Causes of Clutch Failure: How Long Will a Noisy Clutch Release Bearing Last

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The clutch system is one of the hard-working components in a manual transmission car. The clutch system is always being engaged and disengaged by every time you change gear (increase and decrease), every time you start the car and when you stop. It is known that the friction which is being caused between the pressure plate, clutch disc and flywheel whenever the clutch engages produces heat and wear, and the more a driver matches the clutch pedal or releases it excessively, the hotter the clutch disc becomes and the faster it wears.

Causes of Clutch Failure:  How Long Will a Noisy Clutch Release Bearing Last

It’s very important for you to know that the clutch assembly has many components that wears down with more usage, and others which need to be maintained regularly. However, this can begin to show some sign of problems sooner or later, but it also depends on the model. Some of the basic components you will find are listed below:

  • A cable
  • Flywheel
  • Clutch fork
  • The clutch disc
  • Pressure plate
  • The release bearing (throw-out)
  • The release mechanism (mechanical or hydraulic)
  • Pilot bearing
  • Linkage

How Long Will a Noisy Clutch Release Bearing Last?

Most cases a  clutch can last for about 40,000 to 110,000 miles which depends on brand and model, but clutch lifespan is always affected by regular commercial city driving, regular pilling of objects that has weight and regularly putting of foot on the clutch while you drive. And sometime when the clutch fails, there is always difficulty in knowing the causes. However, once you pay closer attention to some symptom such as noisy sounds, the clutch performance, and how the clutch pedal behaves, it will assist in locating the root of the problem.

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How to tell if you need a new clutch?

Let’s look at the causes of clutch failure and their symptoms.

  • The clutch pedal pulsates

Anytime there is rotation of parts wobble or vibration inside the transmission, you might experience your clutch pedal pulsate. If these happens, then warped flywheel could be the issue or your release lever needs to be adjusted. Once the pulsation or vibration begins after you service your transmission, then it means your transmission housing is not perfectly aligned with your engine.

  • Your clutch pedal feels loose or spongy

Anytime you experience a loose or spongy clutch pedal, then examine if your release bearing or clutch fork is damaged. Sometimes you will see failure in the pressure plate in the mechanical unit. But in case you have a hydraulic clutch release mechanism, then check for the following:

Leaking pipe or hose

Master cylinder, piston seal leak

Air in the hydraulic system

Leaking connection

Master cylinder, center valve seal fault

Low fluid in the reservoir

  • Noisy clutch pedal when engaged/disengaged

In case you hear a noisy sound when you match the clutch pedal or release it, or sometimes both, especially whenever you put off your engine, then it means there is issues with clutch fork or the clutch release mechanism.

Your clutch fork happens to be a hydraulic or mechanical releasing device which assist in engaging and disengaging the clutch. Most times you will hear noisy sound because there is no lubrication which will make the mechanism to wear down. It is possible too for cable, connection or rod to scrape which also cause clunking or squeaking.

  • The clutch pedal being on the floor

Any clutch pedal that stays on the floor means there is a binding issue with release bearing or linkage. However, you can examine to ensure that the spring in the linkage is not too stretched, they might need to be adjusted. And also, examine the release bearing and ensure that pedal stop is in place.

  • A whirling or grinding noise in transmission while in neutral

In case you notice a whirling or grinding noisy sound in your vehicle whenever transmission is in neutral, but goes off when you match the clutch pedal, then that means it’s from a worn out input shaft bearing. So those are it on how to tell if you need a new clutch and symptoms of clutch plate problems.

Let now move on to what causes clutch release bearing to fail.


For some car owners, the clutch bearing is one item that is not always scheduled for maintenance. But the clutch thrust bearing can be worn out after some time, especially in an old car. Although this is because of the frequent contact with other parts and the exposure of cool/heat, damages to clutch thrust bearing seal or worn-out clutch lining dust that entered the thrust bearing through failure.

Note that other common causes of clutch release bearing to fail is if the clutch cable is not well adjusted over time, and the clutch bearing is in frequent contact with clutch pressure plate. However, this will always make it spin which will reduce the lifespan. Also, improper usage of clutch has the ability to reduce the lifespan of clutch components like the thrust bearing. Improper usage of clutch include the following:

  • When you skip gear from 1st to 3rd
  • Not starting your car with 1st gear
  • Moving several gears at the same time (4th to 1st)


 Many manual transmission cars today have hydraulic clutch circuits. Yet most have mechanical linkage, they also use rod and cables to control the clutch. This cars have frequent running bearings which spins when the engine runs and therefore should be adjusted to maintain preload after it’s installed. Note that the engine and transmission should be divided to replace the bearing. Normally, when the clutch disc is changed, the clutch release bearing should be changed as well.

Anytime you are driving, always listen to grinding or chirping sound as the clutch pedal is first depressed. Most time, this sound is a result of lubrication release bearing contacting the fingers of the pressure plate’s diaphragm. Also, these fingers also wears out which causes related noisy sounds.


What this does is that it applies force to the release levers or fingers. And in doing so, the release bearing disengages the clutch. However, the release bearing is made to operate with minimum friction between the rotating and stationary points of contact. So if noisy sound develops from the bell housing area, a few examinations should be conducted.

You can begin with a road test of the vehicle. Then listen carefully for noise with the transmission in gear and the clutch pedal to the floor. After which, release the clutch with the transmission in first gear. The noise under this condition will indicate a worn release bearing or a worn pilot bearing.

But to isolate the two, try and keep the clutch pedal on the floor and shift the transmission into neutral. In the noise persists, then the release bearing is bad. But if the noise is gone, then the pilot bearing is bad.

Please note that a bearing noise that occurs when releasing the clutch pedal to engage the clutch while in neutral, but goes away when the pedal is depressed is caused by a faulty transmission input shaft bearing.

 CLUTCH RELEASE BEARING REPLACEMENT (That is Clutch Release Bearing Cost)

Are you wondering how much clutch release bearing cost? Note that the replacement cost of a clutch release bearing will not be cheap. But for an average economy car, you should expect to pay around $800 to $1,200 for the clutch release bearing replacement, while labor costs will be from $350 to $700.

Did you notice that the labor costs are more expensive? This is because it will take the mechanic a long time to have access to the transmission and replace the old clutch release bearing with the new one. But in case you know how to do it yourself, then you could save over 50% of the total cost.

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