How to Adjust a Clutch in Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

If your clutch pedal doesn't have any more free travel in it or it's hard to get your truck in gear without grinding the gears in the transmission, then its time to do a clutch adjustment. In this article I will go through the steps on how to adjust your Eaton Easy Pedal style clutch.

Under The Hood:

 How to Adjust a Clutch in a Semi Truck

The first thing you need to do is remove the inspection cover plate from the bottom of the transmission's clutch housing. Take a rag and wipe the loose grease out of the housing. Now check the grease clumps for any pieces of metal(clutch springs).

Hopefully you didn't find any metal in the grease of clutch housing, but it you did that means you need a new clutch!! Lets say the clutch is ok. Your next thing to look for is the adjuster bolt on the clutch. Make sure the adjuster is at the bottom were you can reach it with a socket and ratchet.

With your buddy in the truck, have them push the clutch pedal all the way down to the floor and hold it there. Take a 5/8" socket and put it on the adjuster bolt head. Push on your ratchet with a screwdriver or pry bar. While pushing in turn the adjuster bolt to the right(follow the arrow on the clutch plate). Just turn a couple of turns at a time. NOTE: once you start to turn the bolt stop pushing on it so it can lock at the next lock position.

After making a couple of turns and the bolt has "popped" back out to the lock position have your buddy let off the clutch pedal. Take a long(about 3 of 4 inch long) bolt with a 1/2" head on it and put it between the clutch brake and throw out bearing. If the bolt head fits in there loosely then the clutch brake adjustment is were it needs to be.

Now you need to check for "free travel" in the clutch pedal. On a Peterbilt 379 it should be about 2 to 2 1/4 inches of movement before there is pressure on the pedal. On all the other trucks out there you will need to measure it at the throw out bearing and clutch fork. There should be about 1/8" between the bearing and fork.

If you need to adjust the free travel in the pedal all you need to do is adjust the clutch linkage under the cab or at the firewall.

Now you are finished and ready to go trucking!!!

Items you will need

  • socket and wrench set

  • flash light

  • a long bolt with a 1/2" head

  • long screwdriver/pry bar

  • buddy to help you

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Toyota Corolla

Check beneath the hood. This should always be the first step when seeking to adjust the clutch of your Toyota Corolla for it could save you time and money. If the level of the clutch fluid in the reservoir is low, replace it. If the fluid consistently drains faster than it should, check for a cracked reservoir and replace it.

Adjust the clutch by changing the pedal height of your Toyota Corolla. Loosen the stop nut, get the clutch into the position you like and then tighten the nut. Test it to see whether the pedal engages where you would like. If not, go on to the next step.

Alter or adjust the free play in the clutch pedal of your Toyota Corolla go to the master cylinder and loosen the lock nut. You can move the rod up or down, according to your preference. Toyota recommends a range of 5mm to 15mm.

Change the distance the push rod of the slave cylinder moves before actuating the clutch fork in your Toyota Corolla. After loosening the lock nut, hold it with a wrench as you turn the push rod's tip.

Items you will need

  • Clutch fluid

  • Wrench or wrenches

  • Pliers

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Ford Focus

Check the reservoir for the clutch fluid beneath the hood. If it's low, fill it, and then pump the clutch pedal several times to restore the hydraulic pressure in the line. The reservoir is located on the left side of the engine bay, not far from the firewall that separates the bay from the cabin of the Ford Focus.

Bleed the clutch system if filling the reservoir didn't work. As the system is hydraulic, air bubbles in the line can adversely affect the clutch's performance. Use a bleeder kit to do this yourself. Simply fill the tank with clutch fluid, pressurize it, open the bleed valve that's located on the cylinder near the left side of the engine bay near the firewall, and insert the tank's hose. The pressure from the bleeder kit's tank expels the old clutch fluid and replaces it with new fluid.

Adjust the height of the clutch pedal in your Ford Focus by looking beneath the dash to the top of the pedal. There's a knob on the pedal that you can loosen with an Allen wrench. Change the height of the pedal, test it out, and then retighten the knob on the clutch pedal.

Look to the master cylinder and the slave cylinder next. If these are leaking, this might be the cause of the clutch problems you are experiencing in your Ford Focus. The slave cylinder is located near the clutch housing, on the left.

Examine the pressure plate and flywheel which is located inside the clutch housing. As the clutch works due to friction, the flywheel and the pressure plate can wear over time, and no amount of adjustment or refilling of the reservoir will work. If these clutch components are worn, replace them.

