Signs Your Car is About to Die

Hello, my name is Roy. For many years, I drove a 1976 Ford estate car around Sydney. The car had belonged to my grandpa. It was passed down to me when I had just passed my driving test at the age of 18. That was in 1986 and the car was already in a pretty bad condition then. Fast forward to 2006 and I was now aged 38 and still driving the same car around. Sometimes the car wouldn't start, white smoke came out of the exhaust and the gearbox made a terrible sound. I did my best to patch it up, but eventually, I had to scrap the car and buy a new one. I decided to start a blog to encourage others to service their cars.

When Was the Last Time That You Adjusted Your Brake and Clutch Pedals?


In a manually operated car, the driver is presented with three pedals. Each one of these provides a level of control and will activate or deactivate a remote mechanical component. Most people understand the need to maintain those various mechanical parts on a regular basis as they are subject to wear and tear, but they may underestimate the importance of the pedals themselves. Why do you need to make sure that the brake and clutch pedals, specifically, are properly adjusted and what can happen if they are not?

Clutch Adjustment

When you depress the clutch pedal, you disconnect the engine from the transmission so that you can choose the most appropriate gear for the conditions. The foot pedal itself is attached to a linkage and a release fork that is connected to the clutch mechanism. There needs to be a certain amount of free play in this linkage as if not, you may risk damage or find it difficult to control the car.

As you may know, when you depress the pedal the pressure plate exerts its pressure onto the friction disc and this component will then mesh with the flywheel in order to provide drive as needed. If there is not enough clearance in the clutch linkage, then this can lead to clutch slip and a friction plate that may wear out far too quickly. It may also lead to mechanical failure if the pressure plate starts to crack.

On the other hand, if there is too much clearance the other way, then the car may creep forward when it is in gear, even if you depress the clutch pedal. This may make it difficult for you to control the car due to this clutch drag.

Brake Adjustment

Turning to the brake pedal, there should also be a certain amount of free play here. When you place your foot on the pedal, it should move a few millimetres before the brakes come on, and if it does, the clearance is just right. If there is no free play, then this means that the brakes are constantly engaged to a small degree and the pads may be touching the brake disc instead. This will lead to drag, brake pads that wear out far too quickly, potential damage to the disc and poor fuel economy.

When was the last time that you checked to see if your clutch and brake pedals were properly aligned? If it's been some time, then you should take the vehicle into your mechanic for a brake and clutch adjustment.


25 July 2019