Working Trucks Work Hard: Common Reasons for Clutch Failures
Every time you engage your clutch, you’re putting a lot of stress and strain on a variety of different parts which can cause friction damage over time. While trucks are made to withstand a variety of different pressures, there are still plenty of fail points that you need to consider. With the correct usage and careful maintenance, your trucks’ clutches will be working hard for years to come.
One of the most common reasons for clutch failure is resting your foot on the clutch while you’re driving. The term “riding the clutch” is popular for a good reason—because that’s what a lot of people do when they’re driving, even if it’s an unconscious action. This certainly isn’t necessary, and it can cause a great deal of wear and tear on the clutch and even cause slippage when you start to put weight on the clutch to make a shift.
When the disk portion of your clutch doesn’t rotate at the correct speed, your engine could accelerate rapidly causing additional slippage of the clutch. If you’re only seeing a little slippage, this could be caused by normal wear and tear and simply mean that your clutches need a little adjustment. This slippage could also cause popping between gears in an unexpected way when you’re driving.
If you’re new to driving a manual transmission and aren’t fully comfortable with when to make a gear shift, then you could be using the clutch at the wrong time which can cause a great deal of damage. Used vehicles or fleet vehicles often fall prey to this problem, when you have a number of “new” drivers who are using the trucks. This can be especially challenging for heavy duty vehicles where the gear ratios may be slightly different than you would expect to find on a passenger vehicle.
Clutch Noises to Watch For
Noise in your clutch is rarely a good sign. Clutches should work (relatively) noiselessly, so if it starts to make some odd sounds or you feel a hitch when you work your clutch, then it’s time to get it checked out. Sometimes a whirring or whining sound can mean that your bearing is getting weak and may fail soon, so having it checked out can give you the opportunity to simply have it adjusted instead of waiting until it fails and needs replacement which can cost even more.
Jerking Between Gears
Grabbing or dragging occurs when the clutch begins to vibrate, and the truck can feel as though it’s jerking instead of moving smoothly between gears. This can be caused by loose parts in the clutch, or when the clutch is not fully disengaged from the pressure plate.
Keeping your vehicle running smoothly is much easier when you understand some of the key problems that your heavy duty truck could encounter with a clutch—so you can talk to your drivers and (hopefully!) keep the problems from becoming more expensive than needed. When you’re having trouble with your clutch, come to Calgary’s premier heavy duty truck repair location: J & W Mechanical Fleet Services.