How To Change Hydraulic Clutch Fluid

How To Change Hydraulic Clutch Fluid

Every car owner understands the importance of vehicle service and maintenance. A well-maintained car offers a smooth and enjoyable driving experience. 

Car owners who consistently schedule routine check-ups with their mechanic, save both time and money. Their car is well maintained and devoid of any potential major issues. However, there are certain small but important maintenance tasks that a car owner can perform himself. Though, visiting your regular mechanic is recommended. If you have the required tools, anyone can perform the following easy maintenance tasks like changing the motor oil, brake fluid, replacing the engine air filter, replacing the tires, changing hydraulic clutch fluid etc. One such maintenance task any car owner can perform himself is changing the hydraulic clutch fluid. 

Changing the hydraulic clutch fluid is easy and basic maintenance tasks. And to clear the confusion, “brake fluid” and “clutch fluid” are one and the same. Brake fluid when used in a hydraulic system is labeled as hydraulic clutch fluid. Manufacturers label this fluid as “clutch fluid” just to avoid any confusion. The clutch fluid facilitates a smooth transfer of force from the clutch pedal to the clutch slave cylinder.  

There is a hydraulic clutch system in every manual transmission vehicle of the 80s & the 90s. This system keeps a seamless connection between the clutch pedal and the transmission. To keep this system functioning at its best, regularly changing the hydraulic clutch fluid is recommended. 

In this guide, we will walk you through a step-by-step procedure to change the hydraulic clutch fluid.

Tools and materials you need

First you must go through the manufacturer’s manual and check if there are any special instructions regarding the hydraulic clutch fluid. However, Before you start changing the hydraulic clutch fluid, it’s helpful to understand the tools and materials you’ll need. This job requires two people, so you’ll want someone to help you.

You’ll need the following tools and materials. 

1) Jack and jack stands
2) Wrenches
3) Sockets 
4) Brake fluid (check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the correct type)
5) Clear plastic tubing
6) Funnel
7) Container 
8) Safety goggles and gloves
9) Clean rags or paper towels

Step 1 - Locate the Bleeder Valve and Attach Tubing

The first step is to locate and identify the bleeder valve. Carefully check your clutch system and try to spot the bleeder valve which is generally attached to the bottom of the clutch slave cylinder. However, location of the bleeder valve depends on the specific car model. Just follow the hydraulic line leading to the clutch slave cylinder and you’ll easily find the bleeder valve with a rubber or plastic cap covering it. Once you find the bleeder valve, properly fit the plastic tubing around it. 

It’s essential to consult your car’s service manual or repair guide for precise instructions on locating the bleeder valve, as the exact placement can vary between different car models.

Step 2 - Check the Fluid Level

Maintaining adequate fluid level is non-negotiable. If you want the hydraulic clutch system to function smoothly, then make sure it never runs dry. Low fluid level or no fluid at all may fill the hydraulic system with air, and in turn negatively impact its performance and effectiveness. The hydraulic fluid is a power source, so make sure your you’ve the required fluid level. Before starting the hydraulic clutch fluid replacement process, just check the fluid level once.

Step 3 - Pump and Depress the Clutch

This is a very important step. Before you begin the hydraulic clutch fluid change process, you need to prepare the hydraulic system. This task requires one more person. So call your friend and ask him to pump the clutch pedal multiple times or hold it down. This continuous pumping and holding pressurizes the hydraulic system and makes it perfectly ready for the hydraulic clutch fluid change process.

Step 4 - Open and Close the Bleeder Valve

You’ll need a wrench to perform this task. Ask your friend to gently hold the clutch pedal. While he is holding the clutch pedal, you unscrew the bleeder valve and allow the old fluid, air bubbles, and debris pass through the attached tubing. Once the valve is empty, lightly secure it as you’ll have to loosen it again. Close the valve before your friend releases the clutch pedal. Avoid leaving it open for a longer period or partially closed, as this might allow air to enter the system.

Step 5 - Release the Clutch Pedal

Double-check the fluid level. If needed, add more fluid to maintain the adequate level. Now, while you’re checking the fluid level, your friend might be keeping the clutch pedal pressed. And if you ask him to release it, the clutch pedal will stay in the pressed position. Your friend will have to pull it upwards with his hand or toe. The clutch pedal may stay down during the hydraulic fluid change process due to air in the system or incomplete hydraulic engagement.

Step 6 - Fill the Hydraulic Clutch Fluid

Open the cap of the clutch fluid reservoir. Use dot 3 or dot 4 brake fluid depending upon the manufacture specifications. Add the fluid to the required level.

Step 7 - Close the Bleeder Screw

This is again a crucial step. Properly secure the bleeder valve to prevent air from entering the system. Do this step once the fluid runs clear. Avoid over-tightening and securely tight it to prevent any leaks.

Last step

Carefully remove the Tubing, avoid spilling of fluid and dispose of Brake Fluid.

Double check Fluid Levels and be ready for the test Drive.

Conclusion

Car owners should be more responsible and take car maintenance seriously. Prioritize regular check-ups and keep your car well-maintained. From offering a smooth driving experience to saving time and money: the advantages of a  well-maintained car are numerous:  While certain maintenance tasks require professional expertise, there are essential tasks that every car owner can tackle independently. One such task is changing the hydraulic clutch fluid, a process that helps maintain the optimal functioning of the clutch system.

To initiate the hydraulic clutch fluid change, gather the necessary tools and follow these straightforward steps to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your vehicle’s hydraulic clutch system.

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