The Clutch Not Engaging After Replacement – What Is Happening?

It’s impossible to discuss power transmission without mentioning clutches. These devices take charge of the shaft rotation, ensuring your car runs smoothly without trouble!

Hence, any unusual signal regarding their functions and performances demands immediate inspections and fixes.

The best and quickest solution to failing clutches is to buy a new one.

As simple as it might sound, numerous customers report their clutch not engaging after replacement – a burning issue that Bryan’s Garage will delve further into in this insightful article.

An Overview Of Clutches

The Clutch Not Engaging After Replacement

What Is It?

First of all, what exactly are clutches? You can understand it as an automobile part that connects two rotating shafts (sometimes even more).

In the case of manual transmission cars, clutches control the link between engine shafts and wheel shafts.

These devices play an irreplaceable role in the vehicle’s working machinery. How so? 

After all, the engine always produces power and incorporates several constantly-spinning compartments; wheels, on the other hand, are not always spinning.

The clutch installment is a must to sustain harmony between the two, keeping lagging issues at bay.

Two major parts compose typical clutches: the flywheel and the plate.

How Does It Work?

When your foot doesn’t press on the pedals, a series of springs will help keep the pressure plate and clutch plate pushed against each other.

The clutch plate also sticks tight to the flywheels, connecting your engines to the shafts that transfer motion to the car wheels. Two turns are made simultaneously as a result.

To let the car change speed or come to full stops without shutting down the engine, your car needs to break the link between its engines and wheels temporarily.

Once your feet push on the pedal, you must hit the release fork, which tears the pressure and clutch plates apart.

This movement, as previously mentioned, cuts off the connections between your wheels and the rotating engines.

Now, the wheels will still keep spinning, but that happens thanks to their own momentums – not because of the engine’s power.

Such a streamlined design allows drivers to disengage their wheels and change gears, gaining total control over the car’s speed.

For more breakdowns of its mechanism, click here.

Why Is The Clutch Not Engaging After Replacement? How To Fix It

Why Is The Clutch Not Engaging After Replacement?

Why is my clutch not engaging? Well, clutches that refuse to engage are likely suffering from worn out pressure plates or friction discs.

Why is that? When drivers press their clutches, their feet counter the spring that pushes friction discs against the flywheels.

And if this pressure is insufficient – or the clearances between parts are excessive – your car will not receive enough friction to transfer power to and from the transmission.

The friction clutch discs get thinner as a result, and your springs become weaker after every usage, causing the clutches to start slipping.

This phenomenon often indicates oil leaks (or probably something else) that have contaminated friction surfaces.

Experts have listed several clutch not engaging fully symptoms. Scroll to see which one fits your case.

New clutch that NEVER engages at all:

  • Failed friction plates
  • Failed pressure diaphragm
  • Seized bearing
  • Seized slave cylinders
  • Bent lines
  • Binding in cable or linkage (because of corrosion)

New clutch that slips on heavy loads:

  • Overheated or warped flywheel/pressure plate
  • Leaked input shaft transmission seal
  • Leaked engine main rear seal
  • Weak diaphragm springs
  • Worn-out flywheel surface
  • Glazed surfaces
  • Friction plate’s tears and wear
  • Poorly aligned linkage or cable

So how to treat these clutch problems? Your best bet is, of course, to go straight to a repair shop and have them do everything for you.

But for seasoned (or even average) drivers who can fact-check our given list above by themselves, we suggest you buy replacements and install them at home to save expenses.

Suppose your pressure plate is the culprit, for instance. You can clean the plate or purchase new ones – which only take a few minutes! 


1. What Is The Force Needed to Make Clutches Engage? 

Basically, you are trying to pull the cranks out every time the clutch pedals are pressed.

Hence, it’s no surprise that the required force for such tasks is by no means small, especially when that pedal is squeaky.

An average clutch assembly requires at least 405 pounds of force to operate. On another note, modifying the diaphragm for aftermarket applications might boost this number to 700 pounds.

2. Is It Possible to Adjust My Clutch Engagement Points?


Pull the clutch cables, loosen their locknuts, and adjust the nuts slightly. Once done, push them up again. You can see that the clutch fork engagement point shifts a little bit.

3. What Are Other Clutch Failures After Clutch Replacement?

Under normal driving circumstances, most drivers press their clutch pedals almost every second. And when the vehicle still crawls forward despite the pedal pressing, they know problems have arisen! 

In some cases, only a part malfunctions, resulting in the clutches’ on-and-off working status. Other times, the change occurs gradually, with the clutches worsening after each use.

You might think that’s only an issue with old clutches, but no. Even those freshly replaced can still encounter the same dilemmas! 

Check out this list of possible causes:

Sudden Failures:

  • Discs contaminated with exotic material
  • Inappropriate fits of throwout bearings (arriving with pressure plates)
  • Wiring issue with the engine
  • Corroded cables (of batteries)
  • Loose or broken linkage
  • Loose or broken clutch cable

Gradual Failures

  • Broken transmission or motor mount
  • Low-performance hydraulic fluid
  • Failed slave or master cylinder
  • Bent linkages
  • Stretched cables


This detailed and well-researched article from Bryan’s Garage has analyzed and discussed all reasons behind the clutch not engaging after replacement.

Of course, the problem of clutch not fully engaging does not lie in your newly-purchased devices – but rather the misalignments between certain old parts of the vehicles.

Check them carefully according to our guides and troubleshoot these issues immediately!

Once everything is settled, get into your car and go for 5 to 15 minutes, checking whether your new clutches fit well with the current model.

Note how it sounds, operates, and runs; consult manufacturers and professionals if the car doesn’t run as smoothly as before (or even slower!)

Do you still have more questions or inquiries about the clutch not engaging? Bryan’s Garage support team and online community is available 24/7.

Please write to us for additional tips and support.

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