Should I repair the clutch on old 1994 Ford Escort?



My car has low mileage 72,000 miles but is shifting stiffly. Cost of clutch is $750 according to mechanics–not sure if it includes labor. I would rather repair this and keep my NO car payment and lower insurance rates than buy new or new used car. What do people think?


Hmm… define “shifting stiffly”.

I’d say if the car is in otherwise good condition, go for it. You’re not going to find an equivelent car for $750. Plus, I’d add, the main problem with fords of this vintage was their automatic transmissions, so I’d have no trouble recommending you spend the money on this one and keep driving it.


that seems a bit high for a clutch. I thought $300-$400 is more reasonable. Get another estimate


I suggest that you get a second opinion. At your car’s mileage, your clutch may be good yet but needs adjustment or a little work on the master/slave cylinder if that is what yours has. If it indeed needs a new clutch, then shop around for that too; $750 seems on the high side. Do you have any kid relatives that could do this? A clutch disk and throwout bearing is typically all that is needed for a worn out clutch repair. Parts cost around $100. Clutches now typically are good for well over 100,000 miles. Some reach 200,000 miles.


You’re heater core should start to leak soon. All Fords don’t but it is a frequent failure. It will cost at least $400.00 to fix unless you do it yourself. If you love the car, save it. I recommend 140,000 as an Escort limit, so, even by my recommendation, you have a long way to go. There are lots of places that can change that clutch. I dislike the newer cars rocket science and the new government mandated electronic failure devices which are going to cost us a fortune. Who needs more cheap computers.


MAYBE the heater core will leak SOMEDAY, but that’s not the question.

I have a '93 Escort with 207K on it. The clutch is original, as is the heater. I did do a major brake job on it last month, but consider it worth the effort.

Keep the timing belt fresh, and keep on keeping on. It’s just good preventive maintenance. The '94 Escort has a 60,000 mile replacement interval on that belt. If it has not been changed, it should be at 72K. The timing belt drives the water pump, so consider doing it at the same time to save labor later. It is NOT an interference engine. The pistons won’t eat the valves. When it breaks all you’ll need is an expensive tow to the shop.

Definitely get a second (or third) opinion on that clutch. The only time I ever heard of a clutch being that expensive was when a friend was stranded in a small town in Colorado, and the dealer was the only option. It’s not rocket surgery. Any good independent shop can do it.


If it is shifting ‘stiffly’, but the clutch is not slipping, the problem is probably worn-out gear lube or a badly adjusted clutch. Both of these have cheap solutions that you may want to try first.

Just change the transmission lube. Most oil change places can do this, and it is cheap. I noticed a marked improvement in the shifter of my Toyota truck after a lube change. BTW, I did it myself for less than $10.

Also, make sure the clutch is adjusted correctly. A mis-adjusted clutch will not completely release, causing shifting problems as some engine torque is still being sent to the transmission. This can be sone quickly and easily.


Shifting stiffly, meaning I have to work the shift stick and I wonder is the transmission going out? The clutch? What is wrong? It isn’t that bad, but I asked about it, thinking a more likely solution would be new transmission lubricant and they came up with this clutch theory, but said it could last a long time. I am inclined to fix things and keep the old car, but people are saying that $750 sounds high. Good warning. Thanks for everyone’s opinions on this. I prefer shade tree mechanics to this computer-hooked up stuff nowadays.


I agree with you about old cars. I will look up this heater core thing. Thank you for that mileage estimate–I’m encouraged.


That could be nothing nor than a Chang of transmission fluid or a linkage adjustment and/or lube. Get a second opponion.