Failed clutch pedal to the floor – looking for causes and ways to solve the problem
The clutch is the weakest link in the transmission, so it quite often fails. In particular, car owners are often faced with a situation where the clutch pedal does not return to its original position after pressing. Therefore, we propose to get acquainted with all possible causes of such malfunction and ways to fix it.
1 Looking for the reason – starting from a simple variant of failure
If the clutch pedal fell to the floor, we start searching for the cause of the failure on the principle of “from simple to complex”, as in most cases, the breakdown is not serious. Inspect the clutch pedal itself. Causes of the breakdown may be as follows:
- burst or popped the return spring – in this case you need to install the spring in place or try to at least temporarily connect it to pull to the nearest auto store or service station;
- Problem with pedal axle – with time it could get rusted or debris could get into it, and as a result the pedal is jammed;
- Breakage of cable connection with pedal – you need to fix cable on pedal. Some models of cars do not have a cable, so you need to pay attention to the rods, which could unplug. If you find this fault, you need to connect the disconnected rods and cotter pins.
If the pedal is okay and the actuators on the passenger side are intact, you should open the hood and inspect the actuator from the outside. Often the cable just comes off the clutch fork. This problem is especially common on VAZ 2110, Renault Logan, Renault Sandero, etc. At such a breakdown, you need to install the cable in place and fix it securely.
In some cases, the cable will get stuck in the casing, as over time dirt can get into it. In this situation, the pedal does not return back even forcibly. To solve this problem, if you do not have a spare cable at hand, you need to put grease in the casing, having previously removed the cable. Then put the cable back in place and slowly use the clutch pedal to loosen it from the “dead point”. When the pedal returns to its original position, press it several times to ensure the cable is completely enveloped in grease.
If the cable is jammed in the shroud, you can inject WD-40 beforehand. The product will leak all over the cable and ensure that it slides normally.
A more serious problem is a broken cable. In this case, you won’t be able to make repairs on the road without a new cable. Therefore, you will have to either pull to the nearest store on your own without a clutch, or get a tow.
2 Problems with hydraulic actuator
Domestic cars VAZ 2105-2107, as well as some foreign cars, for example, Audi A4 and Ford Focus, clutch drive is hydraulic. It has a master and slave cylinder, as well as a pipeline through which the fluid flows. The operating principle of such a system is as follows: the clutch pedal is connected to the rod of the master cylinder, which drives the cylinder piston.
When the clutch pedal is pressed, the piston squeezes the fluid, which drives the operating cylinder, which in turn moves the rod connected to the fork. However, some models, for example Ford Focus, have no fork. Therefore, the rod is connected directly to the clutch bearing. This somewhat complicates the repair, since it will not be possible to dismantle the working cylinder in road conditions.
Regardless of the type of hydraulic actuator design, if the pedal does not return to its place, it is quite possible that the system has become clogged or depressurized. In such a situation, first of all open the hood and check the fluid level in the tank. If necessary, the fluid must be refilled.
If the fluid quickly flows out of the tank, it means that there was a depressurization of the system. To find out where the leak is, you can only inspect the system visually. If the fluid is leaking at connections, they need to be tightened. If the fluid is leaking from under the rod, it is necessary to repair the master cylinder.
To do this, the cylinder must be dismantled. Depending on the model it can be mounted either on the cabin side (under the pedal) or under the hood. Then the cylinder needs to be disassembled and the collars, seals and other wearing parts need to be replaced. There are special repair kits in auto stores that contain all the necessary parts to be replaced. Of course, you can’t make such repairs on the road.
Not only the main cylinder may need repair, but also the working cylinder, which drives the clutch fork.
If this happens and the cable is stuck in the casing, the dirt has accumulated in it, respectively, the pedal does not return back even forcibly
To get rid of the air in the system, which, as we have already said, can also cause a failed pedal, it is necessary to “pump” it. It is desirable to engage in this procedure with a partner, because it is inconvenient to perform all the actions at once alone. So, the procedure is as follows:
- It is necessary to remove the cap from the overflow valve of the main cylinder and put a hose on it. The free end of the hose should be dipped into a bottle filled to one-third with brake fluid.
