The flywheel is a metal disk that rests on the end of the crankshaft and connects the engine to the transmission via the clutch. When you release the clutch pedal, the clutch disk presses against the flywheel, transferring its rotational motion to the transmission. A failing or damaged flywheel is not able to perform its function which may result in poor acceleration and shifting, and even cause an accident.
In addition to its primary function of connecting the engine to the transmission, it serves another essential purpose. It stores rotational energy and uses it later, helping to start the engine or accelerate. Besides, the flywheel smoothes out some minute misalignment in the operation of the pistons as well as between the transmission and the engine. Thanks to a ring gear around its circumference, the flywheel also allows the starter to mate with the engine when you turn the ignition key or press the start button.
On all vehicles equipped with a manual transmission, you will find a flywheel. Don’t get confused between a flywheel and a flex plate in vehicles with an automatic transmission. While they perform a similar function, delivering engine power to the transmission, they differ in design and construction, which is why they are not interchangeable.
Signs of a bad flywheel
Driving with a failed or worn-out flywheel can be very dangerous and put your life at risk. Due to your malfunctioning flywheel, you can lose control over your vehicle which may result in an accident. To prevent that from happening, you should be aware of the most common warning signs of a bad flywheel.
- Abnormal noise from your starter when it’s engaged
- Rattling sound when releasing the clutch pedal
- You clutch is not engaged smoothly
- Slipping or self-changing gears
- Lots of vibration felt from the floor or clutch pedal
- Burning smell from your clutch
- Clutch chatters or drags
- You can’t shift up or down
- Pulsation felt through your brake pedal
A damaged or worn-out flywheel is not repairable, so the only way to fix the problem is to install a replacement. Since the flywheel is an integral part, removing the transmission and clutch is required to reach its location. Due to this, the job involves a lot of labor and costs a pretty penny.
Your mechanic will need to remove the transmission and clutch, and only then will be able to replace the flywheel if needed. After reinstalling the transmission, the mechanic will check the operation and alignment of both clutch and transmission to make sure everything performs as it should.
Can I fix the problem myself?
The flywheel is a key component of your vehicle’s powertrain, so it must be installed precisely in the correct position. That’s why if you’re not a professional mechanic, leave this job to a qualified technician who will take care of it using professional tools and equipment. This will allow you to avoid potential damage to the powertrain and will save you a lot of headache.