnecessary damage to the brakes and clutch. By braking harshly, you are placing unnecessary pressure on the vehicle’s braking and clutch system.


Don’t Park Your Car In Gear If You Want To Avoid Damage To Your Clutch:

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience your car roll down a hill due to a faulty handbrake, you may have started leaving your vehicle in gear whilst parking. Whilst this does slightly prevent your car from moving, it places unnecessary pressure on your clutch and gearbox. 

How Long Do Clutches Typically Last For?

Most clutches have been specifically designed to last for around 60,000 miles but you may find that others can last for over 100,000 miles. It all depends on the owner’s driving style and road conditions of where the vehicle has been. Aggressive driving in tough conditions can have a much harsher impact on the wear and tear of the clutch as opposed to a calmer driving style on safer roads. 

What Are The Signs Of A Faulty Clutch?

Common Clutch Slipping
– If you’re experiencing frequent clutch slipping, you most likely have a faulty clutch. 

Clutch JuddersClutch judder is where the vehicle shudders with a vibrating sensation when engaging or disengaging the clutch as it hits the biting point.

High Revving With Little Power – High revving with little power is usually  a symptom of clutch slipping. You should book your vehicle into a garage.

Burning Smells – If you start smelling funny burning smells from your car, it may be your clutch burning out. This may be because certain parts of the clutch are worn down and need replacing. 

Clunkiness – Difficulty getting into gear, clutch fully engaged yet still struggling to put it into gear.