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Clutch Problems

Around July 09’ at 12,000 miles, I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on I-84 for about 2.5 hours. Around the 2 hr mark, I noticed a burning smell and a little bit of smoke and the clutch was acting up. Such as the rpm’s would rev but the car wouldn’t move, finally the car started moving and I was able to get home ok. I called the dealership and they seemed to be dismissive about it and I set an appointment to bring it in but ended not going because by then the car was acting fine and the dealership dismissiveness about the whole issue which I recognize was a bad judgment call. The car now has 17,000 miles and last Sunday I was driving home from upstate New York and while driving the car wouldn’t go into gear and the clutch pedal stay pressed all the way to the floor. I had to get off the highway and have the car towed to the VW dealership. The mechanic at the dealership says that if its operator error then they will not cover the costs but if they find it to be a manufacturer defect then the warranty will cover the cost. And the last I spoke to him he said he say a lot of clutch fibers or hair as he called it but still couldn’t say whether or was covered under warranty or not. I have been driving manuals for 13 years now and have never had an issue like this before. My sister owns a VW golf 2004 and hasn’t had an issue either. I don’t rest my foot on the clutch or exhibit other forms of driver’s abuse, I just don’t understand how the clutch having issues at 17,000 miles can be construed as wear and tear or driver abuse. I’ve done some research online and found other owners of rabbits to have similar clutch issues as myself at the same mileage or less so to me its apparent it is a manufacturer’s defect but how do I go about proving that? I’ve been reading a lot about the VW clutch failures as a results of the dual mass flywheel or oil filled clutches failing which is what my car is fitted with and how those failings can cause hotspots which can make it appear as driver abuse. What should my approach be if the dealer will not cover the cost? Also having the car repaired how do I ensure that I am not getting fitted with the same faulty stock of clutch and DMF? Can I request the dealership to install a OEM single mass flywheel rather than a DMF. Is there one that would be recommended for a 2.5L 5 cylinder engine? I have also heard debates about whether LUK vs Sachs provide better quality clutches. Which is a better quality clutch?

Thank you for your time and efforts.


I would like to help but there is just to much info to wade through.

Its a little like the instructions you are given when writing a resume,if there are issues that make the resume difficult to read,it is not read.

Work it over a bit,seperate the technical issues from the Dealership issues from the “with other cars issues” and the “what parts are better issues”

I agree with oldschool. You need to clarify your wording.
Here are some thoughts I have.

Check your warranty. The clutch disk and pressure plate are typically warrantied for 1 year or 12K miles. The Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF) is often warrantied for the same duration as the engine.

Telling the dealer or VW that you’ve read online about other Rabbit owners with clutch problems will mean nothing. It will be received similar to gossip.

Unless you’re willing to pay for parts and labor, I doubt the dealer will install a single mass solid flywheel for you. The dealer has to get that direction from VW.

If your clutch pedal stayed depressed to the floor and you couldn’t get the shifter into gear, it sounds like a clutch master or clutch slave cylinder problem.

I agree you’re in a tough situation. It’s understandable for the dealer and/or manufacturer to be non-committal with clutch issues. There are a fair amount of customers who do abuse their clutches. That makes it difficult for them to promise a warranty repair until they take it apart first.