The clutch switch is normally located underneath the dash, and prevents you from starting the vehicle to start while it is in gear. The clutch switch is attached to the pedal linkage and is activated by the clutch pedal arm when the clutch is pushed down. This safety device was installed to prevent the driver from losing control of the vehicle. Over time, the clutch switch may go bad because it is being used every day, and due to normal wear and tear. There are a few things to watch out for that will give you signs the switch needs to be replaced.
1. Engine does not start
One of the biggest signs your clutch switch has failed is the vehicle will not turn on when you have the key in the ignition, and try to start your vehicle. Even if the clutch is pressed all the way to the floor, the vehicle is in park, and your car still will not turn on, it could be a faulty clutch switch. If this happens, the vehicle will be inoperable until you contact a professional mechanic to have your clutch switch replaced.
2. Vehicle starts without clutch pushed in
On the opposite side, if your vehicle starts without your clutch being pushed in, you have a bad clutch switch. This can be dangerous because when you start your vehicle, you have potential to lose control of it if it slips into gear without you being ready. For example, as soon as you start the vehicle it could move in a forward motion without any warning. This is a hazard to you and those around you so this should be taken care of right away.
3. Clutch switch works on a circuit
When the clutch is pressed in, the sensor is closed by a mechanical contact so the circuit can be complete between the ignition key and the starter motor. This allows the vehicle to start. When the clutch is not pressed down, the switch is open and the circuit is not complete, thereby the vehicle cannot be started.
If you engine does not start or it starts without the clutch pushed in, your car needs to be looked at as soon as possible. These are serious issues and may indicate a clutch switch problem and it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Clutch Switch and was authored by Valerie Johnston.