44000miles clutch SMELL ONLY suddenly Been driving mt yrs

Car shifts great. NO slips, grabs, grinds.

Dealer head mechanic drove car. He agreed car drove perfectly. Been driving mt for DECADES. Never had bad clutch. What’s up?

SMELL STRONG. Began 2 weeks ago NO LEAK. FLUID FINE. No plastic bags Put on lift at local mechanic. Did buy with 2000 miles on it. Could idiot driver have caused issue that only shows up now???

Is it the clutch that’s smelling??? A clutch that’s slipping has a pretty distinctive smell. Doesn’t smell like a plastic bag or a gear oil.

Like I said NO slipping.
You are right clutches are distinctive. Three other mechanics (three different shops) and I felt CLUTCH - not brake - smell.
I said no plastic bags as a slight joke because someone thought that was a major cause of smells when the clutch works GOOD. Just wanted to reduce that kinda response.

A burning clutch smells EXACTLY like burning BRAKES…Either way, you will soon know FOR SURE what it is…

Do hybrids have clutches? I thought they had electric motors in place of a clutch/transmission…

A hybrid can have(and this one has) a manual tranmission. There are many types od hybrids. Their engines and whether they are manual or automatic are not related.

Didn’t really think this board would work.

Thanks anyway. Of course I will know everything or not eventually.

Like I said three mechanics and I differenciated the smell and strongly felt CLUTCH, not brakes.
Yes, clutches, plastic bage and brakes all smell different.
It would have been good if someone would get the point that there is NO shifting problems -even in the slightest - and radical smell. That was the query.

That’s what I wondered; why the smell if the clutch is not slipping?

If you’re just noticing the smell now, it was not caused by something in the car’s first 2,000 miles.

“Could idiot driver have caused issue” leads me to suspect you recently purchased this used. Yes, a previous owner with poor technique could have repeatedly overheated the clutch and left the flywheel surface, pressure plate, and/or clutch plate surface with a glazing that will be a constant problem until your next clutch change. Normallly I’d expect this to exhibit erratic engagement and/or some slippage also.

If my assumption that you bought this used is incorrect, disregard my post…

Even if the car was not purchased as a used car, if the car was ever left in the “care” of a parking attendant, then it could well have been abused.

In addition to the possibility of a parking attendant who is not skilled with the use of a clutch, there are also some of these kids who really beat the hell out of customers’ cars. Idiot drivers can be found in many places, but unfortunately there seem to be a lot of them working as parking attendants.

That is why I will do almost anything to avoid putting my car into an attended lot, including walking 1/4 of a mile or more to an area where I can park it myself and lock it.

I agree. I sismply do not do valet parking. Ever. I’d rather take a long walk or park outside the city and take the train in. Or park a mile away and take a cab.

The clutch has a limited number of “smell cycles” before the clutch friction material and the backing plate come apart…In order for you to smell the clutch, it has to be slipping badly right now, not at some time in the past…Most people can tell when the clutch is slipping…

Thanks Paradise, MtBike, VCD, Caddyman. No incrediable or not - NO slippage. Bought 4 years ago - I have a truck too which I drive a lot - so only 10000 a yr on Hybrid.
Had 2000 miles on itwhen purchased 4 years ago. And YES, I did let my son, who isn’t irresponsible, just uncoordinated, drive the hybrid for a month while he was buying a new car - THREE YEARS ago.
#1 I have moved to Western NC in the last 6 months… I live fairly flat - but have a moderately steep straight shot driveway. I shift like always. Foot rests on floor between shifts - basically quick and smooth - but that backing down the driveway…maybe I should be in NEUTRAL? It would stall out on the hill if I took my foot off the clutch in REVERSE.
Soooooo - maybe some previous wear on the flywheel, pressure plate, clutch plate is finally evidencing itself with this added stress?
#2 I think I understand no one changes JUST SOME of these parts - it’s all or nothing - right?
Thanks again

I have replaced several clutch disc’s and throw-out bearings ONLY when the other parts looked okay…The consensus here seems to be your clutch is NOT slipping. Look someplace else for the smell, don’t tear your car apart chasing ghosts…

I going in a different direction. I don’t see how a clutch that isn’t slipping at all can smell. Have you tryed the clutch test? Put the car in 4th or 5th gear give it some throttle and let out the clutch. If the clutch holds enough to stall the motor, it is OK and not slipping. If the motor doesn’t stall out then the clutch is slipping.

