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My engine is slipping and I am not sure if it is related to my clutch

I’ve been driving my 96 Toyota Camrey for about 5 months now and it has 240k miles on it. For a while when I drive the car, especially on the highway, I can feel the car vibrate. I thought the air in the tires were low so I put more in and the car drove somewhat better. As time went by I started to feel it again, more so on the hightway. Now, about a week ago I drove off of the highway and stopped at a light. The car started to vibrate a little more than usual and then gave out. I knew that the car was low on oil so I thought this would be the main reason. I towed it to a shop where they put more oil in and tested the car to see why it stalled. They said they ran the car for 45 minutes and did not get any stalling but they did notice that the clutch was slippping and suggested I get it repaired asap. I drove the car home and noticed that it was still a bit shackey. They did suggest that I get an oil chage which I have yet to do. I few days later my car stalled again and this time I was able to start it back up. I was at a stop light in first gear when this happened. This makes me nervous because I do not want to have to tow my car to an autoshop again to have them tell me the same thing. The mechanics were mostly concerned with the clutch. They did not find anything wrong with the engine when they looked at it. Also, it has been very cold all of sudden do to this shady weather and that may have caused some difficulty with the engine. Is there any correlation between my clutch slipping and my engine giving out? Are the gears not in synch when I stop thus causing the car to die? I am not sure what is going on but I do have a feeling it is in relation to my clutch. As long as I am driving (except on the hightway) the car is fine but when I stop that is when I get the problems. The car has been low on oil for about a month or so and lately I’ve been getting a faint smell. If anyone has a clue please let me know!

From a distance, everyone will have to guess about the real cause of the problem, but you have provided us with a significant clue, namely, “The car has been low on oil for about a month or so”. If you have been in the habit of running this car with a low oil level, then we have to assume that other, more expensive maintenance issues on this car have been ignored.

I know that this is not what you want to hear, but until you bring the car up to date with maintenance–starting with an oil change–it will not be possible for anyone to accurately diagnose the stalling problem.

While the clutch is not the cause of the engine stalling, there are lots of maintenance-related issues that will cause this problem. If you attempt to “cherry-pick” things one part at a time to solve the stalling problem without first doing things like changing fluids, filters, spark plugs, and any other overdue maintenance items, you will wind up spending more in the long run and it will take far longer to diagnose the problem.

There is no substitute for adequate maintenance.

While I do agree with you about the adequate maintenance I would not say that I have completely ignored it. It was been a rough few months for most and I cannot afford to loose a car. The oil change will be done this week. I was informed of all of the maintenence that is required for the car. I made sure to have it all checked to find out what the probelm may be. They did not say anything was wrong with the engine and they were more fixaded with the clutch. That said, they did stress an oil change which I do agree must be done. Not sure if that could be causing the problem. The other issues are basic and can be fixed over time. I was not too concerned until the car stalled on me a second time and this time it as brutaly cold outside. It may be tired, my girlfriend and I tend to use this car alot more than the other due to her car having a cracked axel. Still, I was not sure if there was a correlation between the engine stalling and the clutch clipping. To be honost, I have not noticed the clutch slipping nor have I had much problems with anything in relation to this car. For the most part it has been reliable. Up until now it seems to be showing its age. The engine may just need new fuel but my knowledge on cars is not great. Any information could be helpful. Thank you.

I understand you are running on tight funds. First buy a couple of quarts of oil, enough oil to a least get the oil level midway up the dipstick. Don’t run the car low on oil. Add some today, don’t wait for the oil change. Or get the oil changed today. If you put this off you are dancing with fire.

As for the clutch. Put the car in 4th gear, rev the motor up to about 2,000 rpm and let out the clutch. If the motor stalls your clutch may be ok. If the motor does not stall, the clutch is slipping.

If the motor stalls, it is still possible that the clutch is not disengaging fully when you depress the clutch petal all the way in. If the clutch does not release completely it put some “drag” on the motor. Look at the tach with the car idleing in “neutral”. Then push in the clutch, put the car in 1st and look at the tach while the clutch is still pushed down. It should read the same RPM as in neutral.

If the clutch is bad and you continue to drive the car you’ll have a more expensive job ahead. If it is not disengaging fully then you are putting extra wear on your tranmission, especially the synchronisers. If is slipping you are going to damage the pressure plate and the extra heat may cause bearings to fail and the clutch could fly apart. A lot more parts to replace and a lot more expensive parts at that.

It is very possible that the stalling and the clutch are completely unrelated problems. If the clutch is dragging down your RPM at idle it could contribute to the car stalling.

If you cannot afford to “loose” a car, why in the world would you keep driving when it’s low on oil? That’s just baffling logic to me.

At least whatever is loose should be tightened!


Incidentally, lion, I agree with you, but I have just about given up on trying to figure out the logic used by many people nowadays.

There is no connection to a slipping clutch and the engine stalling. On the other hand, the clutch might not be releasing completely.