Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Rabbit's clutch is dying?

Hello! I own a 2006 VW Rabbit with a manual transmission. I stalled out yesterday and today sort of randomly, and after I stalled out today, the acceleration seemed to hesitate once while in first. Is my clutch going? Could it be something else? This is my first manual so I’m not really sure what I should be looking for when the clutch or trans goes. Thanks!!

To test your clutch; put the car in 4th or 5th gear. With your foot on the clutch fully depressed, rev the car up to about 3,000 rpm. Then let out the clutch. If the car stalls the clutch is OK. If your clutch petal goes all the way out and the car doesn’t stall, then the clutch is slipping.

From your symptoms, it seems the clutch is still OK, but the “test” above will confirm it.

A clutch can fail by slipping, for which UncleTurbo’s test is good. He filed to mention that you need to have your third foot on the brake. Does your parking brake hold extremely well? I do that test by doing what is called a heel-toe manuever, with my toe on the brake and heel on the gas. If the clutch is good, the car is going to lurch just a bit.

Clutches can also fail by not disengaging properly. Does the transmission go into gear easily from a stop?

The third possibility is that the internal springs in the clutch disc have failed. When that happens, it makes it much more difficult to get a smooth start. That could also be your problem.

Unless the stalling was happening when you tried to engage the clutch or when shifting gears, I’m inclined to think you have and engine problem rather than a clutch problem.

Can you be more specific as to exactly what conditions you;re stalling under?

Thank you for your suggestions and I will try to do a bit of investigation!

I stalled once on a highway, in traffic, going about 40 on a dry day. The other time was accelerating from a full stop on a slight incline on a dry day.

I noticed something new yesterday: it seems like I cannot go above 3000 rpm in 1st. :frowning: This could have been the hesitation that I noticed the day before. I’m also going to check this out further today.

A VW Rabbit should easily go beyond 3000 rpm in 1st. It might seem like it is screaming at that rpm but there is no rev limiter until you get up to around 7000 rpm. This sounds like a motor not running properly, not an issue with your clutch.

It seems to happen more when the engine is hotter or the car has just been sitting in the sun all day. It almost feels as though something isn’t communicating with something else, like there is a lag or something? I also noticed that the EPC light is sometimes on but not always.

Stop by autozone and have the ECU scanned for fault codes. Post them here.

That light is the computer telling you that something is not operating properly and it has some information to point you in the right direction to fix it. It won;t tell you exactly what to fix, but it’ll be a doggoned good start.

That sounds like an awesome place to start, thanks! The light was not on all day and it seems to be “fine” as long as I drive it gingerly. I will go to Autozone tomorrow and report back.

Ok, so Autozone was less than no help. He asked for my manual for my car and then told me that he wouldn’t be able to help me without it since he didn’t know what the EPC light meant. (I believe my manual was taken when my car was a few years back. And, don’t you think that I would have checked it if I had it? I’m a lady but c’mon!)

So I Googled the light and apparently it is the “drive by wire throttle system” in VW’s. There are a number of things that will need to be checked in order to see what is exactly the matter but others seem to experience the same sort of changed acceleration and, thankfully, seems like it shouldn’t cost too much.

Thanks for everyone’s help and I will write back when I have it finally figured out!