Can You Still Experience Clutch Problems in an Automatic?

If you've ever driven a manual vehicle in the past, you know that you need to rely on the accurate use of the clutch. After all, you'll need to coordinate your left foot with your gear selection hand to choose the most appropriate ratio for the current road condition. So, if you have moved over to an automatic, you may think that your clutch-related problems are in the past, but this is not the case. What could go wrong now?

Understanding the Automatic Clutch

An automatic transmission system also has a clutch (or series of clutches), but they're all hidden away within the mechanism. The driver does not need to do anything of note for these individual components to work, and the system will change gears by itself using a combination of mechanical components and hydraulic pressure.

Relying on Sophisticated Engineering

Engineers have adjusted these clutch mechanisms so that they work perfectly in a range of given conditions. The driver doesn't have to worry about matching the engine revolutions to their gear selection or fret about changing a clutch pressure plate from time to time. As there is far less driver input, automatic transmission systems (and their inbuilt clutches) tend to last much longer, but they are not infallible. You may yet have to worry about a clutch replacement even though there is far less risk.

Slipping Clutch Issues

You will notice tell-tale signs when an automatic clutch starts to play up. The most important is clutch slip, where the noise the system is making does not correspond to the actual forward speed. You'll be used to the sound of your vehicle and know when things are working as they should. However, if the engine seems to be turning far quicker than the car is moving, the clutch discs are not engaging correctly.

Dealing with Transmission Lag

You may also notice that there is a significant delay from the time that you put your foot onto the throttle to the time that the vehicle moves forward. This is a slightly separate issue known as "lag", which can happen when you're moving from a standing start or expecting to shift into a higher gear.

Time for Action

So, if you suspect that your vehicle is slipping or lagging, it's time to call a mechanic. They may need to replace or adjust those internal clutches so you do not run into any further problems. 

For more information about transmission repairs, contact a local auto shop.