Are clutches covered under warranty?

Car warranties generally fall short when it comes to clutches

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    Mini Cooper
    car clutch

    A functioning clutch is vital to your car’s transmission system. When it wears out, you might notice problems like slipping, grinding or difficulty shifting gears. Suddenly, you wonder: “Will my car warranty pay for the repairs?”

    Clutch coverage varies depending on the warranty and how the damage happened. But most of the time, you’ll have to foot the bill for a new clutch.

    So, what should you know about warranties for clutches? What can you do to protect yourself from unexpected repair costs? How long do clutches last, and what factors affect their life span? Is it possible to extend a clutch’s life?

    We’ve got the answers — keep reading to learn more.


    Key insights

    Standard car warranties may pay for clutch repair or replacement only if it’s due to a manufacturing defect.

    Jump to insight

    Most warranties and car insurance policies don’t cover clutches because they’re wear-and-tear items.

    Jump to insight

    If extended warranties offer clutch coverage, limitations apply — avoid costly repairs by extending your clutch’s life span with proper maintenance.

    Jump to insight

    Clutch replacement costs vary case by case but average around $1,000 to $2,500.

    Jump to insight

    Clutch warranty coverage

    Standard car warranties don’t often cover traditional clutches because they wear over time. Like oil and oil filters, your clutch is something you must replace to keep your car running well after a certain number of miles.

    Car care can get expensive, especially when warranties don’t cover specific parts. Set aside savings each month for potential out-of-pocket expenses related to clutch maintenance.

    But there’s one exception where your warranty might cover your clutch: if it fails due to a manufacturing defect. In this case, the issue would stem from faulty materials or workmanship — not wear and tear. To get coverage in this scenario, you must prove the clutch was defective from the start.

    If you can’t show that the clutch failure was caused by a manufacturing defect, you’ll likely have to pay for repairs or replacement yourself.

    » LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

    What types of warranties cover clutches?

    Tim Pohanka, vice president of Pohanka Nissan Hyundai, a car dealership in Fredericksburg, explained that a manufacturer’s warranty could cover your clutch, but only in certain cases. The warranty might pay for clutch repairs if the damage is due to a manufacturing problem — not individual driving habits.

    A ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Coto De Caza, California, shared their experience with a clutch failure on their Mini Cooper. Just a year after buying it, “the clutch no longer worked and the car would not move … [Our] service writer called and said that it was a burned-out clutch and that it would cost $3,500 to repair it … He said that it was not covered by warranty and that this usually happened because of abuse,” they said.

    This story underscores the importance of understanding what your warranty covers (and doesn’t cover).

    It’s also worth noting that while clutches are part of the powertrain, they aren’t covered under a factory powertrain warranty. Automakers expect clutches to wear down from normal use, similar to brake pads or tires. However, a powertrain warranty can come in handy if other critical components like the engine, transmission or drivetrain break.

    Extended warranties typically exclude clutches from their policies as well. But if you already have one, it doesn’t hurt to ask about coverage. Just know that extended warranties don't cover preexisting damages. So, it's too late to purchase coverage if you’re already experiencing clutch problems.

    Lastly, your regular car insurance — comprehensive and collision coverage — won’t pay for clutch repairs or replacements. If you get into an accident that damages your clutch, your insurance will only pay for it if the policy covers it.

    » MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

    Does your extended warranty cover clutches?

    It’s rare for extended warranties to cover clutches. If you get lucky and find one that does, it’ll have limitations and may only apply to specific parts. For example, a warranty might cover the clutch master cylinder but not the clutch disc or pressure plate.

    Most providers don’t advertise clutch coverage as they do for other parts like transmissions. If you’re considering an extended warranty for clutch coverage, review the policy details and ask questions about what’s included.

    Find your warranty options limited? Not all hope is lost.

    You can make your clutch last longer and cut repair costs with these preventative measures:

    • Keep enough fluid in your clutch reservoir.
    • Shift gears smoothly and match engine RPMs.
    • Have your clutch system inspected and serviced regularly.
    • Avoid resting your foot on the pedal or riding the clutch if you don’t have to.

    How much does it cost to fix your clutch?

    According to Samuel Greenes, CEO of an insurance brokerage, Stonebrook Insurance, average clutch replacement costs fall between $1,000 and $2,500. Depending on the extent of the damage, the bill could be even higher — especially if the flywheel or transmission is also broken.

    Driving habits matter. Delay the need for costly repairs by avoiding abuse (like riding the clutch in stop-and-go traffic).

    The cost to repair or replace a car clutch varies based on the following:

    • Car make and model: Clutch parts and labor costs may be higher for luxury or performance vehicles.
    • Clutch type: Some high-performance or heavy-duty clutches are more expensive than standard parts.
    • Mechanic’s rates: Shops charge different labor rates, so it pays to compare them.
    • Clutch location: Rear-wheel-drive clutches are typically more complex and expensive to service than front-wheel-drive clutches.

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    FAQ

    Is a clutch a wear-and-tear item?

    Yes, a clutch is a wear-and-tear item. As you drive your car, the clutch wears down over time. It’ll eventually need replacing — like brake pads or tires.

    How long should a clutch last?

    The life span of a clutch depends on your driving habits and conditions. City driving with frequent stops and starts will wear out a clutch faster than highway driving. But with reasonable use, most modern car clutches should last between 30,000 and 100,000 miles or more before needing replacement.

    Is a clutch covered under insurance?

    No, car insurance policies don’t cover wear-and-tear items like clutches. The only exception would be if the clutch breaks directly from a covered accident. Otherwise, you’ll likely have to pay for the clutch repair or replacement.


    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. AutoInsurance.org, “Does auto insurance cover a clutch?” Accessed on May 15, 2024.
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