Every car with a manual transmission has a mechanical device called a flywheel. The purpose of this device is to create rotational energy by spinning repeatedly and then saving this energy so that it can be used later.
For example, if the torque from your engine is being generated irregularly, the flywheel will use its rotational energy to fill in the gaps of missing energy.
If you have only driven automatic transmission vehicles before then you have probably never heard of flywheels. The reason is that flywheels are usually only found in manual transmission vehicles.
Since the purpose of the flywheel is to guarantee the functionality of the gears, it is important for a manual vehicle to have this device to assist it. This is especially important when the driver presses the clutch and goes to switch gears. The flywheel will reduce the intensity of the vibrations as this is happening.
4 Bad Flywheel Symptoms
Unfortunately, flywheels do not last forever. They gradually become worn as they are consistently used in the vehicle. If your flywheel becomes too worn out or damaged, there will be some noticeable symptoms that you won’t be able to ignore.
Do not let these symptoms carry on for too long or else it will impact the overall drivability of the vehicle. Here are four of the most common signs of a bad flywheel.
1) Slipping Gears
If you shift to a new gear and then notice that it pops back out and into neutral, this is called gear slippage. A bad flywheel will likely be the reason for this because it will cause grinding of the plate and a lot more friction overall.
If the gear keeps slipping when you change it, then it will certainly impact your driving ability and eventually damage your clutch.
2) Cannot Change Gears
Sometimes you will have the opposite problem with your gears. Instead of your gears slipping, you won’t be able to change your gears at all. The flywheel would need to be in pretty bad shape for this symptom to occur.
Obviously, if you cannot switch gears, then you won’t be able to drive your vehicle at all.
3) Burning Odor
If there is a burning odor which consumes your passenger cabin, this could be attributed to many possible causes. A bad flywheel could be one of those causes because of all the heat generated from the friction in the clutch.
If you have used the clutch at times when you weren’t supposed to, this could cause problems with the flywheel.
4) Vibrations of the Clutch
If your clutch pedal is experiencing lots of vibrations, then your flywheel is likely going bad. The vibrations will eventually get so bad that you will be able to feel them on the floor rather than just from the clutch pedal.
Check your flywheel’s spring mounting mechanism because that is likely causing these vibrations.
Flywheel Replacement Cost
The replacement cost of a flywheel will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. You may get lucky and find the cost of a new flywheel to be only $40 or so. However, there are some flywheels which will cost up to $400 or more which are made up of stronger and lighter materials than just steel.
On top of the parts cost, you’ll have to worry about the cost of the labor too. This will not be a short job to perform, so the mechanic may be spending close to 4 to 5 hours. If their hourly rate is $100, that would mean $400 to $500 just for the labor costs.
Add the totals together and you are looking at around $400 to $900 for the total cost of getting the flywheel replaced.