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Clutch slipping in cold/dry weather. Does this necessarily mean clutch replacement?

Hey folks. So, I have an '03 Vibe GT, about 150K. It’s been a great car for me, but I’ve been having problems with the clutch slipping, mostly in cold weather. We’ve had some days where it’s warmed up a bit (40-50 degrees) and it doesn’t seem to happen, or it’s not nearly as bad. It also doesn’t slip too badly if it’s wet out, like rain, or even if it’s really foggy… enough moisture in the air seems to help. It only really happens in high gears. 1st, 2nd, 3rd gear it’s great. 4th slips a bit, 5th and 6th I can barely accelerate without slipping. But again, we had a warm, rainy night the other night, and I was able to floor the accelerator in 6th gear with no slipping. Does this necessarily mean I need to do a whole clutch replacement? Or is there something else going on here? Thanks!

A clotch is a wear item, like brake pads, you have had good service from yours and now it is time to replace it. Yours is acting exactly like a worn out clutch.

A clutch is too. :grin:
Seriously, you need a clutch job.

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I concur… You need a new clutch and likely a new pressure plate and flywheel, too, since its been slipping for a while. Do the slave cylinder, throwout and pilot bearings in there, too.

This won’t be cheap… BUT you got 150k out of the original, so not so bad.


I agree. Your clutch is worn out. Time for a replacement.

I don’t see it getting better by itself. Schedule the work at your earliest convenience. It might be drivable for some time, but you know the way things work in this world of ours, when it fails completely, you’ll be off to the side of the road with 18 wheelers buzzing past at 75 mph, and it’s going to be raining cats and dogs, and you’ll be wearing short pants and a t-shirt and have forgot your umbrella and your coat and your hat. And your cell phone.


You answered your own question, yes you need a new clutch.

Yes, or you could do just the disc and hope the pressure plate is OK. Get the whole clutch kit. It is a PITA doing the job once, let alone twice.

Not in my opinion seems like a classic worn clutch to me.

True! The parts don’t cost that much, it’s the labor that’s expensive.

The Vibe GT (AKA Matrix XRS) are notorious for weak clutches.
If this is the original you are way ahead of the game.

Yup - I agree. It’s foolish to replace just the clutch and not replace everything else. By far the biggest expense is labor. Many clutch assembly parts manufacturers won’t warranty the clutch assembly unless the flywheel is also machined (which I think is a good idea).


Why does the clutch slip more in cold/dry weather? Very likely because engines make the most power in cold/dry weather. In hot/humid conditions, the air density is lower and so engines make less power.