The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Could Brake and Clutch Issues Be Linked?

by Brittany Marshall

When it comes to automotive repairs, things may not always be as they seem. After all, it can sometimes be quite easy to diagnose a problem and come up with a solution, but at other times what appears to be obvious may be rather the opposite. If you've been dealing with clutch or brake problems, for example, you may need to look under the dashboard.

Clutch Issues?

You may be in this situation if you have been noticing a problem while changing gears. It may be hard to engage a forward gear, or you may hear a "crunch" when you eventually do. This may point to issues with your clutch adjustment, or at least on the face of it.

Braking Problems?

Alternatively, you may find that braking performance is inconsistent and that you may have to apply more pressure to the pedal in certain circumstances to achieve the expected result. Or you may find that the brakes appear to "grab" unexpectedly when you apply less pressure. This may point to issues with your brake shoes or pads or mean that you need to change the brake fluid.

Under the Dash

However, all of these issues could be linked to the pedal box, which is fitted beneath the dashboard and helps to regulate vehicle performance. This box controls input from the throttle, brake and clutch pedal, and if it is not performing properly, multiple issues can arise.

If you've noticed that the clutch appears to be "sitting" lower than the brake pedal or vice versa then this is a tell-tale sign of an issue with the pedal box itself. Each of these pedals needs to be carefully adjusted so that you get the right mechanical or hydraulic action, and if the pedals are even slightly out of line, then some of the aforementioned issues can arise.

Pedal Box Function

Modern vehicle regulations require that the pedal box is fitted in such a way that it can break away in the event of a heavy frontal impact. This is meant to protect the driver from injury, but it can also affect the integrity of the pedal box over time. As this unit comes under a lot of pressure during everyday operations, it may break free of its mounting or otherwise come loose, which will give rise to issues with adjustment.

Taking a Look

Before you think about replacing the clutch or fixing individual brake components, ask your mechanic to have a look at the condition of the pedal box. They may be able to make some small adjustments in this area and bring your vehicle back to its proper working condition instead. Make sure to have a professional help you take care of your brake and clutch.