5 Symptoms of a Bad Bearing (and Replacement Cost)

If you drive a stick shift vehicle, it’s only a matter of time until you need to work on the clutch. But just because you have shifting problems doesn’t automatically mean the clutch is the problem.

There are tons of components between the foot and the clutch, and any of them could be your problem. One of those integral components is the release bearing, sometimes called the release bearing, and it is known for sagging.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the most common symptoms of a bad clutch release bearing before delving into replacement costs and how exactly the clutch release bearing works. First, let’s take a quick look at the signs:

The most common symptom of a bad clutch release bearing is noise when you press the clutch. If the bearing is really bad, you may also feel vibrations in the clutch pedal when you press it. You may also notice glitches or squeaks when shifting.

Below, we have highlighted a more detailed list of the five most common symptoms of a bad bearing to help you determine the cause of your problem. Keep in mind that all of these problems get worse the longer you leave the problem unaddressed.

Symptoms of bad bearings

1. Noise when pressing the clutch

car noise

Its release bearing presses directly against the clutches pressure plates, and if it doesn’t have a consistent flush mount, it will make a lot of noise when you press the clutch.

Also, it won’t be a one-time thing, it will likely knock the entire time you’re pressing the clutch, and those noises will only get worse as you actively press and release the clutch.

2. Clutch pedal vibration

Depress the clutch pedal

Not only will you hear all that clicking if you have a bad release bearing, but you’ll also feel it in the clutch. Every time you press the clutch, you will feel it vibrate as the release bearing hits the pressure plates.

The more serious the problem, the more excessive the vibrations will be. However, if the problem is just starting, you may not feel the vibrations yet.

3. Shift problems

Manual gear shift

Your vehicle’s clutch release bearing is one of the integrated components of your vehicle’s clutch, and the purpose of the clutch is to help you shift gears. So it’s no surprise that if your clutch release bearing starts to fail, you’ll have shifting problems.

This problem usually only occurs after the problem has progressed a little. This is also when the problem becomes more dangerous because you will find it difficult to shift the necessary gear while driving, which can easily lead to an accident.

4. A clutch that is too stiff

Clutch pedal

If your release bearing is creating a lot of problems, it will not press against the clutch pressure plates as easily as it should. While this may not seem like much, it will require you to press harder on the clutch pedal to fully depress it.

This additional force is likely to be negligible at first, but as the problem progresses, it gets worse. Additionally, it is possible for the clutch release bearing to “bind”, causing the clutch pedal to temporarily lock. This can lead to major driving problems.

RELATED: 7 Symptoms of a Worn or Bad Clutch

5. Grind while changing gears (even if the clutch is depressed)

gear lever

Anyone who has ever driven a stick-shift vehicle knows all too well what grinding gears sound like. But if he’s doing everything the right way and the clutch pedal is fully depressed but you still hear grinding noises, the clutch release bearing could be the culprit.

Knocking can cause your clutch to reengage or prevent your clutch from disengaging completely in the first place. When you go to shift, you will notice the problem as a result of a loud and obvious squeak.

You may be able to overcome this several times, but ignoring the problem completely only causes bigger problems down the road.

Release roll function

Rejected bearing

In short, your vehicle’s clutch release bearing is the component that pushes against the clutch pressure plates to disengage the clutch. Because of this essential function, the clutch release bearing is one of the most important components of your vehicle’s clutch.

When you press the clutch, it pushes the release bearing in, and when you release the clutch, it moves out.

While these are incredibly durable components, they also get a lot of wear and the clutch exposes them to a ton of friction and pressure. While you can save a little on your release bearing by taking care of your clutch, if you drive hard enough, it’s only a matter of time before you need to replace it.

Pitch heading location

launch roll

Your vehicle’s clutch release bearing is located inside the transmission case, directly next to the clutch. When you look at your vehicle, you will not see the clutch release bearing.

This makes it a difficult component to reach unless you are an experienced transmission technician with all the proper equipment. Please note that only manual transmission vehicles have a release bearing.

Disposable Bearing Replacement Cost

The average replacement cost for disposable bearings ranges from $400 to $1,500, with almost all of that cost being labor.

This is because an aftermarket disposable bearing usually only costs between $10 and $30. But while the price of a throwout bearing is so cheap, it’s hard to get hold of. You have to remove the entire transmission, making this one of the most complicated jobs to do yourself.

Additionally, due to rising labor costs, most people don’t just replace the clutch bearing. Instead, they usually replace the entire clutch, so they don’t have to pay twice for labor in a short period of time.

The cost for a certified mechanic to replace your vehicle’s clutch ranges between $1,200 and $1,500. While this is more than just replacing the release bearing, if you need a new release bearing, your clutch is not far behind.

If you end up needing the job twice, you’ll spend $600 more than you could have saved by doing it all at once.


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