The shuddering noen

son has a 04 neon with manual tranny and 54,xxx miles in first gear as you start to release the clutch, about half way out the car gives a 3-4 shake shudder. This almost disappears when rolling forward, say like going down a slight hill…so, what do you think clutch, trans fluid?

Sounds like the clutch surface has been hot spotted, making it grabby. This condition is caused by ridding the clutch.

Also a clutch disc that has been contaminated with oil; broken or soft engine mounts; or broken antichatter springs (part of clutch disc) will cause a shudder.

It looks like a clutch replacement is in your future.

As the others have said, it sounds like you’ll need a clutch job soon.

The good news is that 54,xxx miles on a clutch for a new driver really isn’t that bad. He could probably improve the longevity with some technique refinements, however.