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How to replace a clutch

Peter Sitkowski | 18th Jan 2024 | 5 minutes to read

Replacing a clutch is a lengthy process and can take anywhere from 4-8 hours or labour, depending on the complexity of your vehicle and your experience.

For a lot of older cars, a clutch replacement might be a fairly simple task, but because of the complexity of modern vehicles, if you have a newer car and lack the expertise and tools to perform a clutch replacement safely by yourself, then your first port of call for a complex procedure like this should be to call an experienced mechanic to ensure the clutch is replaced properly.

In many instances, you’ll need to remove the subframe in order to perform the replacement and you’ll need a way to support the engine while it’s out, which will add to the challenge of removing the transmission and changing the clutch.

Having said that, replacing a clutch isn’t an impossible task to do on your own and, while time consuming, isn’t necessarily all that complicated if you know what you’re doing. Make sure to have your vehicle’s manual handy and ensure you are aware of the specifications for your vehicle’s clutch, as the procedure is different car to car.

In this article, we’ll give you a basic rundown of how to replace a clutch, as well as explaining some of the benefits of doing so:

  1. Benefits of Replacing Your Clutch
  2. Gathering Essential Tools and Materials
  3. Preparing the Workspace
  4. Draining Transmission Fluid (If Required)
  5. Removing the Driveshaft and Starter Motor
  6. Detaching the Transmission
  7. Replacing the Clutch Assembly
  8. Inspecting and Cleaning Components
  9. Installing the New Clutch Components
  10. Reassembling Components
  11. Refilling Transmission Fluid (If Applicable)
  12. Testing the Clutch
  13. Checking for Leaks and Final Inspection
  14. Clutches at Repco

Tools for the Job

  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • Jack stands
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Clutch alignment tool
  • Transmission jack
  • Replacement clutch kit

Benefits of Replacing Your Clutch

Replacing a worn-out clutch offers a number of benefits, including improved clutch engagement for a more pleasurable driving experience, reduced slipping so you don't lose power, and improved acceleration and responsiveness for your vehicle.

Not only will you see increased performance from a clutch replacement with smoother shifting and better fuel efficiency, but you’ll also have a safer driving experience for you and your family.

Gathering Essential Tools and Materials

Before initiating the clutch replacement process, gather necessary tools and materials. These include a wrench set, socket set, jack stands, a hydraulic jack, safety goggles, gloves, a clutch alignment tool, transmission jack (if available), and, most importantly, a replacement clutch kit specific to the vehicle's make and model.

Preparing the Workspace

Park the car on a level surface and engage the parking brake. Ensure sufficient space around the vehicle for manoeuvring and working comfortably. Raise the car using a hydraulic jack and support it securely on jack stands to provide ample working room underneath.

Draining Transmission Fluid (If Required)

Check the vehicle's manual to ascertain whether draining the transmission fluid is necessary before commencing the clutch replacement. If required, locate the transmission fluid drain plug, place a drain pan underneath, and carefully loosen the plug to drain the fluid.

Removing the Driveshaft and Starter Motor

Disconnect the driveshaft from the transmission, using appropriate tools to remove any retaining bolts or straps. Ensure the driveshaft is securely supported after detachment. Proceed to remove the starter motor, disconnecting wiring and bolts as needed.

Detaching the Transmission

Support the transmission using a transmission jack if available, to alleviate strain during removal. Loosen and remove the bolts securing the transmission to the engine block carefully. Lower the transmission gradually and remove it from the vehicle, taking care not to damage surrounding components.

Replacing the Clutch Assembly

With the transmission removed, access the clutch assembly. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the bolts securing the pressure plate to the flywheel. Take note of the alignment marks for reinstallation purposes. Carefully remove the pressure plate, clutch disc, and release bearing from the flywheel.

Inspecting and Cleaning Components

Thoroughly inspect the flywheel, clutch disc, pressure plate, and release bearing for signs of wear, damage, or hot spots. Clean the mating surfaces of the flywheel and pressure plate using an appropriate solvent to ensure a smooth fit for the new components.

Installing the New Clutch Components

Following the manufacturer's instructions provided with the replacement clutch kit, install the new clutch disc, pressure plate, and release bearing onto the flywheel. Ensure proper alignment using a clutch alignment tool to facilitate correct assembly.

Reassembling Components

Reattach the transmission to the engine block carefully, aligning it properly before securing it with bolts. Reinstall the starter motor, driveshaft, and any other components previously removed, ensuring all connections and bolts are tightened securely.

Refilling Transmission Fluid (If Applicable)

If transmission fluid was drained earlier, refill the transmission with the recommended fluid type and quantity, as specified in the vehicle manual, through the designated fill port.

Testing the Clutch

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands and start the engine. Engage the clutch pedal several times to ensure smooth operation. Test the gears to verify that the clutch engages and disengages correctly without any unusual noises or slippage.

Checking for Leaks and Final Inspection

Inspect the transmission and surrounding areas for any signs of leaks, ensuring all connections are tight and secure. Carefully examine the clutch operation, listening for abnormal sounds or vibrations that may indicate potential issues.

Clutches at Repco

Repco has you covered for driveline parts like fly wheels, centre bearings, and full clutch kits from industry leaders like Clutch Industries. If you need to do a full clutch replacement or require parts for a patch up job, then you can shop with us online or head into your nearest Repco to get advice from our staff about your clutch requirements.

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