5 Symptoms of a Bad Flywheel (and Replacement Cost)

Experiencing strange transmission issues like gear slippage, a vibrating clutch pedal, or a burning smell? A worn out flywheel might be to blame.

Let’s go over the common symptoms of a bad flywheel, as well as how much it’s going to cost you to get the flywheel replaced.

flywheel replacement cost

Related: 6 Symptoms of a Faulty Clutch Fork

Top 5 Bad Flywheel Symptoms

#1 – Gears Slipping

gears slipping

Often, as you try to change gears while driving, the gears may slip. This typically happens when attempting to shift to a higher gear (example: 3rd to 4th), the engine revs but you can tell no power is being transferred to the wheels. It’s happens more often in higher gears and when you push down the accelerator pedal more than just a little bit.

This is often a direct result of a clutch that’s worn out. Allowing the clutch to slip will eventually cause the flywheel to wear out as well. If you continue to let it happen, the gear slippage will only get worse.

You may start to experience grinding noises from the pressure plate and eventually, the flywheel other parts in the clutch assembly will overheat and cause them to warp or even crack. Finally, if the clutch and flywheel are not replaced, you simply won’t be able to shift at all.

Riding the clutch pedal while driving, slowly engaging/disengaging the clutch while your foot is on the gas pedal, or quickly disengaging the clutch while at a high RPM (ie: drag racing) are the usual culprits to a worn out flywheel and/or clutch.

A slight delay in clutch engagement or soft clutch pedal are signs of slipping gears.

#2 – Burning Smell

burning smell

Aside from gear slippage, you will notice a burning smell that will consume the interior of the vehicle. This smell is generated when the clutch is being used improperly, whether from a bad flywheel or an inexperienced driver.

Clutches have facings have materials intended to reduce the amount of noise the clutch makes during operation. The facings of the clutch produce a lot of heat due to friction from improper use  which essentially causes the surface to glaze over from the heat. The result is a strong pungent, acrid smell that can become quite noticeable.

#3 – Clutch Chatter

bad flywheel symptoms

This occurs when instead of smoothly engaging, the clutch “skips” along the flywheel. It repeatedly grabs and releases which feels like a stutter or vibration when the clutch is released. While it can happen in any gear, it’s most common when starting from a complete stop.

While a warped flywheel is sometimes the cause, clutch chatter can be difficult to diagnose as the clutch disc, pressure plate, or release bearing are often at fault whether the parts are worn, warped, broken, or contaminated by oil due to an engine or transmission leak.

#4 – Clutch Pedal Vibrates

clutch pedal vibrates

Along with this, there will be vibrations coming from the clutch pedal or floor of your vehicle each time you operate the clutch. These vibrations indicate that the flywheel’s spring mounts have gone bad.

As you may know, the spring mechanism is what normally reduces the vibrations that are generated from the clutch being used. This is only more proof that you have a bad flywheel and it needs to be replaced.

#5 – Clutch Drag

hard to shift into gear

This is the opposite of a clutch slipping. Instead of the clutch not engaging, the clutch simply won’t completely release. You’ll experience various levels of gear grinding when attempting to change gears or even the complete failure of putting the car into first gear when starting from a standstill.

Clutch drag isn’t a failure of the flywheel itself but rather the bearing or bushing in the flywheel or crankshaft assembly.

So far, we’ve discussed the most common symptoms of a bad flywheel. There may be other symptoms as well but they are harder to diagnose because there are other problems which could cause them to occur.

But the easy thing about recognizing the symptoms of a bad flywheel is that they’re almost all the same, no matter what type of manual transmission vehicle you are driving. The best thing for you to do is to bring your vehicle to a professional automotive technician if you notice any of these symptoms happening.

Flywheel Replacement Cost

Best places to order parts?  See: 19 Best Online Auto Parts Stores

flywheel replacement

The replacement cost of a flywheel can range considerably. There are some flywheels which cost under $50 while others cost as much as $400 or more. It all depends on what type of car you drive, how durable the flywheel is, and whether the part is an exact OEM replacement or aftermarket. In addition, clutch and/or release bearing replacement may also be necessary.

Then, of course, you have to consider the labor costs of doing the replacement job. Since most auto mechanics charge about $90 to $110 per hour, you could be looking at paying close to $500 just for labor.

The reason for this is that the flywheel is attached to the crankshaft in an engine and it is harder for the mechanics to take out and replace. This requires more time which means you’ll be paying more money.

In total, you could be looking at anywhere between $550 and $1,000 on average. If you’re an experienced mechanic who knows how to replace a flywheel or clutch or you have a friend who is, then it would be better to use this option rather than paying for the labor. It will save you a lot of money this way.

