I'm having an issue with my 2001 Solara, and I would like to check out a few things myself before I have a mechanic spend lots of time diagnosing the problem.

When the engine is under load -- I press hard on the gas pedal, or the car is in cruise and goes uphill -- the engine spikes from cruising power to 4-5000 RPM. As best as I can tell, the necessary load has dropped (the problem has gotten worse) over the past few months.

My car has about 130k miles; it's a manual transmission, and I'm due for an oil change anyway.

ETA: The check engine light has not lit up.

3 Answers 3


99% that your clutch is beginning to give out. If you get spikes like that under load, it basically means that your clutch plates aren't gripping together. Basically what is happening is that the engine can't grip the plate that moves the wheels, so I just slides along.

If you get a funky-terrible smell, that is your clutch burning. You will probably notice it happening soon.

I'm not sure if ODB or ODBII monitors clutch status, but either way, you are going to need it replaced.

  • 2
    Neither OBD nor OBDII can pick this up. Mar 28, 2014 at 0:34
  • There's no funky smell yet. The car goes to the shop early next week, hopefully ahead of any funky smell. Mar 28, 2014 at 13:49
  • Get it done asap - otherwise you'll find yourself stuck somewhere with no drive...
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 28, 2014 at 18:24
  • Appointment scheduled for Monday morning. I don't use my car much on weekends. Mar 28, 2014 at 19:01
  • To this day they apparently continue to use asbestos in clutches and in brake pads. The only two sanctioned uses of asbestos in North America and Europe—in India it's a different story: it's still accepted in buildings. This makes me alarmed that the smell exits the clutch compartment. It means that there is potentially a trail of asbestos fumes, even while the clutch is still in working condition.
    – Calaf
    May 4, 2016 at 15:30

If the RPM rises without a corresponding change in velocity in a vehicle with a manual transmission you've got a slipping clutch.


Your clutch may be fine but your rear main bearing oil seal may have shrunk causing oil to be deposited on clutch components.Easy fix-pour a bottle or two of auto-trans stop leak into your engine (yes,your engine) which in a very short time will swell seals.Did it to my fj40 4 years ago and it has worked to date.If this does not work you have spent little and if it does you have saved a lot.

  • 1
    How does a treatment for automatic transmissions help a manual transmission's clutch? Apr 7, 2014 at 13:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .