A complex network of tons of components works behind a car and a throw-out bearing is one of them which is responsible for the smooth functioning of your vehicle.
A throw-out bearing (also called clutch release bearing) might seem insignificant and small but plays a crucial role in a vehicle’s functioning. This is the throw-out bearing that disconnects the engine from the wheel while shifting gears.
The clutch assembly that is composed of the clutch plate, pressure plate, flywheel, and throw-out bearing does the job of connecting the engine to the wheels. When the clutch pedal is depressed, the connection between the engine and the wheels is disconnected temporarily to enable gear shifting. If your car has a bad throw-out bearing, the car engine may come to a complete halt or cause problems with gear shifting, or even damage the parts of the clutch system or the transmission system.
In this article, we will tell you how a throw-out bearing works, what are the symptoms that indicate your car has a bad throw-out bearing and how much will it cost if you replace this component.
How a Throwout Bearing Works
Before you understand how a throw-out bearing works, you will need to know how the clutch assembly is formed.
There are three main components – pressure plate, flywheel, and the clutch disc.
The pressure plate is bolted to the flywheel and rotates only when the engine is turned on. The clutch disc is steel or an aluminum plate that goes between the flywheel and the pressure plate.
This disc is designed in such a way that it slides over the input shaft of the transmission and turns when the drive wheels start turning.
When the clutch pedal is depressed, the throw-out bearing moves toward the flywheel, pushing in the pressure plate’s release fingers and moving the pressure plate fingers against pressure plate spring force. This action moves the pressure plate away from the clutch disc, and it breaks the mechanical link between the engine and the transmission’s input shaft.
4 Common Symptoms of a Bad Throw Out Bearing
You should know how a bad throw out bearing can affect the performance of your vehicle. When the throw out bearing goes bad, you are not able to press down on the clutch to change gears, which means you will not be able to accelerate to drive the vehicle properly.
If you keep driving the vehicle with a bad throw out bearing, things may become worse and ultimately the repair cost will increase.
The bearing may go bad over the years of use or it may get damaged prematurely in an accident.
Whatever is the case, then throw out bearing will need immediate replacement.
However, it is difficult to keep a check on the internal parts functioning inside the vehicle especially in the case of the clutch release bearing, but there are surely some symptoms that you will easily recognize.
#1 – Strange Noise When Depressing the Clutch
The most common symptom of a bad throw out bearing is that you will hear a weird noise, however, these strange sounds may be the reason for other issues in the transmission system, but the throw out bearing has worn out, this could also be one of the reasons.
This happens, when the rollers inside the bearing wear out and the space between them gets increased and this causes weird noises when it moves. This sound will get worse over time if this problem is not addressed.
#2 – Vibrating Clutch Pedal
This is not only the weird noises you will notice coming out of the transmission system but you may also feel vibrations while pressing down on the clutch pedal if the throw out bearing in your vehicle is wearing out.
The reason behind these vibrations is that the throw-out bearing is not able to line up with the pressure plate evenly due to the damage in it. These vibrations are similar to those vibrations you feel when your car has bad brake pads and in this case, you notice these similar vibrations on the brake pedal as one of the symptoms of bad brake pads.
Therefore, if you notice such vibrations while accelerating or braking, you should check out other parts as well such as brakes and wheel bearings.
#3 – Difficult Changing Gear
As now that you know that the main purpose of a throw-out bearing is to enable you to shift gears and facing difficulty pressing down the clutch pedal is one of the signs of failed throw-out bearing.
However, this is a symptom that you will notice in later stages but you should not ignore this. Being not able to shift gears can be very dangerous and can also lead to an accident.
#4 – Stiff or Stuck Clutch
Initially when a throw out bearing starts wearing out, you will only face difficulty in pressing down the clutch pedal, but you may ignore this and by using extra force, you may be able to press down the clutch pedal and also shift gears.
But as the problem progresses and you still keep driving with the faulty bearing, then at a certain point, the clutch will get stuck and you will not be able to move it at all. This is where you can’t drive your vehicle at all.
How Long Can You Drive With a Bad Throw Out Bearing
With a bad clutch release bearing, you may be able to drive the vehicle but how long you will be able to drive, is difficult to say. Sooner or later, the clutch mechanism will come to a halt that will be an expensive repair.
Therefore, instead of settling down, it will be good if you can get the issue fixed when it is small and easy to fix.
Throw Out Bearing Replacement Cost
A throw-out bearing is relatively a quite inexpensive part of a vehicle that costs you between $30 and $100. But the replacement is very challenging, the whole transmission system is required to be removed and it takes around 4 to 6 hours. Therefore, the labor cost is very high, ranging between $350 to $600.
Usually, the mechanic will ask you to replace the clutch at the same time as this component gets worn out easily, and again replacement is quite difficult. So, if you also get the clutch replacement done, then the total replacement cost will be higher.
The clutch itself will cost you between $300 to $900 and the total replacement cost will come around $680 to $1430.
How to Fix Throwout Bearing Noise
There are several reasons why you hear weird noises coming out of the transmission system when the clutch pedal is depressed. The one reason could be that the throw out bearing is able to make contact with the pressure plate. Because it is not designed to do so, and when there contact is built up between these two components, you hear throw-out bearing noises.
There are two things you can do to fix this noise issue
- Adjust your clutch pedal, so that the gap between these two components – the throw-out bearing and pressure plate can be maintained, this will allow them to move freely and the noise will not come.
- Attach a semi-strong spring to keep the throw out bearing away from the pressure plate, and you will hear no weird sound after that.
Now, it is quite clear how important it is to have a good working throw out bearing. Although it may seem like there’s not anything serious while getting your car in and out of gear, a lot is happening under the car each time you depress the clutch pedal. Ignoring this problem for a longer time will only destroy more of your vehicle from inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lubricating the throw-out bearing once in every 8 weeks is enough to keep this part efficiently moving. But make sure you don’t over-lubricate the clutch release bearing. Over-lubrication could contaminate the clutch internally and cause premature failure.
Generally, the clutch can last for 40,000 to 1,10,000 miles depending on the model and the brand. But there are certain things that can affect its life cycle such as how much weight is loaded on the vehicle and regular use of foot on the clutch and whether it is used for commercial purpose or for personal use, usually, commercial vehicles face premature failure.