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1999 Hyundai Accent worth fixing the sloppy clutch?

Is it worth it to repair my “sloppy clutch” transmission issues, or should i look for a different used car? I’m completely broke, but if I have to pull a couple thousand together, I’ll do it somehow. I need a car.

First thing you should do is get an estimate for the repair. If that is all this vehicle needs now why buy something else that might need repair. Is it worth it , without seeing and driving your vehicle no one can answer that.

Thank you, VOLVO_V70,

Yes, that is wise advice. I’ve begun researching what it might cost me, but I am no mechanic, so a good mechanic’s estimate (one who is HONEST and realizes I’m poor,) will be what i have to rely on. Whether it will take a good used transmission from somewhere, or only replacement of a few main parts like clutch disc, or what-have-you, I get the feeling I’m still going to be looking at $1K and up. So, this otherwise wonderful Hyundai I’ve loved so much over the years, will still likely be a better bet to repair, than to go in search of an unknown used car.

What does “sloppy clutch” mean? Have you checked the fluid level in the clutch master cylinder ?

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“Sloppy clutch” is a term I picked up from an article here on cartalk. >>

No, I haven’t checked the fluid level there. I will. Thank you.

Yes, we need to know what the problem is first, so if it’s not an emergency take your time and diagnose it correctly before spending money on repairs.

Usually the end of a clutch’s life results in slipping. If it’s doing that, then it’s time to replace it, which you should be able to get done for under $1K. I would guess $700, but don’t know your car.

Only do it if you still like the car and it is otherwise holding together well. Otherwise find a newer car you like and spend your money there.

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Thank you, Hirnbeiss,

I know little about transmissions, so as to whether only a few parts of this transmission or the entire thing would be required, that will have to be estimated by a good and honest mechanic. I need to get it towed to whoever is going to fix it, because I dare not drive it.

Putting the clutch all the way to the floor, I am unable to push the stick into any of the gears unless I get lucky, and force and fidget and fudge it into place, and then, as soon as I need the brake, applying it will cause the engine to die.

I’ll bet your cost estimate turns out to be about right.

Thanks for your reply.

The clutch is dragging, won’t disengage. Check the clutch fluid reservoir, it is probably empty. I don’t think you need any transmission work, only clutch repairs.

To me it sounds like you’re experiencing the opposite of what the article described, in that your clutch isn’t releasing at all - you press the pedal but the clutch stays engaged which is why you can’t put it into gear. That’s often indicative that the master or slave cylinder has failed – I usually recommend replacing them both, because if one dies, the other most likely isn’t far behind.

The good news is that if your slave cylinder is external to the transmission housing (the master cylinder always is) it’ll be a lot cheaper than replacing the whole clutch.

If, however, your slave is internal, I recommend replacing the clutch, because they’re in there anyway so you might as well put the new part in there so you don’t have to pay them to go back in there when the clutch does wear out.

That sounds like the clutch is not disengaging. As someone already suggested, I would suspect the master or slave cylinder. At this age, I would just replace both since the parts aren’t too expensive.

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That’s good to hear, Nevada_545!

I hope that’s all it is. I’ll be having AAA help me tow it to a favorite mechanic, and I suspect he may tell me similar to what you’re telling me here.

It would be awesome if I’m only looking at a fraction of the cost of a complete transmission job.

Thanks, shadowfax,
You know what you’re talking about; I can tell, but it’s all Greek to me. I sort of get what you’re saying; my mechanic will give me the truth about my options, I have faith in him. Likely he’ll try to explain to me what you’re saying, so it’s good to have these strange terms in mind anyway.

Just in case he doesn’t, the basics:

The master cylinder is under your hood. It has hydraulic fluid in it. When you press on the clutch, it moves a part inside the master cylinder that pushes that fluid down a tube to the slave cylinder, which is at your clutch (which is between your engine and transmission).

The slave cylinder pushes on a part called a fork that pulls the clutch apart so that the engine isn’t connected to the transmission anymore. That lets you put the car in gear. When you let up on the clutch, the pressure leaves the slave cylinder and that makes the clutch come together again which connects your engine and transmission and makes the car go.

When a cylinder fails, the whole system can’t build up the pressure necessary to press on that fork and pull the clutch apart. Either cylinder failing can cause this symptom, but if one fails, the other isn’t usually long behind it, so it’s a good idea to tackle both at once.

Your mechanic will find something to replace, he can’t make much money by just adding fluid. With my personal vehicles if a clutch master got low I would just refill it a wait to see how many years it takes to get low again.

What a fantastic lesson in how my transmission works. You clarified the system so I could understand it much better. Thank you.

I’ll be getting it estimated in the morning. We shall see.

I like Nevada_545’s warning, but since I really don’t even know where to look under my hood nor have much in the way of tools to do my own work, I trust this mechanic to keep the cost low and guarantee the work.

I suppose I could look at where my clutch fluid reservoir is, and just go get fluid and fill it, but all the other wear and tear I must have subjected the gearbox to, should be examined, I think.

Thank you everyone. I may post an update after I learn what I learn from my mechanic.

Just to clarify, the clutch isn’t usually considered a part of the transmission. It’s a mechanical gadget that is situated in-between the transmission and the engine, and hydraulic controls which link to the clutch pedal. To service or replace some clutch parts requires removing the transmission. Clutch problems are usually either hydraulic (e.g. clutch master cylinder) or mechanical (e.g. clutch disc) , and almost all are caused by normal wear w/use. Needing a clutch repair or replacement on a 99 Accent isn’t at all unexpected. Good ideas above to focus on first what the problem is. A clutch master cylinder job is going to cost about $150 for the part and an hour labor. (There’s a new version of this part to correct a problem in the original, so make sure you get the post 9.2003 version if that’s what you need.) If the mechanical part needs replacing, the labor is around 3.5 hours to remove and replace the transmission. I’d guess another 1-1.5 hours labor to deal with the replacing the clutch parts, and maybe $400-450 for the new parts set. So all in all, not so bad. If the rest of the car remains in good shape, just a normal expenditure. The new clutch should last at least as long as the original…

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There is no reason to disassemble the transmission for a clutch repair, that would be costly. Your mechanic might perform a drain and refill of the fluid but that is just maintenance.

To clarify my comment “he will find something to replace”, if fluid has been lost and there is a damp spot on any of the hydraulic parts, those parts will need to be replaced, your mechanic can’t afford to have your car towed in a month from now and possibly getting stuck with the tow bill. If the parts get replaced you won’t know if it takes a month or 5 years for the fluid to leak out.

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Great information! George_San_Jose,

I’ll go over this with the mechanic in the morning.