What is the clutch of the car?
The clutch is one of the most important parts of our car. Its role is to connect the flywheel with the crankshaft which rotates at different speeds, thus acting as a separator between the engine and the wheels.
In this way the engine can stay on and turn even when the car is stationary.
The clutch is in fact composed of a disc, a pressure plate and a pressure plate bearing. The disc is covered on both sides by a friction material. It is precisely this material that creates the unpleasant smell of burnt plastic every time we insert the clutch incorrectly. This burnt plastic smell is one of the 7 symptoms of burnt friction that you should always be aware of.
When we press the clutch pedal we are, in fact, lifting the pusher which no longer presses the clutch and therefore releases the movement of the engine from that of the wheels.
The temporary separation of the two discs allows a smoother gear change without "jerking".
Why does the clutch wear out?
Like all car components, the clutch is subject to wear and therefore must be replaced sooner or later. Unlike other parts, clutch wear is not so much due to mileage as to driving style and route.
City driving is much more tiring on the clutch than highway driving. This is because for the same number of kilometres you will use the clutch much more to keep changing gear.
Driving with your left foot on the clutch is the best way to wear out the clutch quickly. That's because the clutch will stay up very little compared to the discs, enough to rub against each other and cause premature wear.
It seems trivial, but the best way to avoid having to wonder how much it costs to change your car's clutch is your driving style. Learning how to shift gears properly without breaking the clutch and avoiding leaving your foot on the clutch will undoubtedly save you several hundred euros.
How much does it cost to change the clutch?
To understand how much it costs to change the clutch of the car you have to understand that changing the clutch is a long and complex job that requires knowledge of the mechanics of the car and experience. For this reason, if with some repairs you can indulge in DIY, clutch replacement is best done by professionals.
The cost of clutch replacement comes mainly from the mechanic's labor hours. This expense item usually costs twice as much as the component or kit.
The cost of a clutch kit for a small car is usually around 120 euros. However, it can reach much higher figures for larger models or high-end brands, costing up to 500 euros.
The working hours also depend on where you rely on. Be wary of those who offer labour at ridiculous prices, but also avoid those who appear to be jewellers rather than mechanics.
Normally the cost of the mechanic to change the clutch, given the many hours of work required, can vary from 150 euros to a maximum of 450 euros.
Given the complexity and importance of the clutch, we always advise you to trust an expert and avoid going to the first mechanic that comes along.
How often should I change the clutch of my car?
As explained before, the wear and tear of the car's clutch depends more on the driving style and type of road than on the mileage. We can be sure that sooner or later every driver will have to determine how much it costs to change the clutch of the car, but when is not easily determined.
Therefore, there is no set time period or maintenance interval that tells us when to change the clutch of the car. Several classic cars still have the original clutch fitted many decades ago, still in perfect condition.
So how do you know when to change your car's clutch? The best way is to watch for signs of a worn or burnt clutch, which inevitably indicates it's time to change the clutch. Here are the 7 symptoms of a burnt clutch:
- Clutch pedal is too soft
- Difficulty engaging reverse gear
- Slipping clutch
- The dry, unpleasant smell of burnt plastic
- Vibration of the clutch pedal
- Difficulty shifting gears
- The sound of metal rubbing
Is it better to replace the clutch or the whole clutch kit?
Once you know how much it costs to replace a car's clutch, many people are unsure whether it's worth replacing the whole clutch kit or just the clutch plate.
The theoretical answer would be "it depends", the practical answer "the whole kit".
Let's explain it better: it is true that it is enough to change the worn components to ensure the correct functioning of the clutch kit.
However, it is also true that once you get to the clutch, which is often an inaccessible part of the engine, you can change everything and avoid having to do the job all over again after a few years.
The main cost item when replacing the clutch is the mechanic's working hours. The clutch kit usually costs 100 euros more than the single disc but, compared to the hundreds of euros of labor, it certainly seems like a good investment.
How much does it cost to change the car's clutch yourself?
Once you've determined how much it costs to change the car clutch, many drivers immediately look for ways to save money and reduce the cost of clutch replacement. One such way that often comes to mind is to replace the clutch yourself in your garage.
Unlike other operations that, with the right mechanical expertise, can be done with just a few tools in a home garage, clutch replacement is a lengthy and complex operation. Just to get to the clutch requires several hours of work and a considerable amount of mechanical preparation. These man-hours are multiplied if the person doing the work does not have a garage equipped with all the different tools and instruments to operate quickly and comfortably.
Also, if you have no experience with other clutch changes, a beginner could do nothing but harm. In addition to wasting time, other parts of the car could be damaged if you make a mistake when reassembling the parts.
Therefore, our advice is to leave the DIY to a capable and honest mechanic who performs clutch changes professionally.