Mark Stevens


  1. I am totally confused by the diagnosis I had from a garage today to say i have to replace the DM flywheel in my 2015 mini – quoted £2000 with labour
    I was charged for the diagnosis but now I am suspicious since reading this article .. I have never had a single issue with the clutch ever . so nothing in this article applies.. My mini sounds like a tractor when it starts in the morning and is noisy for the first 5 minutes , after that is seems ok .. so by the time I get to a mechanic it has stopped making the noise and no mechanics seem to want to investigate further ..except the one that said its the flywheel and could cause £3.5 damage if I don’t get it done ..

    1. Do you notice excessive vibration while the Mini sounds like a tractor? Try taking a video of a cold start and see if that helps with diagnosis. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how that points to the flywheel either, especially if there is no associated vibration. The flywheel is a very heavy part that is also balanced. If it were to start to come apart, I would expect the vehicle to shake rather violently.

      How does the car shift? Is it otherwise OK to drive? Do you notice any strange vibrations while shifting?

  2. My mini cooper countrymen will not engage I can move the shifter without pushing in the clutch is this just the clutch or no way to know tell you drop the transmission

    1. When you push in the clutch, are you still able to move the shifter to change gears? Does it work the same whether the car is running or not?

  3. It caught my attention when you said that a burning smell in the interior of your vehicle is one of the signs of a bad flywheel. With this in mind, I will be sure to find a professional that offers repair services for flywheels. Apart from the burning odors that are always present in my sedan, I also noticed that there are vibrations coming from the clutch pedal whenever I am driving.

  4. my vauxall astra diesel 010 is vibrating violently mostly when slowing down and speeding up. had everthing checked off a certified garage .he thinks its the fly wheel checke everthing else could this be the problem .thanks jimmy

    1. Could be. It’s one of those things you probably won’t know for sure until you drop the transmission and look at the flywheel.

  5. My flywheel is a little bit bent can this be fixed without having to buy a new one and how do I do it. My truck is a automatic.

    1. As a general rule, the flywheel should be replaced or resurfaced when the clutch is changed. The factory service manual may specify otherwise depending on the vehicle.

  6. Sounds like its just a worn out throwout bearing. Understanding how the clutch functions will conclude this.
    This is a big job if you decide to repair it.
    I would suggest that you might as well replace the clutch assembly and also the flywheel since your that deep in there. Goodluck!

  7. Hi,
    My Audi S5 6 Speed is making a rattling/chattering while the car is in neutral. Once clutch pedal is depressed sound goes away, clutch pedal out sounds returns. No slippage, no grinding, car drives fine and dandy, just that noise is scary to me. Went to several shops and have gotten different results from all. Bad throwout bearing, too going to need a transmission rebuild. No shop has been able to really to feel confident on their diagnosis they give me, more like a good guess. Any ideas?

    1. Unfortunately, this type of issue will probably be hard to diagnose without dropping the transmission and taking a look at the clutch assembly.

      Before you have that done, start with the simple things: on some vehicles, the slave cylinder will squeak or chirp against the clutch fork when it needs lubrication. This is likely not cause for concern and should be an easy fix. Do some research on your specific year S5 and see if this is a common problem. On my car, I would describe the sound as a chirp or “crickets”.

      Take note of when the chatter occurs. Do you feel it when you engage the clutch as you’re taking off from a stop? Do you only feel it in neutral? The more information you can provide the shop, the more accurate their diagnosis is likely to be.

      A rattle or chatter as you describe could be something loose in the transmission, a worn throw out bearing, an unbalanced flywheel, or broken pressure plate fingers.

  8. I just had a mechanic quote ~$1k for an automatic flex plate (flywheel) replacement on 2013 unlimited Sport…8 hours of labor due to having to pull the transmission to replace

    1. OMG did u get it repaired I have the same issues on a 05 Equinox smh it’s not even worth 1k do u have and alternative solution 😞😞

  9. Hi,
    I have a two years old Citroen Berlingo. At the start appear abnormal noise and then the engine stops. After that everything is normal. It is turn up ones or twice a month.
    Service stuff sed that this malfunction is unique in the world and now they have decided to change flywheel. Are they on the right way, because they are not sure? If you have any idea, please help me, at least with a little hint.

    1. 2014 impala won’t start, won’t even turn over. Sound like battery is dead. Battery is ok, alternator is ok, tried 2 starters. Will start 1 or 2 times, back to beening dead. Won’t turn over.

  10. Just had my duel mass fly wheel and clutch changed plus starter motor on my ford Mondeo now I have vibrating on the clutch took it back to the garage he checked every thing out and said I have a faulty duel mass fly wheel and will need to replace it as its worse now than before I had it changed, any advise welcome.

  11. Sorry i cannot answer your question but what i just read intuitively about flywheels and clutches has just stopped me buying an Audi A2 with flywheel problems, you are surely saved in my favourites and thank you guys youre fab x Debbie.

  12. My 99 Grand PrixGTP is making a rattling noise. I’ve been told it’s the flywheel(flexplate). You’ve explained the manual transmission but not the automatic. How can I be sure? (It overheated at one point,all that has been repaired with new parts, and even changed out supercharger with one from salvage). Also, does the engine have to be removed to replace the flexplate? Thanks

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