I got stuck in the flood traffic going uphill and had to ride my clutch for several minutes due to an idiot 2" behind me. It started smelling really bad then clutch went out. Had it towed to garage. They drove it several times and said it was fine. I picked it up and drove it just fine but it still smells. Not quite as bad. Is it the slave cylinder. Should I be worried. How long will it smell.

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    I've no idea how long it will smell, but if you learned how to do a hill start with manual transmission, you wouldn't have caused the problem in the first place - unless your handbrake also doesn't work, of course. In any case, if somebody is literally only 2 inches behind you in slow traffic, it won't do any damage to anything if you collide (and at least in the UK, insurance companies always put the blame on the rear driver in a rear-end collision).
    – alephzero
    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:43
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Agree with alephzero about people on your tail. Really, all you would have had to do is roll back just once and they would have backed off some ... or suffer the consequences. Glad you made it out of the flood zone, though. Oct 13, 2018 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


When you have that smell, it is the clutch friction disk which you're smelling, not the clutch slave/master cylinder, nor any of the other mechanicals at that. When you have "that smell", you have overheated your clutch components and they have burned somewhat, causing the smell. When this happens, there is damage to the clutch friction components, but how much damage is done cannot be known without tearing it all apart and inspecting.

If it is working now and seeming to do so without ill effects, I'd not worry about it too much for the time being. Just understand the lifespan of the clutch has been shortened, but by how much is anybody's guess. Continue to use it in good health until it no longer holds at all (starts to slip). At that point, you'll know it's time for a replacement.

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