The flexible clutch hose is a component that is found on vehicles equipped with hydraulic clutch systems. The flexible clutch hose is responsible for transporting the pressure and hydraulic fluid that is displaced when the clutch pedal is depressed. Unlike hardlines, which are also used to transport hydraulic fluid, the clutch hose is flexible, and can move in various directions. When the clutch pedal is stepped on, the master cylinder pushes fluid through the clutch hose, down to the slave cylinder to disengage the clutch. Most clutch hoses are built with heavy duty rubber and metal layers to withstand the pressures of normal operation. However, over time, they can eventually wear out and cause problems. Usually a bad or failing flexible clutch hose will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem.
1. Difficulty shifting
One of the first symptoms of a possible problem with the flexible clutch hose is difficulty shifting. If the clutch hose leaks or is otherwise compromised, it may not be able to properly transport the fluid and will cause difficulty shifting. A leaky or collapsed clutch hose can cause difficulty shifting. It may also cause the transmission to grind notably when changing gears.
2. Low clutch fluid or leaks
Another symptom of a bad or failing clutch hose is low clutch fluid. Clutch hoses are often made of rubber, which can dry and wear out over time and develop leaks. A leaky clutch hose will not only leak fluid, which will need to be replenished, it will also compromise the operation of the clutch system, as the system requires pressure to operate.
3. No resistance at the clutch pedal
Another symptom, one of a more serious issue, is a clutch pedal that has very little or no resistance. If the clutch hose develops a large enough leak, or leaks out enough fluid, it will cause the clutch pedal to go soft due to a lack of fluid and pressure in the system. A clutch pedal with no pressure will not be able to disengage the clutch, which will render the vehicle undrivable.
For vehicles equipped with hydraulic clutch systems, the flexible clutch is is a very important component to the proper operation of the system. If you suspect that your clutch hose may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the car will need a flexible clutch hose replacement.