i have a manual 2001 subaru wagon. the clutch has been getting “softer”… i mean, i feel like i have to push the pedal all the way down to shift gears now… and i’m doing a disturbing amount of grinding. my mechanic (who has the car today) says it’s a hydraulic clutch and no repair is necessary. i like the guy, but i feel like he might be missing something. any ideas?
Either the fluid in the master cylinder has gone too low, the slave or master cylinder are leaking, or the master cylinder is faulty. It is a little early for a master cylinder on a 2001 but you have not specified the mileage on the Subaru.
The mechanic is correct in that the clutch cannot be “adjusted,” but if you are grinding gears the clutch is not disengaging fully, and some repair is required. I suspect a hydraulic fluid leak, either external or internal.
You should ALWAYS push the clutch pedal all the way down to shift gears.
“my mechanic (who has the car today) says it’s a hydraulic clutch and no repair is necessary.”
I suggest that you pose the following question to your mechanic:
Since the brakes are also operated hydraulically, can I assume that the brakes never need to be repaired?
Just as a brake master cylinder (or wheel cylinders, or calipers, etc) may need to be replaced if it is showing signs of failure, a clutch master cylinder or clutch slave cylinder may need replacement if it is failing. While it isn’t possible to adjust your hydraulic clutch mechanism, that doesn’t mean that it is not ready for repair.
I would suggest that you find a new mechanic who actually understands how the clutch (and the brakes) work.