The clutch cable is an essential part of your vehicle’s clutch system. The clutch is a device that engages and disengages the power transmission, and allows you to shift gears while you are driving. Manual transmission vehicles have a clutch pedal that you depress, which is connected to the clutch cable. Once you press down on the clutch pedal, the clutch cable frees the clutch plates, which allows the gears to shift.

Over time, the clutch cable can become stretched or broken which can cause the clutch to quit working properly. If the clutch pedal feels hard and resists being pressed down, the clutch pedal has gone bad. If you keep pressing the pedal, the cable is liable to break. If this happens, the clutch cable will need to be replaced by a professional mechanic as the pedal will not work until the cable is in good working condition again.

A stretched clutch cable can mimic signs of clutch problems. For example, the clutch will stop working altogether and the vehicle will not move when it is shifted into gear. This can be from a stretched or broken clutch cable. Another issue from a stretched clutch cable is the vehicle will slip out of gear. This means if you are in park, your vehicle may slip into drive and you start moving. Slipping can be hazardous because you never know when your vehicle is going to switch gears on you.

Leaks may happen if the clutch cable is broken or has become slightly detached. If the cable has become detached with no other damage, reattaching it will solve the problem. This should be done by a mechanic to ensure the cable is still in good working order.

Since the clutch cable can fail or break over time, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that indicate your clutch cable is stretching.

Signs that your clutch cable need to be replaced include:

  • Clutch pedal is hard to press
  • Clutch pedal may depress all the way to the floor and not return to its normal position
  • It is difficult to shift gears
  • Clutch pedal does not respond at all

If you recognize any of these symptoms above, you should consult a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle and repair your clutch cable if necessary.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Clutch Cable Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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