Clutch replacement is a rare necessity. Many drivers never need to replace the clutch even after decades of driving. Engines with higher torque, like any Tdi diesel, VW VR6 & W8, or Audi V6 & V8, can be operated with minimal clutch slippage. When clutches fail, they can slip, chatter or fail to disengage properly. Clutch slippage is the most common, and is generally due to age and wear. Chattering is when the clutch vibrates when engaged. Usually the problem is minor and can be avoided by releasing the clutch with lower power and less slippage. Violent chatter usually has a more serious problem such as a failed pilot bearing, and should be repaired. Failing to disengage correctly can cause extreme wear and damage to the transmission. Sometimes a first sign of failure is that the clutch is disengaging and engaging either too close to the floor or right at the very top of the pedal throw.
The flywheel should always be resurfaced during a clutch job, but if it is a dual mass flywheel, it must be replaced. Single mass replacements are available, but are noisy. Karmakanix always uses new clutch components, as rebuilt clutch covers and discs are just too big a risk. We use Sachs and Luk brands, the two original equipment manufacturers.
The bolts for clutch components should be hand tightened progressively and torqued with a torque wrench as per the factory instructions. Tightening bolts with just an air gun is a recipe for future disaster, and may not ever operate correctly. The correct lubricants need to be used, one special type for the clutch disc to transmission shaft splines, and we use a synthetic grease for the throw out bearing and pivots. It just takes a little more time to do the job carefully and correctly.
Most customers are very adept at feeling whether the clutch works right or not. If you think your clutch has an issue or has changed how it works, just ask your Service Advisor for a quick test drive with a technician.