Why Is My Clutch Pedal Squeaking & How Do I Fix It?

Anyone that owns a car will tell you that, over time, they develop a couple of odd noises. Usually, it’s a rattling sound that’s very hard to pin down. Most people learn to tune these sounds out, but some noises shouldn’t be ignored. One of those is a squeak coming from your car’s clutch pedal.

While it’s not always a big issue, it’s definitely annoying and can point out an underlying problem with your car. Let’s take a closer look and figure out what’s causing this issue and what you can do about it. But first, let’s see how you can diagnose your clutch to make sure that it is the one causing the squeaking.

Diagnosing Your Clutch

There is a quick way to determine if the squeaking sound is coming from the clutch. More specifically, if you carry out the following steps without hearing any noise, you can know for sure that the clutch is not the issue.

  1. Start by turning on the ignition while checking if the handbrake is on. Then, put the car into neutral.
  2. Listen for a noise that’s similar to a growl while the engine is on but without pushing down the accelerator or clutch pedal. If you do hear one, you might be dealing with a problem with the transmission on the clutch. Make sure to take the vehicle to a mechanic and let them know about the sound. If you don’t hear any sounds, continue to the next step.
  3. Push down the clutch pedal partway without putting the car into gear, and watch out for any noises. If you hear a high-pitched sound as you do that, then your clutch is not working properly. This noise is usually associated with the throw-out bearings or the clutch release. If you don’t hear anything, proceed to the next step.
  4. Lastly, press the pedal all the way down. Like earlier, listen for any unusual sounds coming from your car. If it makes a squealing noise, then your car has an issue with the brushing or the pilot bearing.

If you hear any of the noises mentioned above, you should make a note describing how it sounds and when it happens. That allows you to replace the damaged part of the clutch, which is cheaper than replacing the whole mechanism.

What if There Is No Sound?

If you don’t hear any noise during these steps, you probably don’t have an issue with the clutch. But, you can still take your car to a garage and have a professional check it out and look for problems. Keep in mind that if you feel like the clutch is sticking, grabbing, or slipping at any point during driving, then perhaps the entire clutch has worn out, and you may need to replace it altogether. 

Possible Causes of Clutch Pedal Squeaking

A squeaky clutch pedal can be caused by dirt, age, contamination, friction, or a combination of those. Let’s check each of these possible causes and find out why your pedal is not working properly.

Age

Your car’s clutch pedal gets as much work as the accelerator and the brake. However, it is the only pedal that you fully release and press every single time. As a result, it is susceptible to wear and tear and may start to squeak over time.

Dirt

A car’s engine is not the cleanest place in the world, with grease and dust building up very quickly. Unfortunately, this dirt can stick to the pedal and prevent it from moving smoothly.

Contamination

Oil, dirt, and other contaminants can get onto the clutch disc or pressure plate, making the clutch pedal squeak when pressed and released. These two parts are found in your car’s clutch transmission, meaning that any contamination can have a negative impact on the car handling.

Damaged Throw-Out Bearing

The throw-out bearing is the part that contacts the pressure plate when releasing the clutch. It sits inside the transmission and can often get damaged due to age and constant friction. If that happens, you’ll have to replace the throw-out bearing before it damages other parts of the clutch mechanism.

Friction

As previously mentioned, the clutch is one of the most used parts of your car. That’s why sometimes, its components can shift slightly. While that won’t prevent the clutch from working properly, it can cause parts to rub against one another and squeak. More often than not, the clutch fork, which is a lever that gets pushed into the gearbox by the clutch, is what’s causing the sound.

How to Fix Clutch Pedal Squeaking

There are a couple of ways to reduce or even eliminate the clutch pedal squeak. Just remember that you should attempt them only if you know what you are doing; otherwise, you could damage your car.

1. Lubrication

An application of a good lubricant can be enough to make the clutch move smoothly again. While there are many types of grease to choose from, most people rely on WD-40. Car owners also reported excellent results when using lithium grease to lubricate the clutch. However, there are a few drawbacks that you need to be aware of.

For starters, lithium grease contains petroleum distillates, which can speed up rubber and plastic decay. Keep in mind that your car’s engine contains all sorts of rubber hoses and parts, so you need to make sure that you apply the grease only to the clutch. And remember to wash your hands before touching anything else.

Secondly, some grease products have a bad odor. In fact, some users reported that they had to leave the doors open for a couple of days to air out the car. Fortunately, a silicon-based lubricant will work nicely, as it doesn’t have any of these disadvantages.

How to Apply Lubricant

No matter which lubricant you choose, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is get the grease to the right spot. And since not every driver has an inspection pit nearby, getting to the clutch can be difficult. Depending on what part of the clutch is causing the squeak, spraying onto the pedal’s base can prove effective.

However, sometimes you’ll have to reach for the arm that moves the clutch as well as the clutch fork to get rid of the squeaking.To do that, you must get under the car while the engine is off. You can make this process easier by having a friend pres the clutch down when you are underneath.That should help you find the exact spot of the squeaking and apply grease to it.

2. Replacement

Replacing your entire clutch can be expensive and usually unnecessary. But, to get rid of the pedal squeaking, you might have to replace a few worn-out components, such as the throw-out bearing. This part is responsible for moving the flywheel when you press the pedal.

If that doesn’t make a difference, you may also need to get a new bushing bearing, which centers and supports the clutch disc. You can do that yourself if you know a thing or two about car maintenance. Just make sure to consult the manufacturer’s manual first. But if you don’t want to risk doing more damage, you can always have a professional handle the replacement.

3. Cleaning

Although this doesn’t happen often, the bell housing that surrounds the clutch’s transmission can get damaged and allow contaminants to get inside. In that case, you’ll have to get a professional to inspect and clean the transmission.

While you could attempt to do it yourself, it’s important to note that there are many vital components there. So, it’s always best to contact a local garage and let their mechanics handle the cleaning.

But if you are still not sure if you need to get it cleaned, you can inspect the bell housing yourself. Get under the car and look at the housing using a torch. If it looks relatively clean and undamaged, then it’s probably alright. If it’s very oily or cracked, send your car to a professional and have it checked as soon as possible.

4. Wait

As noted earlier, the squeaking sound can result from friction between multiple components. If that’s the case, you wait around for a few days as the parts might readjust themselves while driving. As a matter of fact, if the sound isn’t bothering you too much, you can just leave it alone and allow time to do its magic.

However, if it gets worse, or you notice any other problems, like slipping gears, then contact a mechanic.

The Bottom Line

Overall, a squeaky clutch pedal isn’t always a sign of a more serious problem; it’s just very annoying. Fortunately, more often than not, some lubrication will do wonders and help you quiet your car. And, if that’s not working, you can always get a replacement for your car’s worn parts.

Remember that this is only the case when it comes to squeaking. If your clutch is making a grinding or growling sound, then you might be dealing with a totally different issue, and you’ll have to get a professional inspection. So, never ignore any noises coming from your car, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you become overwhelmed by them.

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