As a BMW owner, you chose a brand of cars known for a smooth ride and high performance. To many, the popular BMW can do no wrong. BMWs are still prone to their share of problems and wear and tear over time. If you’re driving a manual transmission, one such problem you may encounter is clutch failure. Let’s dive into the purpose of the clutch, signs of clutch failure, causes of clutch failure, and where to go when you need clutch repair.
Purpose of the Clutch
The clutch is an integral feature in all manual vehicles that allows you to shift gears, engaging and disengaging as you shift to your desired gear. Otherwise, you’d be stuck driving in first gear, and your vehicle would move at a slow speed. Without using the clutch to change gears, the transmission would break down. With all the shifting back and forth, eventually the clutch can succumb to wear and tear.
Signs of Clutch Failure
Below is a list of common signs of clutch failure. Should you encounter any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your trusted BMW mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage and an undrivable vehicle:
- Soft or Spongy Clutch Pedal: One of the more obvious signs of clutch failure, you may press down on your clutch pedal to discover an abnormally soft or spongy feeling. You know how your clutch pedal feels normally. If your clutch pedal doesn’t feel right when you press down, chances are you’re dealing with clutch failure.
- Sticky or Stuck Pedal: If your clutch is sticky, it will create grinding noises and can keep your vehicle from going into gear. Your clutch pedal can even get stuck to the floor to the point you are unable to drive your vehicle at all.
- Slipping: If the transmission slips out of gear, this is a hallmark sign of clutch failure.
- Burning Smell: When the clutch slips, the transmission slipping causes friction that creates a burning smell.
- Trouble Shifting Gears: If you are having a hard time shifting gears, and your clutch doesn’t engage smoothly, you may be dealing with a faulty clutch. This tends to be most noticeable when putting the car in reverse and in first gear.
- Unusual Noises: You may encounter unusual noises when dealing with a failing clutch, caused by loose components hitting other parts or due to parts sticking together and pulling apart.
Causes of Clutch Failure
Let’s look at some common causes of clutch failure. While some clutches succumb to wear and tear, many causes of clutch failure are completely avoidable with conscious driving habits.
- Putting the car in gear at a stoplight. Avoid engaging your clutch pedal while the car is stopped. Put the gear in neutral.
- Changing gears slowly. Change gears quickly and don’t linger on the clutch pedal.
- Resting your hand on the gear lever. When you leave your hand on the gear lever, it puts pressure on the gear forks and rotating collar.
- Riding the clutch. Partially pressing down on the clutch pedal while driving, also known as “riding the clutch,” causes the gears to wear and tear prematurely. Avoid resting your foot on the clutch pedal while driving.
- Lugging the engine at low speeds. Putting extra pressure on your vehicle to accelerate while in a higher gear by lugging the engine at low speeds can lead to clutch failure.
- Launching your car. Launching your vehicle at high speeds can lead to abrupt clutch failure and even destroy your whole clutch system-and that’s a repair bill you don’t want.
Escondido German Auto Can Help
Without a properly working clutch, your vehicle is left undrivable, but if you’re dealing with clutch failure, do not fret. Escondido German Auto can help repair your clutch and have you back on the road safely in no time. We hire only the best certified mechanics in the industry and only use original factory parts guaranteed to optimize the longevity of your vehicle’s life. We also provide our customers with a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty on all repairs.
We proudly serve the Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, and Valley Center, CA communities and service Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche, Sprinter, and Volkswagen brands. Call us today to schedule your appointment!