Items you will need

  • Bleeder kit

  • Allen wrench

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Toyota Tacoma

Check the pedal height of the Toyota Tacoma's clutch before adjusting it. The proper factory specs are 170 to 180mm (or 6.69 to 7.08 inches) from the floor to the top of the pedal (where you step). You can adjust this up or down as long as the pedal height remains within the specified guidelines. Look at the top of the clutch pedal for the adjuster knob.

Change the freeplay of the clutch pedal in your Toyota Tacoma by loosening the lock nut and turning the push rod until you are able to get it into the recommended range of 5 to 15mm. Tighten the nut, and readjust the pedal height if necessary.

Find out what the release point is of the Toyota Tacoma's clutch. If it is not within the necessary specs, you may have to adjust it. Begin by pulling on the lever of the parking brake and installing a "wheel stopper."

Start your Tacoma's engine, let it idle, and then slowly shift your truck into reverse. When you feel the gears begin to connect, press down on the clutch and check the distance between when the noise of the gear stops and the point where you've stepped on the pedal all the way. The release point, as it's called, should be at least 1 inch.

Double-check everything if the release point is not where it should be. Check the pedal height again, check the play in the push rod and the pedal, bleed the clutch lines to rid the system of any air bubbles, and also check the clutch cover and the disc as well. Make the necessary adjustments, replace any components that you can't adjust, and test the release point of the Tacoma's clutch again.

Items you will need

  • Wrench or pliers

  • Measuring tape

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Kia Spectra

Check the level of the clutch fluid in the Kia Spectra's reservoir that's located in the rear left of the engine bay. The Kia Spectra actually used the brake master as its source of fluid for the clutch. Add fluid to the recommended level if it's low, then pump the clutch pedal to restore the pressure in the line. If the fluid level doesn't remain the same, you might have a leak in the system. Replace or repair any leaking parts.

Adjust the height of the clutch pedal by turning the knob at the top of the pedal of the Kia Spectra. This changes the point at which the pedal engages. Test the pedal and tighten the adjuster knob when you are done.

Bleed the clutch to remove any air bubbles from the system. Open the bleeder valve that's located on the slave cylinder (near clutch housing) and insert a tube. Put the other end of the tube into a clear container with clutch fluid. Pump the clutch pedal until you don't see any air bubbles in the container. Replace the fluid in the brake master cylinder.

Inspect the components of the Kia Spectra's clutch: the flywheel, pressure plate and disc. Replace the clutch components if they're worn.

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Saturn Ion

Check the reservoir under the good of the Saturn Ion for the level of the clutch fluid. This is an important consideration, because the Saturn Ion's clutch is hydraulic. If the level of fluid is too low, this could cause the clutch to perform poorly, or not at all. Fill up the reservoir, pump the clutch pedal a few times, and you will find that the clutch pedal has been effectively adjusted.

Bleed the clutch system of your Saturn Ion if your pedal is higher than usual or doesn't respond as it should. This may be due to air bubbles trapped in the lines. Attach one end of a hose to the bleeder valve on the slave cylinder (near clutch housing), and the other in a clear container that has clutch fluid. Pump the pedal a few times until you see no more air bubbles in the system. Close the valve, and add more fluid to the reservoir if needed.

Adjust the clutch pedal height in the Saturn Ion by looking at the top of the clutch pedal inside the Ion's cabin. Turn the knob to raise or lower the pedal as you would like.

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Mitsubishi Eclipse

Check the level of the clutch fluid in the Mitsubishi Eclipse's reservoir. Top it off if necessary, and pump the clutch pedal a few times in order to restore the pressure in the hydraulic lines.

Bleed the system if the clutch adjustment is unchanged after filling the reservoir. You might also want to check for cracks or leaks in the reservoir as well.

Test the Mitsubishi Eclipse to see whether the clutch is dragging. Put the car in first gear on a flat surface, step on the clutch and rev up the engine to about 74,000 RPM. If the vehicle stays put, you're good. If it creeps forward, however, you must go on to the next step.

Loosen the nut on the master cylinder at the top of the clutch pedal assembly, and turn the rod clockwise a full turn. Have someone lie beneath the can and push on the rod of the slave cylinder. Keep on turning the rod until the person cannot push the slave cylinder's rod any more.

Reverse the rod of the master cylinder 1/2 turn, and have the person push on the rod of the slave cylinder again. Keep on reversing 1/2 turn to the left until the person can successfully push the slave cylinder's rod. This should be the adjustment Mitsubishi Eclipse's clutch needed.

