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Old 25th November 2009, 15:32   #1
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Default SCAM Alert "Saar, your car needs a clutch overhaul"

Linkway Honda wanted to change my OHC Vtec's clutch at 45,000 kms.

Tata Motors gave me an estimate for a new clutch on my Indigo at 25,000 kms!

There are several reports of Skoda service stations telling Octavia owners that they need a new clutch anywhere between the 30,000 - 50,000 kms mark.

Problem is, in nearly all of these cases, a clutch overhaul was NOT required. As an example, my OHC Vtec is well over 70,000 kms and still running the original clutch. An Octavia owner friend has covered 40,000 kms since the time that his service advisor wanted to bill him for a new clutch.

Clearly, changing the clutch components and giving the system an overhaul is an extremely profitable job for the authorised service stations. Not surprising, as clutch components are generally priced on the higher side. And it's pretty much a bolt-on job.

Just a heads up :
  • Do NOT change your clutch at the behest of your service advisor.
  • Under normal driving style & conditions, an OEM clutch should last anywhere between 70,000 - 90,000 kms. Some cars that are frequently driven on the highway even go well over the 1.0 lakh mark on the original clutch.
  • A sure shot way of knowing whether you need a replacement is when your clutch starts "slipping" (engine rpms go disproportionately higher to speed). More details here
  • If you suspect that your service advisor is trying to cash in on your lack of automotive knowledge, get a second opinion. From a petrolhead friend / independent workshop etc.
  • Recommended Read (The best way to use the clutch, gear and brakes)
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:36   #2
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I think I fell for this scam during my 800's 35K service at Maruti Service Masters. My clutch was a bit hard and the SA said they have no choice but to replace the plate, flywheel, cable and some other parts. The labor was a killer. Total damage was ~4K. My car was definitely not 'slipping', but it had gotten hard. Would just a cable replacement and greasing smoothened it out?

Last edited by Gilead : 25th November 2009 at 15:37.
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:44   #3
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^^ The thing is that a brand new clutch is always very "soft" (i.e. very less effort is required to operate). I have always observed this with cable operated clutches. I'm not sure if this happens because of a brand new cable or is it because of the springs in the brand new clutch components.

But it gets back to normal feel after a couple of thousand kilometers of driving. Always avoid getting a clutch plate changed just because it feels hard -- get the cable lubricated and see if it helps.
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:46   #4
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Nice intiation GTO,

The same happened with me when i went for 4th service at 18000 km at a new Maruti Dealer Service Cente , they just changed only those things from which they can earn money like oil filter, spark plugs, gear & brake oil, Didnt done engine idle setting & timing check. Engine Oil is supplied by me, I complained to them for sluggish pick up after service for which they simply said "A full clutch overhaul" costing 3600Rs.

That moment Amit_mechengg came for the rescue and suggested other MASS.
Issue is solved by doing TBC, New Spark plugs, Engine idle setting. But no clutch change. WagonR runs as new after that.

Complaned to Maruti Customer Care, Promised not to visit nor recommend that MASS.
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:49   #5
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Oh! Yes. There are many many instances I remember. Usually the clutch was a little hard & a cable change was enough or even lubricating the cable settled the problem.
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:56   #6
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And considering the cost for a clutch overhaul it should mean serious business for them.

Most of them agree and just ask them to carry on with it. Now this has me thinking. The other two threads make for an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:59   #7
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Good to see this topic here with previous postings which everyone can easily refer
in this thread itself. No doubt, these informations are required and will be handy for many who are facing these clutch related problems.
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:00   #8
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Great GTO, you are bang on bulls eye with your choice of subjects.
thanks for this very informative thread/links
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:00   #9
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Nice thread. Going to save lots of bucks for many

I said my clutch was bit hard in my Baleno. My mechanic says that suspension and clutch needs overhaul... other than the hardness, I do not fee any other discomfort. Read through few threads to understand that many Baleno owners share my thoughts. Just left it at that.
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:06   #10
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It seems to be a widespread malady. For my first Indica V2, I was told by TASC at 40K kms that I need a clutch overhaul - and maybe a replacement. I refused and drove the car till about 65K at which point it was sold and the used car dealer was happy to get his hands on a 'well maintained' 'privately owned' Indica!
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:06   #11
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Had a bad experience once with this one, my stock clutch became so hard that at one point it felt like some stage 3 + clutch.Everyone who drove me car including me felt the clutch needed to be changed, I drove it around for a few months till one day the cable snapped on the top of a fly-over(luckily!) .. Got the cable replaced for 600 bucks and it was as good as new!
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:10   #12
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just a heads up :
I'm facing issues of the opposite kind!

My WagonR will soon reach the 60k mark. Seems the clutch is slipping, as the car shudders when taken in first/ reverse on a slope. This has become quite prominent these days, and father is not so confident with slopes anymore! (However, no problems experienced yet during other driving conditions)

My MASS tells me, the clutch is almost at the end of its life, but its still got juice left in it. They probably are right! Even after 2 services and us asking them to replace or rectify it, they keep returning the car telling- it still has some more kms of life left in it!

Any way to get this sorted without replacement?

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 25th November 2009 at 16:11.
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:12   #13
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One of the Maruthi Dealer suggested that my Zen needs a clutch overhaul and the cost including labour charges would be Rs.3600 - Rs.4000. My car had done only 17,000Kms then and the only problem I faced is a hard clutch. My mechanic came to my home and did a test drive, he purchased a clutch cable assembly and replaced it. My car has done 47,000Kms till now and the clutch is fine.

Last edited by ElantraGT : 25th November 2009 at 16:14.
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:13   #14
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What GTO has mentioned is very true. My nearly 10 year old Maruti 800 5 speed has covered 52k on the original clutch and is still going strong. As long as you don't ride your clutch, it should last at least 70k plus if not more. If your car needs to carry a higher speed/ rpm than usual or you need to ride your clutch for taking a climb, then you know that your are probably looking at at clutch replacement. There is absolutely no need to replace the clutch just because your car has covered 35 or 40k. The clutch is not something that would go kaput overnight. It would surely show the signs of wear and tear.

Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
My WagonR will soon reach the 60k mark. Seems the clutch is slipping, as the car shudders when taken in first/ reverse on a slope.
IMO if the clutch is slipping, it should slip in all gears. If your car seems to be losing power on a climb, albeit a small climb (not a ghat like climb) such that you need to ride your clutch, then your are looking at an impending clutch replacement. The shuddering in 1st gear is not related to this I believe.

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th November 2009 at 18:17. Reason: Posts merged. Please use the EDIT button to add to an existing post within 20 minutes instead of posting another consecutive post.
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Old 25th November 2009, 16:27   #15
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You are very correct GTO. I faced the same problem once. My Chevy's clutch became completely hard and it did not come up. It stayed down. I somehow managed to reach a roadside mechanic.

His diagnosis? "Saar ji, clutch plate must have burned. We will have to change it. Cost is only Rs. 5,500". I was shocked! I managed to reach my home driving in first gear.

I immediately called up GM Service. They sent a breakdown car the next day. The problem was my clutch master. It was changed. The total cost? Rs. 1200!

Please be careful!
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