- Then you should open the bypass valve by unscrewing it one turn.
- Then you need to press the pedal. If you are doing the procedure alone, install a stopper, which will lock the pedal. In this position, it must be held until bubbles stop coming from the hose. At the same time it is necessary to monitor that the level of fluid in the tank does not drop below normal. If necessary, the liquid must be added.
- When bubbles stop coming out, you need to close the valve and release the pedal. Then the procedure should be repeated, i.e. open the valve and press the pedal. And so until the air bubbles stop coming out.
If the pedal is jammed, i.e. it is impossible to take it back to the initial position by force, the most probable reason is in the cylinder’s malfunction. As in the case of a leaking cylinder, the cylinder must be removed and “rebuilt”.
3 Actuator is fine – look for another cause
If the pedal failed, while you found that the actuator is in working order, then the cause is more serious – there was a failure of the clutch mechanism itself. There are several variants of faults:
- jammed axle of the release fork – the most “prosperous” variant of failure;
- damage to the release bearing (clutch release clutch);
- damage of the diaphragm spring of the drive disc.
To pinpoint the exact cause of the malfunction, you must completely disassemble the clutch mechanism and inspect it. To do this, you will need a pit or a trestle. Repair is performed only by replacing worn parts.
4 How to pull up to the service on your own – a few tips from personal experience
If the clutch pedal is failing and you can’t fix the failure in road conditions, you don’t have to ask someone for a tow or call a tow truck. Certainly, absence of clutch is an unpleasant breakdown, but it is possible to continue driving. You need to switch to first or second speed and start the car. And lightly press the gas to prevent the car from jerking and stalling.
When driving without clutch, be sure to turn on the emergency lights.
Try to plan your route so that to drive on the main road and on the way was a minimum of traffic lights, so you avoid unnecessary stops. If necessary, stop and turn off the engine, but do not try to make dangerous maneuvers. Besides, don’t try to change speed while driving. Otherwise you will have to repair not only the clutch, but also the gearbox, and this will cost much more than calling a wrecker.
How to act correctly in case of a failed clutch pedal
The car consists of many nodes and systems, which periodically fail for various reasons. These are low quality parts, aggressive driving style, natural wear and tear and more. It’s one thing when you notice the first signs of a breakdown before a trip. This allows you to make appropriate decisions, to repair the car yourself or go to the car service, where the car will be taken care of by qualified specialists.
But quite different is the situation when the malfunction catches you unawares, while driving. It is extremely dangerous and unpleasant. Driving a vehicle is already in itself a strain for the driver. And when something else fails, the condition worsens, the motorist can make a wrong decision and suffer.
Such situations can include cases where the clutch pedal fails. This is not as great a rarity as it may seem. Therefore, every motorist must know why this happens and how to act correctly in the event of a pedal failure.
Causes and provoking factors
To begin with, you need to know why clutch pedals on cars can fail.
Here it is important to know not only the causes, but also provoking factors that can lead to such dangerous breakdowns while driving.
- Breakage of the cable. Happens often in the tip area. Breaks occur for a variety of reasons. But the fact is that the breakage occurred and it is necessary to solve the problem. On the spot, you can only cope with the problem if you happen to have a spare cable in the trunk. Given this potential danger, it is never superfluous to have such a cable on hand just in case.
- Wear, deformation and damage. And it can concern various parts that are directly related to the clutch assembly in the car. Damper and diaphragm springs suffer most often, as well as flywheels and pressure plates. In some cases, the culprit is the bearing. Also, it can not be excluded that in the clutch just jammed release fork.
- Failure associated with the slave disc. This disc can fail in the presence of defects, as a result of deformation and various damages.
- A leak in the hydraulic system. It is possible that the piping responsible for the passage of the hydraulic fluid has failed.
- Problems with the master and slave cylinder. Air is likely to get into them, which disturbs the normal operation of the clutch pedal.
- Wear of friction linings on the slave disc. Because of this there is insufficient free travel for the pedal.
- Aggressive and inept driving style. All the listed failures can occur through the fault of the driver himself, who has not learned to work competently with the clutch pedal.
