Finding a Good Clutch Repair Shop

I was listening to an episode of Carcast with Adam Carolla one time.  I believe he was talking about finding the right guy to repair a dent in his car.  He said something along the lines of you don’t want a guy named Ashton touching this thing.  You want an old guy with a name like Duke or Walter.  In the United States the manual transmission has never been less popular, and it’s getting more difficult to find a good clutch repair shop.

It can be really difficult to find where to get your clutch replaced when nearly all of the major shops don’t want to mess with them.  It has gotten so rare for a transmission shop to have one come in that they don’t want to mess with it.  It is expensive to train someone on how to deal change a clutch.  It’s an entirely different process.

Clutch replacement labor cost

A clutch itself is not the most expensive item that you can buy for your car.  In fact, many of them can run well below a hundred dollars at the parts store.  Where you are going to spend most of your money is going to be on the labor cost.

According to Quora:  

“Most independent repair shops charge between $70-$90 per hour and most dealerships charge between $80-$125 per hour.”

Most mechanics use a database that shows exactly how many hours a job is supposed to take.  They will bill you the samefor the job regardless of the actual time to complete the job. Never let them tell you they are charging you more because labor took longer than expected.  That is on them.  Now that you have this in mind, you’re going to need to do a little research, and a little math.

Get a few estimates and make sure to plug it into this formula:

(Labor Hourly Rate x Hours to Complete Job) + Parts Cost= Total Repair Cost

You can use this formula for each shop that you call.  This will help you get an idea of how to get the best price.  While the full rate Before you even so much as go in to get your first estimate try Googling how many hours to change clutch (insert your model here).  It’s great if you can go in knowing about how long it should take.

How to pick a good shop

This may sound crazy, but I think one of the best ways that you can find a good clutch shop is to go to the yellow pages.  I know it’s 2016 (or it was when I wrote this), but you want to find some old guy who has been doing this for a long time.  That guy you are looking for has probably been in the book for a very long time.  Just look up manual transmission repair, or transmission repair depending on where you live.

If you are finding yourself having a hard time, you can also try and find a shop that deals exclusively with foreign cars.  Imported cars tend to have a higher percentage of standard shift models.  These guys will be able to fix your clutch as well.

When is it clutch replacement time?

You’ll know its is time to replace your clutch if you run across the following conditions:

  • The smell of rotten eggs.  Clutches will stink when they begin to slip.  They often stink as they heat up.
  • If the engine revs higher all of the sudden while going down the highway, or if you have a heavy load, or if you are going up a rather large hill.  These can be early warning signs that the clutch is failing you.  On the other hand, if you smell burning oil you may be leaking oil onto your flywheel.  Check your engine oil level and then look under where you normally park the car.  Is their fresh oil?
  • If you have a really bad chatter or jerking feeling when you take off you may have a warped flywheel or disk.  The grip is compromised and it will probably need replacement.

Just remember, price isn’t everything.  If you get two quotes that are close, but the clutch shop guy tells you he’s done your make and model more times than he can count, go with that guy to repair your clutch.

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