Manual transmission cars use clutch fluid to lubricate the clutch system. This makes it possible for the driver to change gears smoothly while driving. However, there are times when you are needed to check your clutch fluid and make changes. Each vehicle is slightly different, so always consult your manual before you tinker with your engine. That said, conventional wisdom identifies a few common practices and issues to watch for.
When to Change Clutch Fluid
Going by the book, the clutch fluid should only be changed when there is an issue with your clutch transmission. However, if you want to take good care of your car, you should change your clutch fluid at least once every two years. Ideally, you should change the fluid if you notice a reduction or dirt in the fluid. The only way to detect these changes is by carrying out regular clutch fluid checks. You should check your clutch fluid once every four months to see if it is dirty or reducing in volume. If you detect a change, have a mechanic look at it and provide professional advice.
How the Clutch Transmission System Works
Before you jump into changing your clutch fluid, you should first understand the role it plays in the clutch transmission system. A clutch transmission system is made up of two cylinders; the master cylinder and the slave cylinder. When you posh the pedal of your clutch the fluid is forced from the master cylinder into the slave cylinder. These actions apply a force to the throwout bearing which causes the clutch to disengage from the flywheel. As long as the clutch fluid is available, the transmission system works smoothly. In case the clutch fluid is contaminated or less than the required amount, you may experience problems when changing gears.
Reasons For Changing Your Clutch Transmission Fluid
Ideally, the clutch fluid should not be checked or changed as regularly as the brake fluid. As a matter of fact, there are many people who never bother to change their clutch fluid throughout the life of the car. This is because the clutch transmission is a closed system. There is no chance that the fluid may reduce except for a case where there is a leak. However, there are some cases where the clutch fluid should be checked and changed.
The first reason for changing your fluid is when there is contamination. Although most people do not notice, car fluids are prone to contamination. I noticed that my clutch fluid turns darker with time. If you want to monitor your transmission fluid, have a check at it every time you service your car. You will realize that it changes over time and may become too dirty. Once your transmission fluid gets too dirty for your liking, it is time to change it.
The second reason why you should consider changing your clutch fluid is if you have a leak. The master cylinder may develop a leak that may significantly reduce the fluid level in the system. If your clutch fluid levels keep on dropping, you need to either repair the entire system or replace the fluid regularly.
Symptoms Clutch fluid needs to be changed
Any wise car owner knows that servicing a car should be done before symptoms develop. However, there are those who will only visit a mechanic when they spot a problem. There are some symptoms you can look out for to notice when its time to change your clutch fluid.
The first sign that your master cylinder has a problem is usually low clutch fluid or dirty clutch fluid. Low and dirty clutch fluid symptoms often accompany each other. If you realize that the reservoir fluid levels are low, chances are that you have a leak. If the fluid levels fall due to a leak, you should expect the fluid to be dirty. Dirt is usually caused by seals inside the master cylinder breaking down.
The second symptom that may show that you need to change fluid is difficulty in shifting gears. The master cylinder is hydraulic in nature and can easily develop internal leaks. Internal leaks will cause clutch fluid displacement problems- which will affect the functionality of the entire clutch transmission system.
The last symptom you should look out for is abnormal clutch pedal behavior. If you have been driving your car for a while, you should know how the pedal feels. If there are any problems with the master cylinder, you will start feeling abnormal pressure within your pedals. This calls for a check at the master cylinder and possibly replacing the clutch fluid.