Clutch & Differential Repairs

Clutch Repairs

The clutch allows us to smoothly engage a spinning engine to a non-spinning transmission by controlling the slippage between them. When your foot is off the pedal, the springs push the pressure plate against the clutch disc, which in turn presses against the flywheel. This locks the engine to the transmission input shaft, causing them to spin at the same speed.

Clutch problems can occur at almost any mileage and for a wide variety of reasons. When the clutch pedal is released and the clutch disc starts to rub against the flywheel and pressure plate, it generates friction and heat. No clutch will last forever. The facings on the clutch disc wear as the miles accumulate. When the clutch disc becomes worn, the reduction in thickness may reduce the clamping force exerted by the pressure plate.

When a clutch starts to slip, the slippage will be most noticeable when the engine is under load, as when lugging at low speed in a high gear, when driving up a hill, when accelerating to pass another vehicle or when towing a trailer. The more the clutch slips, the hotter it gets and the more it wears. This accelerates the problem even more and may result in additional damage to the flywheel and pressure plate.

Another cause of premature clutch failure is oil contamination from a leaky rear main crankshaft seal, transmission input shaft seal or engine oil leak. Oil on the clutch facings will cause them to slip and grab unevenly. The result is typically chattering and jerking when the clutch is first engaged, and slipping when the clutch is under load.

Oftentimes, an apparent clutch problem really isn't the clutch, but the clutch linkage or something else. Many late-model vehicles have a hydraulic clutch linkage. The internal piston seals on the master and slave cylinder can develop leaks that allow a loss of pressure when the clutch pedal is depressed. This may prevent the clutch from disengaging or allow it to engage prematurely (as when sitting at a stop light with the pedal all the way in). The pedal may also feel soft and have less than normal resistance.

Differential Repairs

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds.  Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes.  The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes.  The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears.  Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off.  The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time.  So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

Overextended differential fluid service intervals can:

  • Lead to gear oil breakdown.
  • Cause poor differential performance and noise.
  • Allow excessive wear and corrosion of gears.