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When to replace the clutch

Hello all,I just rolled over to 90,000 miles on my 2002 Accord. Its running beautifully, however every so often the car “rumbles” or “shudders” when I’m releasing the clutch after I shift into second gear, or sometimes it’ll do it when I’m facing up a hill pulling into first gear letting out the clutch. Its almost as if the clutch rapidly grabs then slips a bunch of times, similar to if it was warped. It doesn’t completely slip at all to my knowledge. The car was bought new by my family and has been driven pretty carefully since (although 2 people have learned to drive stick on it, and my dad isn’t the most “gentle” driver in the universe).

I know that Clutch rebuilding and replacing is a big expensive job and its something I wouldn’t even consider doing myself. So, when is it time to really seriously consider dropping down the serious cash to get the clutch rebuilt? To be honest, the shuddering is really annoying (it doesn’t happen all the time though) but its something I could live with for a bit. Any thoughts or opinions are really appreciated!


I think you should match revs better going into 2nd. Sometimes a worn clutch will chatter when you are starting from a stop, especially on a hill. If it is annoying and you can’t work around it, you may want to replace the clutch.

Replace the clutch when you notice it start to slip. This will usually be when you are in top gear and applying more power the rpms will rise and the car will not be increasing speed in conjunction with the rpms. Then its new clutch time. I am still working on the first clutch on a 98 Civic with 150K… If you drive a manual properly this really isnt uncommon mileage for one clutch.

Sounds good. I know that clutches last quite some time, but I know it varies from car to car so I’m not sure what to expect in mine. But so far there are no signs of slipping, its just from a stop into first and/or first into second.

That chatter you’re feeling is the flywheel/pressure plate isn’t flat anymore. kind of akin to the feeling you get with warped brake rotors. So when you get that clutch done, make sure the flywheel’s surfaced. And we don’t rebuild them anymore, we just get a clutch kit from parts store.

You can make just about any clutch “chatter” even when all is fine with the clutch. Perhaps you need to slip the clutch more on some of your starts and when going into 2nd gear.

A worn clutch with a warped clutch plate or flywheel will chatter almost all the time. The chatter will be more like a shake that is obvious to the driver and can only be avoided with very careful driving. If this is what you are experiencing then your clutch might need work now.

If you get this chatter about once a day or less then you clutch might be normal and just doing its job. I have an '03 Civic with a manual trans and I get a chatter every now and again and I know it is because I dumped the clutch a bit too hard on that shift - not the clutch, just a clumsy me.

Hmmmm, That’s interesting. The chatter I feel is pretty darn obvious, it shakes (more like rumble) the entire car. Now it’ll happen every so often as I drive and I can avoid it if I want, but that requires me to be extremely careful with my clutching. The first time I noticed it, it happened every single time, but then it stopped and went away for the longest time (could just be the way I was driving perhaps?) and here it is again. Its just very difficult to explain the circumstances when it happens. Its very possible that its just me being clumsy. I was never considered elegant!

It seems you may need a new clutch. Also, there are mounts for the motor and transmission that could be bad. I think you need a local mechanic to check this out for you.

If you have to drive carefully to avoid the chatter and vibration that sounds like a problem to me.

I agree. It comes and goes… I had my timing belt done at a local mechanic that I trust and they told me then (about a year ago) one of my motor mounts was going bad. I just know enough about cars to get by. I was hoping deep down inside though that I wouldn’t need a new clutch though. Thank you for your input!