As you can clearly see, there are many reasons and factors influencing the occurrence of problems with the clutch pedal in vehicles.
It is not always possible to eliminate them in the field and quietly go on about their business. In some cases, it is necessary to stop and call a tow truck. To risk and try to get to service stations or home on your own is strongly not recommended.
But sometimes circumstances work against the driver. And the only variant to receive help, and to return a clutch pedal operability is an attempt to drive to car-care center by oneself. Nobody wants to face such situations. But sometimes there is no other way out.
How to reach a car-care center
You should not despair and panic. Sometimes it’s not that bad. Even when the clutch pedal is out of order and failed, and no one can help, you need to follow a few recommendations. There are a number of tips on what a driver should do in such a situation if the clutch has failed.
- Do not panic. It is strange, but this is exactly what motorists often simply forget about. Understand that you can not do anything drastic with the clutch right here and right now, being behind the wheel. Therefore, you need to focus, be aware of what is happening and then act according to the instructions. Panic has never helped anyone while driving.
- Try to restore the operability of the pedal responsible for the clutch. It does not always help, but it is worth trying. It is necessary to shift a gearbox lever in neutral position to begin with. At the same time be sure to reset the gas, take your foot off the accelerator pedal. When the pedal starts to lag, work a little with accelerator pedal. Sometimes it is possible to release the pedal and make it work again.
- Cardinal measures. This is an option for those situations where it is impossible to repair the clutch in the field. That is, it is necessary to contact the experts. Here you have to act a little differently. Turn off the engine, and shift the transmission lever to first speed. Now twist the starter until the engine starts. When the engine activates, the car will start to behave not quite adequately. This is due to the fact that the operation is not in the right gear, which is exposed on the box. To raise the gear, press the accelerator pedal, put the transmission knob in neutral, and then shift to second speed. When performing such manipulations, try to do everything slowly. Gradually, moving at a low speed, you can walk to the nearest service station.
It is recommended to resort to such measures only in extreme cases, when there is no other possibility to reach the service station and to repair the clutch.
Keep in mind, that any abrupt attempts of shifting, as well as transferring from gear to gear with inoperative clutch threatens with complete failure of transmission. So, decide whether it is worth such a risk, or it is easier to call the towing service for assistance.
If you understand that you can only rely on yourself and have to move with a failed clutch pedal, follow the above steps.
But in order not to encounter unpleasant consequences, as well as to really apply the methods discussed, you need to take into account a few important tips.
- As soon as you notice that the pedal failed and does not work, do not rush to stop immediately. Assess the current situation and where you are. If you stop on an uphill slope and then try to move with the above methods, you will not succeed. On a hill, such methods do not work. It is better if it is a slope or at least a flat section of road;
- Before you start driving, the engine must be warmed up. When the pedal fails, many first stop, trying to understand what happened, waiting for help, and only then understand the need to move on their own. During this time, the engine cools down. For the methods to work, do not forget to preheat the engine at idling speed;
- You can move only in the first, or at most in second gear. Given this factor, think about your upcoming route. Try to make sure that the entire route was on the main road, and you do not have to stop, skip other vehicles. Excessive manipulation with the gearbox and the working pedals with a faulty clutch can aggravate the situation;
- even if you have started driving on your own, the activation of the alarm in this situation will be mandatory. Other road users should know that there is a problem with your car, you can not move quickly;
- Remember, no one knows about your malfunction. Shout about it out the car window, too, as well as all sorts of maneuvering when approaching traffic lights or crosswalks. It will be better if you stop completely, as is appropriate, and then perform the same manipulation to continue driving;
- If you doubt your abilities and the condition of the car, and when the way to the nearest service station is very short, do not try to get on their own. You can always use a tow truck, or call the towing service.
Everyone is well aware that the best advice in such a situation is to avoid the very fact of the failure of the clutch pedal. But it is not always possible even in fully serviceable cars. Anything can happen, and you just need to be prepared for it.
A failed clutch pedal does not bode well. You’ll definitely have to repair the assembly. But first you need to safely get to the car service or your own garage. Do it on your own or ask for help, it’s up to you. Act on the situation and adequately assess your capabilities. Often it is better not to risk and load the car to a tow truck.