How To Tell If Your Clutch Has Gone Bad



The ability to shift gears smoothly while out on the open road is a big part of the motorcycle riding experience. If you experience anything but a smooth transition, chances are there may be problems with your clutch. Dealing with a bad clutch can create a frustrating predicament, as well as a slight feeling of embarrassment if others hear your struggling motorcycle while out on the road. How can you tell if your clutch has gone bad? You'll need to look for certain signs and noises in order to determine if you need to service your bike. This article will go over ways to tell if your clutch is bad. 


clutch plates


Usually, five or six clutch plates are installed on a motorcycle. The plates are intertwined and stick together when the handle on your bike is released. When the clutch handle is pulled, the plates separate and spin freely, allowing the engine to release from the transmission. This results in the engine being able to spin at a different speed than the transmission and allowing the rider to change gears when the clutch is released. 


If the clutch starts to go bad, the first sign will be the way your bike revs. If you know your bike well enough, you know the sound and feel of the bike and will be able to tell if it is revving higher than it should be. This may notify you that your plates aren't moving the way they should be moving. 


stuck motorcycle clutch


Another way to tell if your clutch is bad is if your lever gets stuck, released or pulled in. You may have a bad clutch cable and a sign of a bad clutch, as well if this happens. A bad clutch cable can result from grime and dirt getting into the clutch and keeping your plates from operating properly. 


If your gear shifts are hard and abrupt, this can also indicate that your clutch is going bad. Be on the lookout if you hear unpleasant sounds from your bike, as well as jerks when shifting. When your plates don't separate enough, those parts may grind together, resulting in a loud, clunky sound and a jerking motion. 


Lastly, the most direct way to tell if your clutch is bad is if you can't get your bike into gear at all. A good amount of bikes require it to be in a neutral position in order to start. If you are unable to shift into specific gear and your lever goes freely up and down, you have a bad clutch. 


motorcycle clutch gear


There are only two ways to address a clutch problem on your bike. You can either fix it yourself or, you can take it in for service. Unless you are a mechanic yourself or have the expertise to fix your motorcycle on your own, taking your bike in for service will always be the best route to go. 


In most cases, having clutch issues is inevitable due to bikes getting older. However, there are ways to maintain your bike to prolong the life of your clutch. Inspecting your bike regularly and taking it in for maintenance when needed will allow you to spot problems in the beginning stages and potentially save you a lot of money. And who doesn't like saving money? Browse for more related articles and visit our YouTube page for our Behind The Handlebars event videos.


In the event that you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle crash, the experienced attorneys of Hupy and Abraham may be able to help you. We will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you are treated fairly, provide you with the personal attention that you deserve and use our experience of helping more than 4,000 injured riders make successful recoveries. Our personal injury law firm is the largest in the Midwest, with offices located in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Our motorcycle attorneys have secured a number of motorcycle settlements in excess of a million dollars. 


Contact us anytime -- 24/7/365 -- by phone or online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.





Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.