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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,

Mike

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.

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The fact that something is different with the operation of your clutch warrants a visit to the shop and continued driving could possibly lead to an accident if what ever is "different" gets lodged or breaks free. It could be a surprise if the vehicle suddenly doesn't move or stop as expected.

The last time I experienced similar symptoms it turned out to be something bent in the clutch pedal assembly itself from aggressive clutch pedal activation. If you are willing to get into the uncomfortable position with a flash light, and operate the pedal with your hand, you may be able to determine if your pedal height and "snapping" is in this area or inside the bell housing.

  • Alright, thanks. That sounds reasonable. I'll take it to the shop, then. I was going to go there in a few weeks anyway on an unrelated issue (measure and possibly replace old battery); I'll call them and see if they can slot me in sooner. It's pretty snowy where I am right now, and on these roads I'd rather not have the car stop responding mid-drive. – Michael Janský Feb 7 at 3:02

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