Premature clutch issues can develop in all manual shift cars. While MINI has designed their sporty, versatile models to perform at their best, MINI Cooper owners can also experience clutch failure, depending on their driving habits and natural wear and tear. Let's talk about the function of the clutch, signs of breakdown, and where to go for help.
The clutch is known as an assembly, which means it has a variety of parts, including the clutch plate and the flywheel. The primary role of the clutch is to control the transfer of engine power to the wheels. This control allows gear changes to occur. The temporary disengagement of gears while shifting is essential when accelerating and driving up steep hills.
When the driver presses the clutch pedal, the pressure plate and the flywheel move apart. This disengages the engine's connection to the flywheel. This momentary severance of power is what allows for the gears to safely change. When the pedal is lifted, the pressure plate presses against the flywheel, which returns the connection and allows you to accelerate to a higher speed.
Signs of Clutch Failure
Clutch failure can manifest in a variety of symptoms such as:
- Gear slippage, which can be experienced through sudden engine revs or lacklustre acceleration.
- Reduction in gas mileage.
- Needing to apply more force to the pedal for clutch response.
- A clutch that is stiff or vibrates.
- Difficulty changing gears.
- A vibrating gearbox that can be heard when the clutch pedal is pressed.
Testing your Clutch
Clutch wear can be diagnosed by putting your MINI through the following tests:
Sit in your MINI and give your clutch pedal a gentle push. If this is very easy to do, then the clutch is likely worn.
Drive your MINI and accelerate in either 3rd or 4th gear. Should you be able to hear your car's engine revving, but your car does not accelerate, then you have a clear indication of a clutch issue.
Start your MINI up and very slowly apply the clutch and slip into third gear, then gently reduce pressure on your clutch. If your clutch is working correctly, then your car should stall. If this doesn't happen, then you're dealing with a clutch issue.
Repairing your Clutch
Unless you know what you're doing, you should never attempt clutch repair at home. Leaving the work to the experts will give you complete peace of mind as well as ensure all repairs are done correctly.
Practicing high maintenance standards can help prolong the lifespan of your clutch, which should be high on your list of priorities, since your car will not be driveable if it fails completely. If you want to make sure your MINI's clutch performs well for as long as possible, you should adhere to the following:
Stop Riding your clutch
Riding your clutch is a common bad habit drivers can develop. This occurs when your foot remains constantly resting on the clutch pedal. This little habit can cut the lifespan of your clutch dramatically even if you're not actively pressing the pedal, so you should train yourself to only put your foot on the clutch when needed.
Lower your revs
While tempting, when pulling away from a red light or idling, don't rev your engine more than necessary, as this will affect the lifespan of your clutch. Accelerate smoothly and your car will thank you!
Do not leave your car in gear
When parking your MINI, you should not use your clutch. Instead, you should put your car in neutral and use the handbrake to secure the vehicle in place.
Why Fast Lane European is the Best in Town
Fast Lane European of San Jose, CA should always be your first stop when it comes to problems with your MINI's clutch. We are your experts in imported European cars and can get to the heart of your MINI's problems quickly. Repairs will be done correctly the first time you bring your MINI into us and at competitive pricing for your benefit. Call us today or stop by to speak to one of our knowledgeable technicians.