Troubleshooting for Common Clutch Pedal Problems

The transmissions on all cars can be grouped into only two types — manuals and automatics. Generally speaking, manuals comprise fewer moving parts compared to autos. As they are less complicated, manuals are easier to work on but also less susceptible to problems. Therefore, manual transmission cars are the perfect choice for people who are looking to enjoy convenient transport without the trouble of higher car maintenance and repair costs. 

With that said, one component found on manual transmission cars that is lacking on automatics is a clutch pedal. On manual cars, the clutch pedal is one of the three foot pedals found near the floor below the steering wheel — the other two pedals are the accelerator/gas pedal and the brake pedal, which are also found on autos. 

When the clutch pedal is working properly, it should disengage the clutch when depressed. At this time, the transmission and the engine become separated, allowing for selection of gears. If the clutch pedal is bad, the motorist will encounter problems shifting into a new gear while they're on road.

Here is a look at some of the most common problems experienced with clutch pedals and what could be causing them:

  1. Clutch pedal feels "spongy" when depressed. In most situations, a "spongy" feel when depressing the clutch pedal is an indication that air is present in the transmission system. Normally, this comes about when the brake fluid reservoir level drops below that of the hose connecting the reservoir to the clutch master cylinder, causing brake fluid not to reach the master cylinder. Therefore, be sure to check the brake fluid level and add more fluid if need be. Thereafter, bleed the clutch to remove the air from the system. 
  2. Clutch pedal feels "hard" to depress. Your clutch pedal should neither feel "soft" nor "hard" when depressed. If your pedal requires more effort to push to the floor, it is likely that there is a bind in the pedal linkage or the driven plate is overly worn. To fix the problem, you will need to lube and free the binding in the linkage or replace the worn down driven plate.
  3. Pulsation through the clutch pedal. Strong vibration being felt through the clutch pedal could be due to a bad clutch disc, pressure plate, pilot bearing or release bearing. Clutch vibration is typically accompanied by noise as a secondary symptom. To remedy the problem, the clutch assembly will need to be disassembled and all faulty components replaced.

For the most part, several clutch problems arise due to poor car maintenance. For more information, contact a manual transmission repair professional for help.