My car is making a sound which resembles two metal surfaces lightly scraping/scratching/grinding together at speed.

Typical Scenario: The car is very cold. If I rev the engine between 2k and 3k, I will hear the sound when I release the accelerator. The car doesn't have to be moving, nor in gear. Sound lasts 1-2 seconds when triggered.

The problem disappears when the engine has warmed up. It doesn't reappear until another exceptionally cold night.

The car: Golf MK5 GTi (2.0 turbo TFSI), 2006 model with 140k miles.

Any ideas what this might be? The fact it happens in neutral has thrown me completely.

Thanks for any help

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Feb 4, 2018 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


This sounds like the classic symptoms of the clutch release bearing failing. In neutral (and all the time in fact) the release bearing is in contact with the pressure plate fingers which causes it to rotate and, if it is failing, then make a noise.

This does mean, on most cars, taking the gearbox off...

  • Thank you for your response. I've looked through the service history for anything clutch-related and noticed that the transmission fluid hasn't been changed with the service cycle. Worse, beneath the car, I've noticed there's a small leak from the transmission. Would this in any way affect the release bearing you've mentioned?
    – James
    Feb 4, 2018 at 22:05
  • If your car is equipped with DSG then yes, because it uses a 'wet' clutch that needs the transmission fluid. If you have a manual transmission then the bearing might still be going bad, but probably due to regular wear and not related to an oil leak.
    – MadMarky
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:18

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