How to Adjust a Hydraulic Clutch in 2 Steps

mechanic holding wrench in front of a car
What You'll Need
What You'll Need

A hydraulic clutch is a self-adjusting clutch. Since the friction material on the clutch plate will wear down over time, the hydraulic clutch will automatically adjust to compensate for this loss. If you aren’t comfortable with the point at which your clutch engages, you can easily adjust it by following the steps below.

Step 1 – Find the Pushrod

Your first step in adjusting a hydraulic clutch is to locate the slave-cylinder pushrod and determine if it is adjustable or not. The only way to adjust a hydraulic clutch is by adjusting the length of the slave-cylinder pushrod. If your pushrod is not adjustable, you may be able to find a suitable replacement at a junkyard that you can install.

First, locate the clutch master cylinder body. Follow the metal tubing coming from the rear of the clutch master cylinder body. It will turn into flexible hosing as it connects to the slave cylinder. Inside this piece is a seal, piston, rubber boot, push rod, locking nut, and adjustable nut.

Step 2 – Adjust the Pushrod

Now that you have located the pushrod located inside the slave cylinder, you can use your wrench to adjust it. Turning the adjustable nut to make the push rod longer will give the clutch more time to engage, while turning the adjustable nut the opposite way to make the push rod shorter will shorten the length of time to engage.

If you have any signs of a bad clutch master cylinder while performing clutch tests or these adjustments, you should replace or fix it promptly.

Adjust a Hydraulic Clutch in 2 Steps FAQ

Do you have to adjust hydraulic clutches?

While some clutches need regular adjustments because they will shift slightly due to use, most hydraulic clutches do not need regular adjustments. Typically, hydraulic clutches only need adjustment when something in the clutch system fails, such as a leak developing, or because they have been in use for several years.

However, adjusting hydraulic clutches takes little more than changing the height of the pedal, in most cases.

How do I know if my clutch is out of adjustment?

You can usually tell that a clutch needs adjusting by noticing how it feels. If the clutch feels "spongey" or loose, or if you notice it sticking or vibrating, the clutch may need to be adjusted.

What are common hydraulic clutch problems?

When there is a problem with hydraulic clutches, it is usually due to an issue involving the hydraulic fluid. Sometimes, the wrong type of fluid is used or a contaminant, such as engine oil, gets into the fluid and causes issues.

How do you get air out of a hydraulic clutch line?

Removing air from a hydraulic clutch line is known as "bleeding" the clutch. You'll have to jack up the car to access the clutch and put on protective eyewear and gloves to protect yourself from the fumes and liquids.

Place an eight to 10-inch section of clear hose in an empty plastic bottle and place the other end of the hose on the bleed screw. Next, check the cylinder that holds the brake fluid and check the level.

The fluid should be at the full line marked on the reservoir. Add fluid if it is not level with this line, because the engine will draw in air as you bleed the clutch line otherwise.

Check the hose and place the soda bottle with the hose in it in an upright position. Turn the bleed screw counterclockwise with a wrench.

Have someone press and hold the clutch pedal. The fluid will drain into the bottle.

What happens if clutch is misaligned?

When a clutch is misaligned, it is more difficult to shift gears. This can turn into a fatal problem because shifting gears is an essential element of driving at the correct speeds.