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What Is Clutch Slip & Drag?

Updated February 21, 2017

Clutch slipping and clutch drag are two problems that can occur as clutches wear out. They are opposite problems that can occur with any clutch on any type of vehicle and require some type of repair to remedy the problem lest the clutch system become damaged.

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Defintion: Slip

When the clutch pedal is pushed, the clutch responds by slipping to prevent jolts to the vehicle or damage to the transmission; however, once the pedal is released, the clutch should not slip. Slip occurs when the drive disk rotates at a different speed than the driven ditch.

Symptoms: Slip

Signs of clutch slip include poor gas mileage, the need to downshift more frequently when going down a hill and the sound of a revving engine when starting from a dead stop. Additionally, the clutch pedal may feel stiff.

Causes: Slip

In addition to general wear and tear, clutch slip can be caused by excess oil on the clutch or problems with the master cylinder, release system or cable adjuster.

Definition: Drag

Clutch drag occurs when the disc attached to the clutch pedal continues to spin even after the clutch has been released.

Symptoms: Drag

Clutch drag is usually recognised by difficulty shifting gears. This may or may not be associated with a grinding sound.

Causes: Drag

Causes of clutch drag vary depending on clutch type. Generally, some common causes are problems with binding cables, pedal brackets and the master or slave cylinders.

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About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.

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