Replace the clutch assembly if nothing else works.

Items you will need

  • Clutch fluid

  • Wheel blocks

  • Wrench

  • Pliers

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Toyota Camry

Look beneath the hood to see what the level of clutch fluid in the reservoir of the Toyota Camry is. The reservoir that's located near the left rear of the engine bay. Top off the fluid to the recommended level, and pump the clutch pedal to restore the pressure. If the fluid doesn't stay at the same level, you may have a leak in the system. Check the cylinders, the reservoir and the lines, and replace any faulty part.

Adjust the height of the clutch of the Toyota Camry. After putting the parking brake on, and putting a block behind the wheel, start up the engine and let it idle.

Move the shift lever into reverse, and let the gears connect as you adjust the clutch in the Toyota Camry.

Press the pedal down slowly and find out at what the distance of the stroke is between the point where the gears release point and "full stroke end position." Measure this distance and record it.

Loosen the "jam nut" that's located on the push rod of the Toyota Camry, and turn the rod around once or twice to the right. Test the clutch adjustment, and repeat if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Clutch fluid

  • Wheel blocks

  • Wrench and pliers

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Mazda6

Check the reservoir that holds the clutch fluid in your Mazda6. If it's low, fill it to the recommended level. Pump the pedal a few times to restore the pressure. This could be all the adjustment you need.

Measure the height of your pedal and free play in the clutch pedal. Write this down so you can return the pedal to these measurements should you make a mistake. You can also measure at which point the clutch engages for the same reason (in case you make a mistake).

Engage the parking brake, and set wheel chocks behind the wheels so they won't move. Start the Mazda6, and utilize a FFT as a clutch stop. Attempt to shift into reverse. If you are able to do so smoothly, add another FFT until it begins to resist. This is the engagement point of the clutch. Measure the height of the piled FFT's and record that number. That number represents the height of the "engage point."

Alter the clutch engagement point if it is not in the recommended specs. In the European manual, it is recommended that the engagement point of the Mazda6 be 20 mm, which is less than 1 inch.

Remove the FFT's, then loosen the "locking nut," which is located on the master cylinder pushrod of the Mazda6, by using a 12mm wrench. Re-tighten the nut after you have made the adjustment.

Adjust the clutch pedal of the Mazda6 by loosening the bolt at the top of the clutch pedal with a 1/2 inch wrench. Move the pedal up or down until you achieve 1 mm to 3 mm of free play.

Measure the clutch pedal height to see whether your adjustment is good. Test drive the vehicle, then adjust the clutch further, or keep it as is.

Items you will need

  • 12mm wrench

  • 1/2-inch wrench

  • Ruler

  • Wheel chocks

  • Light (flash light, work light)

  • Floor felt

 How to Adjust the Clutch on My Ford F-100

Park the F-100 on a paved, level surface. Set the parking brake.

Raise the front of the F-100 with a jack and support with jack stands.

Move underneath the transmission area. You will see a threaded rod that connects the clutch pedal pivot arm to to throwout bearing lever. Use a wrench to hold the hex shaped end of the rod and use another wrench to loosen the locknut.

Turn the hex shaped end of the rod to make the rod shorter or longer as needed to obtain a clutch pedal free play movement of about one inch. This means the clutch pedal will move about one inch before there is any resistance in the pedal. Resistance is felt when the throwout bearing is pushed against the clutch pressure plate. Once the proper distance is set, tighten the lock nut.

Raise the front of the F-100, remove the jack stands and lower it to the ground.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench set

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Ford Mustang

Try to lift the clutch of your Mustang with your toe while you sit in the driver's seat. This is the simplest way of adjusting your clutch. This simple action actuates the "self-adjusting mechanism" for your clutch, and is quite effective if your clutch is wearing normally.

Look for the quadrant in the engine bay where the ratchet assembly on the clutch pedal's rod is located in the Mustang. Push what looks like a hook upwards. This will turn the ratchet assembly counter-clockwise, which will shorten the clutch cable. Do only one click at a time then test out how the clutch pedal feels before adjusting it more. If you don't like the adjustment you made, reset the clutch by lifting it up with your toe (this returns it to the default position). If you have to adjust the clutch in the Mustang more than two clicks, then something more may be wrong with your car.

Keep the clutch adjustment you made in your Mustang by bending the tab on the ratchet mechanism. By bending the tab, you prevent the clutch from readjusting if you accidentally lift the clutch pedal with your foot.

