Replacing a clutch isn't cheap, but it can help to restore your car's performance and the joy of driving a manual transmission. Despite the importance of this component to the driving experience, drivers do not always recognize the early signs of failure. In some cases, symptoms may even begin to develop before the clutch has reached the end of its lifespan.
Hot spots are one such early warning sign. Although hot spots are technically an issue that develops on the flywheel, they are the result of a worn-out clutch. In a worst-case scenario, a clutch replacement may not even solve the problem. By recognizing when your car is suffering from this issue, you can take the appropriate steps to repair your clutch fully.
What Are Hot Spots?
Although they are a common problem, the term may not be well-known to many drivers. Hot spots develop on the flywheel, slowly fouling the surface over time. As the name implies, these areas are the result of increased heat on the flywheel surface. An especially worn down clutch can lead to hot spot creation due to increased time spent slipping.
If you ever have the chance to look at an old clutch and flywheel outside of the car, then hot spots are easy to notice. They will look like discolored areas on both surfaces, often disrupting the typical rotational pattern of wear. Because of this, hot spots are easy for technicians to spot when performing work on your clutch.
Hot Spot Symptoms
You will probably know when your car develops hot spots. Since these areas do not provide the same friction characteristics as the rest of the flywheel, you will feel chatter or jittering as you engage the clutch. The more hot spots you have, the worse the problem will become. If you are suddenly having a great deal of difficulty smoothly starting your car from a stop, then hot spots may be to blame.
Repairing Hot Spots
Unfortunately, a flywheel with hot spots usually cannot be repaired. Resurfacing the flywheel may leave damaged areas beneath the surface, causing the problem to return in the future. The best way to solve a hot spot problem is to replace your flywheel when you have work done on your clutch. By doing this, you will also protect your new clutch from excess or uneven slipping.
Although it can cost more to replace your flywheel along with your clutch, doing so can save you time, trouble, and money in the future. Clutch repair work always requires significant labor, so cutting corners will never pay.