Assuming the clutch test stalls the motor then I would suspect a problem in the electric motor. An electric motor burning out can give off a strong smell. Since the Honda system uses the electric motor to assist the gas engine the electric motor could fail and the car would still be drivable.

I’m not sure where the electric motor is located on the Civic hybrid but I believe it is incorporated somewhere in the vicinity of the transaxle and clutch. Therefore the smell would be coming from the same area of the car whether it is the clutch or the electric motor. Have the electric motor checked out before you tear apart the clutch.

I don’t think there is a separate electric motor in a Honda hybrid. Isn’t the flywheel of the gas engine constructed as the center of an electric motor (commutator?), so it generates power when it is spinning but can be boosted with electricity when needed? Is it possible that the booster function is operating when it’s not needed, overpowering the clutch in some modes?

Anyway, I had a period of time when the transmission oil of my 2002 Mazda Miata 6 speed smelled up the car something awful. I though it was leaking, but a thorough inspection underneath showed nothing. I finally took off the shifter cover and so forth to look at the top of the transmission, and I found that the plate that held down the shifter mechanism was very loose and the smell of hot transmission oil was coming up into the car. So there was nothing wrong with the transmission, just a loose cover. The lesson is that there are smells that come from operating machinery that are normal, but usually sealed away from the operator. I’d look very carefully all around the engine compartment for loose covers and plates and see if you can find something literally falling apart, allowing these sorts of smells to escape.

Thanks again Caddyman and Uncle T. I’m just goofing around cooking Indian Pudding and leaving computer on. YES! I like the motor idea - although I have an average of 48mpg over the last 2500 miles going up to and down from the Blue Ridge Parkway a lot. I hike a lot. Don’t know how/or if a motor problem would effect mileage. You would think it would.
YES YES - I HAVE tried the 4th 5th gear test. ANNNNNNDDDDDDD the mechanic at Honda did it too. NO NO NO slippage. YET of course all they could say after all this was "Smells like clutch - here’s what it costs to replace it"
That’s why I’m on this board.
This all makes no sense to me.
RADICAL “clutch” smell - THREE mechanics say so - and NO clutch problems!!!
That’s why I like motor idea.
Happy Thanksgiving

AlthoughI read all this when I first bought the car, I forget what I don’t do:

In 2003, Honda introduced its second generation HEV, the five passenger Honda Civic Hybrid.

Both Honda models are parallel hybrid configurations ? in other words, the wheels are powered by both the internal combustion engine and an electric motor. These two Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) systems feature a smaller-than-normal gasoline engine and a thin, pancake-type electric motor/generator located between the engine and transmission. Their fuel-thrifty internal combustion engines ? a 1.0-liter three-cylinder in the Insight and a 1.3-liter four-cylinder in the Civic ? provide all the power needed for most driving situations. When additional power is needed, such as when passing or climbing grades, the integrated electric motor/generator performs in ways similar to a supercharger, seamlessly kicking in to supply added power. The motor/generator also functions as a high-speed starter and as a generator for battery charging during regenerative braking.

Now do a more comprehensive test. Go to a freeway on-ramp, start off at about 10 mph and put it in 3rd. Then floor the go fast pedal until the car redlines. If the clutch slips, you’ll know it.

The 5th gear clutch dump test only tells you if your clutch hold is strong enough for you to drive across the parking lot. It would not let you know if the clutch can handle the engine’s peak torque.