It’s important to check the clutch fluid level often to make sure it is full to ensure optimum performance and to safeguard your transmission from malfunctioning or serious damages that can lead to very costly and time consuming repairs.
Checking the clutch fluid level in your vehicle is easy to do, and if it’s low, you simply have to top it off with a certain type of brake fluid recommended by the manufacturer, either Dot 3 or 4, or hydraulic clutch fluid. You can determine what type you need as well as how much fluid you need to maintain optimum levels in the reservoir by consulting your vehicle manual.
If you experience any of these symptoms while driving, you most likely need to add clutch fluid to the appropriate reservoir under the hood:
- Vibration while shifting gears (indicates inefficient shifting)
- Gear slippage (indicates failure to engage the clutch)
- Sluggish gear shifts (makes shifting and driving very difficult)
- Vehicle lurching (which indicate erratic gear movements from insufficient lubrication)
- Loss of spring action in the clutch pedal (the clutch should engage and disengage very swiftly and smoothly)
- Gear grinding (which causes stress on the gears)
If you indicate any of these problems while driving, you should check the clutch fluid level immediately and take action to fill it up as soon as possible.
Read the simple steps below to help you locate the reservoir, determine how much fluid you need, and fill the clutch fluid reservoir under the hood of your vehicle.
Method 1 of 1: Locate, inspect, and fill the clutch fluid reservoir under the hood
- Dot 3 or Dot 4 brake fluid, or hydraulic clutch fluid recommended by your manufacturer
- Funnel (optional)
- Heavy duty gloves
Step 1: Park vehicle and open hood: Park your car in a well-lit workspace or garage, turn off the engine, and open the hood.
Step 2: Find the clutch fluid reservoir. It is usually located near the back of the engine, closer to the windshield, nearer the brake fluid reservoir.
It is most likely going to be smaller than the brake fluid reservoir and it should also be labeled.
If you aren’t sure what reservoir you’re looking at, check your vehicle manual.
- Tip: Use your vehicle manual to determine what type of brake fluid you should use to fill the clutch fluid reservoir: Dot 3, Dot 4, or hydraulic clutch fluid are the most common.
Step 3: Check fluid level. Once you locate the correct reservoir, check the fluid level. On the side of the reservoir there should be lines that indicate certain levels of fluid to help you determine whether or not the clutch fluid levels are low.
Some reservoirs require you to take the cap off before you can check the fluid levels, so determine which approach you need to take.
You should always maintain the highest level of clutch fluid that your vehicle manual states, but if the fluid level is only slightly below full, don’t worry - just fill it up all the way.
- Tip: While you’re under the hood checking the clutch fluid level, you might as well check the brake fluid level as well and top it off as necessary. If you have engine oil, engine coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and/or windshield wiper fluid handy, you might as well check those levels, too, and fill as necessary.
Step 4: Fill fluid. Take off the cap and fill the clutch fluid reservoir to the maximum level, indicated on the side of the reservoir, within the reservoir, or within the vehicle manual.
- Tip: Wear heavy-duty gloves to keep your hands clean while pouring the fluid. If necessary, use a funnel to prevent spillage. If you do spill, make sure to wipe any excess liquid off the engine parts. If you get any fluid on painted surfaces clean it off immediately.
Step 5: Replace and tighten the cap. Replace the cap and make sure it’s tightly secured to prevent splashing and fluid loss, and close the hood.
If you’d prefer a mechanic to take on the task of inspecting the clutch fluid in your vehicle to see whether it needs topping off or changing, call today to book an appointment with one of our mechanics. One of our certified mechanics will come to your home or office to service your car.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Add Clutch Fluid and was authored by Brent Minderler.