While most high quality clutches provide many years of reliable service under normal driving conditions, the friction linings on the driven plate cannot last forever, and most manual vehicles will see at least one clutch replacement during its lifetime as a result of normal wear of the linings.
Regardless of why a vehicle needs a clutch replacement, there are several things you should keep in mind when the clutch on your vehicle has to be replaced, including the following...
While it is possible to replace individual clutch components, this is not recommended. The only way to ensure proper operation of a new clutch is to replace all the components together as a kit, since all the mating and friction surfaces are flat, parallel, and unblemished by score marks, burn spots, or unevenly worn patches. Fitting say, a new driven plate between an old pressure plate and an unevenly worn flywheel reduces the effective contact area between the components, which usually results in severe clutch shudder, overheating of the driven plate, and premature failure of the entire clutch assembly.
This adds to the overall cost of the clutch replacement, but failure to do this will almost certainly result in clutch shudder and premature failure of the clutch assembly for the reasons stated above.
It is particularly important to restore the surface of a conventional flywheel when the clutch had been slipping, because the excessive heat caused by the slipping clutch creates very hard and brittle areas on the flywheel’s surface, which collectively, reduce the friction coefficient of the surface.
Moreover, excessive heat also creates hairline cracks in the flywheel’s surface, and these cracks must be removed to prevent them propagating deeper into the flywheel’s structure.
Where fitted, this is the bearing or bush that fits into the rear of the crankshaft to support the end of the transmission input shaft. Failure to replace this bearing or bush during a clutch replacement could require removal of the engine or transmission to replace it when it fails before the new clutch is due for replacement. In short, not replacing the bearing or bush that can cost less than $5 now could cost you several hundred dollars in labour costs later.
Replacing a clutch on any vehicle requires major disassembly of major, and very often, safety critical components, so you want to be sure not only that the replacement clutch works as expected, but also that your vehicle had been reassembled to industry standards.
This means that when you collect your vehicle, there should be no new fault codes present; there should be no new mechanical noises of any kind during operation of the vehicle, and there should certainly be no vibrations, shuddering, or any difficulty changing from one gear to any other gear present.
It's important to choose a qualified professional who is trained and equipped to replace your car's clutch.