Although the majority of new cars today are equipped with an automatic transmission, there are still thousands of vehicles on the road that rely on a manual shift. You may have one of these cars, but you may not know too much about the mechanics involved and, in particular, the clutch assembly. What could be going wrong, therefore, if you are having some issues when trying to change gear?
As you know, you need to depress the clutch pedal in order to select the most appropriate gear for the road ahead. If you are smooth and consistent, then this can be relatively easy, but if your driving habits are less than ideal, it can put a lot of strain on the individual components.
Bearing at Work
When you depress the clutch pedal, it will move a circular disc known as the plate away from the engine flywheel. This will disengage the power from the gearbox and allow you to shift those gears with ease. Your clutch pedal is linked to a fork that is, in turn, matched to a bearing. This primary bearing moves backward and forward along the input shaft and is responsible for moving that clutch plate when needed.
Some people tend to keep their foot on the clutch pedal for extended periods of time. For example, they may rest their left foot and do not realise that they are partly engaging the mechanism when they do so. Others may fully depress the clutch pedal and keep it there while they wait for a traffic light to turn green. In each case, this will cause an excessive amount of wear and tear and will undoubtedly shorten the life of the bearing itself.
Symptoms of a Bad Bearing
You may notice a strange noise when you depress the clutch pedal. You may also notice a considerable amount of vibration at the same time. These are both signs of a bearing that has seen its better days. As things progress, you may find it difficult to engage a gear when needed, as the bearing has now deteriorated to such an extent that it is unable to release the clutch from the flywheel fully.
What to Do Next
If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you need to take the vehicle in for a clutch repair. The mechanic will replace the bearing and readjust the settings so that you can get back on your way once again.