Check out clutch pilot bushing as well as the transmission input-shaft bearing should you have clutch chatter after you have adjusted the clutch of your Ford Mustang. It could be an indication of excessive play of the inplay shaft.

Items you will need

  • Wrench or pliers

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Ford Explorer

Check the level of the fluid beneath the hood of the Ford Explorer. The reservoir is rather small, and is located near the firewall and the brake booster. Fill the reservoir to the proper level and pump the clutch pedal a few times to restore the pressure in the lines. If you find that the level in the reservoir does not stay the same, this may be an indication of a leak in the system. Check the reservoir, the slave cylinder (near the clutch housing) and the lines themselves, and repair or replace any faulty parts.

Bleed the system of any air bubbles. Using a tool like the Mityvac vacuum will help accomplish this task. Fill the pump bottle of the vacuum with fluid, and establish pressure in the tank. Open the cap on the master cylinder on Ford Explorer's master cylinder and insert the vacuum's tube. The vacuum sucks out old clutch fluid as well as any air bubbles that may have collected in the system. When you no longer see any air bubbles collecting in the pump bottle of the vacuum, you have successfully bled the clutch system.

Replace the clutch every 105,000 miles. Over time, the clutch of the Ford Explorer will wear, thanks to the friction it undergoes.

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Saturn VUE

Check the level of the fluid in the Saturn VUE's reservoir, which is located on the left rear of the engine bay. By filling the reservoir and pumping the clutch pedal, you help to restore the hydraulic pressure in the system so the clutch performs properly. If the level in your reservoir varies, this may be the sign of a leak in the reservoir itself, the lines or the master and slave cylinders. Replace or repair any leaking parts.

Bleed the clutch of the Saturn VUE if filling the reservoir doesn't improve your clutch's performance. You may have air bubbles in the lines. Attach one and of a rubber hose to the bleeder valve of the slave cylinder (near the clutch housing), and put the other into a clear container that holds clutch fluid. Open the valve, and have someone step on the clutch pedal a few times. When you don't see any more air bubbles in the clear container, you can close the valve, and add more fluid in the reservoir if needed.

Put in a clutch kit. These are available for your Saturn VUE through retailers and online. The kits include a clutch disc, pressure plate, pilot bearing and throwout bearing. Because these parts of the Saturn VUE's clutch wear over time, it's worth upgrading these parts instead of just replacing them.

Items you will need

  • Clutch fluid

  • Rubber hose

  • Clear container

 How to Adjust the Clutch in a Mitsubishi 3000GT

Check the fluid in the reservoir first in the Mitsubishi 3000GT. This is located near the rear left of the engine bay. Fill that reservoir up, and pump the pedal to restore the hydraulic pressure in the lines. If the level of the fluid changes, you may have a leak in the reservoir, or even the master cylinder, the slave cylinder or the lines. Replace or repair any leaking parts.

Turn the knob on the clutch pedal of the Mitsubishi 3000GT with a wrench if you feel that the pedal is too high or too low. Push or pull the pedal into the position you like, test the pedal then re-tighten the knob.

Examine the bolt that holds the clutch to the chassis. Sometimes this bolt can get loose and needs to be re-tightened on the Mitsubishi 3000GT. Make sure you do it according to the specified tightness in the manual.

Look at the parts of the clutch, such as the disc ad pressure plate, for wear. If these are too worn, then it's time to replace them.

Items you will need

  • Clutch fluid

  • Wrench

 How to Adjust the Clutch on a 1997 GMC Sonoma

Verify that the fluid level is correct in the clutch master cylinder reservoir. If the level is low, wipe the cover before removing it, and fill the reservoir to the proper level. Replace the cap. Facing the engine compartment, the clutch master is to the right and above the steering column, below the brake master cylinder.

Pump the clutch pedal rapidly a number of times. Inspect the clutch fluid lines from the master to the slave on the transmission. Pay particular attention to the quick-connect joints.

Replace leaking lines by pressing the white sleeve on the connectors on opposite sides and pulling the connector apart. The new line snaps in place.

Place the drain pan under the clutch slave cylinder on the side of the transmission. Have your helper press the clutch pedal as far as it goes at least five times, and hold it down. Turn the bleeder screw valve counterclockwise using a flare nut wrench. Watch for air bubbles. Tighten the bleeder valve, and have the helper repeat this process until no more air bubbles are seen. Refill the reservoir as needed during and after this process.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Flare nut wrench set

  • Two small screwdrivers

  • Small bottle of brake fluid (minimum DOT 3)

  • Assistant

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.