If your vehicle has a manual transmission (a rarity these days), you must be able to operate the clutch pedal as well as the brake and accelerator pedals.
The clutch assembly (consisting of the pressure plate, clutch plate, flywheel, and release bearing) connects the wheels to the vehicle’s engine. The clutch pedal allows you to temporarily disconnect the wheels from the engine, which is necessary when changing gears.
The release bearing, sometimes called the “release bearing”, is a simple but important component that is only used when the clutch pedal is depressed. When you have a bad clutch release bearing, it will affect the transmission and can cause the clutch and other transmission components to fail.
How unacceptable bearings work
Simply put, a release bearing is the clutch component that temporarily disconnects a car’s engine from the transmission during gear changes. When you press the clutch pedal with your foot, the release bearing moves closer to the flywheel.
This forces the fingers to release the pressure plate to the depression. As soon as this happens, the fingers of the pressure plate push against the force of the spring. This causes the motor to disconnect from the wheels and allows you to shift into another gear.
When the clutch pedal is released, the clutch release bearing returns to its original position where the power is again transferred from the vehicle’s engine through the transmission to the car’s drive wheels.
Common Signs of Bad Behavior
Each component of the clutch and transmission system is important to the safety and functionality of the vehicle. If your loose bearing cannot do its job properly, you will see signs that it is deteriorating or failing completely.
The bearing can deteriorate after years of use or even be damaged by an accident. Either way, you should replace a loose bearing as soon as you notice it’s having problems.
Below are the top 4 symptoms of a bad release bearing.
The most common sign of a bad loose clutch bearing is when you hear different noises when you press the clutch pedal. The rollers have a tight tolerance within the bearing and are intended to be close together.
But if there is too much space between the rollers, different types of noise will start to be heard. These may include vibrating, grinding, screeching, growling, or humming sounds.
This is simply because the bearing rollers wear over time and lose small amounts of material. The noise appears to be coming from the transmission area.
The sound will be most noticeable when the clutch pedal is fully depressed and will disappear when you take your foot off the pedal.
#2 – Clutch Pedal Vibration
When you press the clutch pedal, it should go down smoothly. But if you feel a vibration coming from the pedal, the clutch release bearing is most likely defective or failing.
Specifically, the vibration is caused by the inability of the release bearing to properly align with the pressure plate. Your leg will feel throbbing when this happens.
The vibrating pedal is similar to the feel of a brake pedal if your disc brakes or brake pads have worn unevenly.
#3 – Transfer problems
Gear changes should be smooth without too much resistance. If you notice that you are having trouble shifting gears or even grinding the gears, it is possible that the release bearing has gone bad.
The problem is that your clutch is not fully engaged. However, this should not be the first symptom you experience due to this problem.
You should listen to these strange sounds first. If you still leave this problem unresolved, you can expect shifting or clutch slippage problems.
#4 – The clutch is too stiff
Like most drive system components, the release bearing is manufactured with special lubrication properties to ensure long-term trouble-free operation. Unfortunately, the lubrication properties wear out as the bearing wears.
The more the bearing wears, the harder it will be to lower the clutch pedal. You will soon reach a point where you can no longer release the clutch. Then you won’t be able to drive your vehicle at all because you won’t be able to shift gears.
See also: What happens when you “roll the clutch pedal”?
Replacement cost of disposable packages
As a simple part, self-releasing bearings are relatively inexpensive. The problem is the amount of work it takes to get there, as the entire transmission must be removed.
For this reason, it’s usually recommended to replace the clutch (and sometimes the flywheel) while it’s there too.
A roll of mail will cost you between $30 and $100. The price of a new clutch can vary greatly depending on the vehicle, but most cost between $300 and $800. A new steering wheel (if necessary) will cost you an additional $50 to $200.
As mentioned, the labor costs when replacing the loose bearing is where you will spend the most money. Your mechanic will need 4-6 hours to replace the loose bearing and clutch, so at an average labor rate of $85 per hour, you’re looking at around $340-$510 for labor.
In total, the total cost to replace loose bearings is $370 to $610. But you’ll probably want to replace your clutch at the same time, so the total replacement cost would be closer to $670 to $1,410.