Recently, I was trying to climb a slick frosted country road (near my home), and had to ride the clutch quite a bit to do it. At one point, I got stuck in a snowdrift so that the car wasn't moving at all even with the clutch fully engaged. I didn't keep it up more than a few seconds, but an acrid odor (like burning metal or plastic) rose from the car immediately, and for a while afterwards. Guessing I'd burnt the clutch, I let it cool off for a bit, but then continued driving (since I need to get places and the car's the only option).
Now, the car drives normally in every way, except that the clutch pedal is somewhat easier to press, the clutch seems to disengage somewhat earlier (when the pedal is higher above the floor), and when released, the pedal returns normally about 3/4 of the way, stays there a second or so, then snaps the rest of the way. If I keep my foot just above the pedal, I can feel both the pause and "ping" as it snaps up.
I've driven maybe a hundred miles since then, and as far as I can tell, other than the above the transmission and clutch seem to be working as always -- there's no abnormal noise, no slippage when fully engaged, no apparent loss of torque, no more stench, etc.
I'd like to ask your opinion as to what the problem is, and just how badly I've damaged the car. :) Do you think it's something that might go away on its own, or at least can be ignored, or should I take it to a repair shop soonest?
Thanks in advance for your advice,
PS: About the car: 2005 Skoda Fabia Combi (1st generation), about 250,000 km (~150k miles), manual transmission (obviously), front-wheel drive, 1.2 liter V3 non-turbocharged petrol engine @ 47 kW. Not sure if or when transmission-related parts were changed -- not first owner. In the <2 years I've had the car, there've never been any clutch- or transmission-related problems. Then again, I wouldn't describe myself as a super-gentle driver, and I drive quite a lot, so prior wear is certainly possible. I've ridden the clutch before (on that same icy slope, which I can't avoid to get home), but there had never been this sort of consequences until now.