My car is a manual transmission car and is about 14 years old. I have recently noticed that when I am driving along in gear (ie foot is not on the clutch at all) that when I put my foot down hard on the accelerator that initially my engine revs go up fast and the acceleration then comes on more gradually with the revs seemingly coming down as the engine actually starts accelerating.

My understanding is that when in gear the engine speed should be directly related to the road speed so the engine revs should go up at the same rate as my speed. Instead it feels like my clutch is not fully engaged and it then takes a while to engage.

Is this normal or is this a sign of a problem somewhere in my car? If (as I suspect) it is a problem is it one that I should have fixed urgently or is this just something that happens to cars as they age and I can leave it to get dealt with in its annual service in six months?

Edit to add: The car is a Toyota Celica from 2003.

  • This is my first time posting a question here so please do feel free to suggest any information I need to add to the question or any other way I can improve what I've asked.
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 18:19
  • 2
    The only thing we usually like is the year/make/model added into your question. Gives a frame of reference. Other than that, bang up job as you've provided enough information to give you an answer. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 18:23
  • 8
    This is a slipping clutch. Get it adjusted or it will only get worse.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 18:24
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2: Thanks. Added. I considered adding it in first time but didn't think it seemed relevant. That'll teach me! ;-)
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 18:50
  • @Chenmunka: Thanks. That gives me a term to google now as well! :)
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


This is a well known problem. The clutch is slipping. The plates of the clutch are not gripping together correctly, as you accelerate, the plates move against each other.

If left alone, this will cause excessive wear and the slippage will get worse until the clutch fails completely.

This could be one of two things:

  1. The clutch is wearing out and will need replacing.
  2. The clutch has come out of adjustment - which could also be due to wear. The plates are no longer being forced together strongly enough.

Check the adjustment. How you do this depends upon whether you clutch is cable or hydraulic in operation. On older cars, when cable was more common, the cable could stretch or move out of adjustment more easily. A modern car is more likely to be hydraulic. They go out of adjustment much less often.

If adjustment doesn't help - you need a new clutch.

  • Many thanks for the help. I'll take a quick look under the hood but I suspect I'll probably just end up taking it into my local garage for them to take a look. Its good to understand the problem though. :)
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 9:24

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