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Clutch failure causes identified

Corteco says problems caused by a simple oil seal are adversely affecting some straightforward clutch replacements.

Premature clutch failures on some cars are more likely to occur in the UK than in other European markets, says Corteco.

Clutch input shaft sleeves (also known as quills or guide bushes) are a design feature on a wide range of German, Italian and French-built cars. Each sleeve contains a rubber seal, designed to protect the clutch from ingress by gearbox oil. Worn or damaged seals allow oil to leak into the clutch housing.

If this contaminates the friction plate, premature clutch failure is inevitable.

“In mainland Europe, it is accepted that input shaft sleeves are an essential part of the clutch replacement procedure on some models, but the UK market doesn’t fully appreciate their importance just yet,” says Corteco sales and marketing manager, Steve Jarnet.

Consequently, demand in some areas has not registered at motor factor level, forcing those garages that do appreciate the problems to source from dealers at premium prices.

Corteco is the aftermarket distribution arm of Freudenberg, which is one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive sealing components to OE systems manufacturers. It says UK motor factors are now getting the message and several national distributors have recently added the Corteco range to their catalogues.

Steve Jarnet adds:

“It’s not certain if UK garages assume that input shaft sleeves are part of the gearbox rather than the clutch, or whether they consider them to be too difficult to replace and best left alone. What is clear is that it’s good practice to fit new ones along with a new clutch, avoiding premature clutch failures that could soon turn into expensive rectification jobs.”

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