If your car keeps slipping gears, can’t switch gears, or is grinding, stalling, or failing to start, the flywheel is a likely culprit.
The flywheel sits between the transmission and the engine, transferring torque and storing excess energy, so the transfer of power between the engine stays smooth.
When it goes out, shifting gear and power shifts between the engine and transmission won’t go so smoothly.
The average cost of replacing a flywheel is $600-$1200 Here, the flywheel itself costs $50-$1300+ and the cost of labor is the rest. That’s because changing a flywheel takes about 6 hours on average, but between 1 and 10 depending on your vehicle.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of flywheel replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
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How Much Does Flywheel Replacement Cost?*
In most cases, the major cost of replacing a flywheel will always be labor.
That’s because, in almost all vehicles, you’ll have to drop the transmission to remove the clutch before you can access the flywheel. In fact, you won’t even be able to see the condition of the flywheel until you do so.
However, costs will also vary based on the make and model of your vehicle. For example, the following estimates cover costs for different popular vehicles.
|Vehicle||Flywheel Cost||Labor Cost|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (July 2022). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Flywheel Replacement Cost Factors
The cost of replacing a flywheel can vary significantly. Here, the largest cost factor is normally labor.
However, other aspects like your car, the type of flywheel, etc., will all impact costs as well.
Type of Flywheel
Most cars have either a solid or a dual-mass flywheel. A solid flywheel is lightweight and normally affordable.
A dual mass flywheel is constructed of at least two separate wheels that can move independently of each other. These normally cost significantly more.
If you have a Ford Focus, a Nissan Altima, or many other common cars, you can expect to pay at least $100 for your flywheel.
On the other hand, an automatic transmission flywheel is a simple thin plate, which can retail for as little as $30.
Make and Model of Car
The make and model of your car will significantly impact the total cost of replacing the flywheel. That’s because the make and model affect the cost of parts, the type of clutch you need, and the cost of labor.
For example, some Volkswagens allow you to change the flywheel without dropping the transmission. That can drop the total time to do the job to about an hour.
Condition of Flywheel
If you purchase a brand new, OEM flywheel, you’ll normally pay somewhere between $200 and $800 for the part.
On the other hand, there are very often aftermarket, refurbished, and remanufactured flywheels on the market. You can often purchase these for a fraction of the cost of the original part.
Cost of Labor
Labor is usually the most expensive part of replacing a flywheel, because it generally takes 6+ hours to drop the transmission and remove the clutch.
At the national average rate of $100+ per hour, that adds up quickly.
In most cases, you can expect to pay between $15 and $210, or a national average of $80 per hour, plus shop and lot fees.
It’s extremely unlikely your flywheel would go out without other problems causing unusual wear and tear on the part.
In this case, you might have to change the shaft seals, the pressure plate, or even the clutch.
However, you can’t see the flywheel without taking off the clutch. So, if you’re going to replace the part, replacing everything all at once could save you over $1,000 in labor.
For that reason, many people recommend having the flywheel resurfaced every time you have to replace the clutch.
7 Signs You Need a New Flywheel
If your flywheel is going out, you can normally simply resurface it to restore it to like-new condition.
However, if it’s very worn, you’ll have to replace it.
1. Gears Are Slipping
If you’re slipping gears, the most common cause is the flywheel. Of course, it will be necessary to inspect the clutch as well.
However, you’ll have to do so to reach the flywheel anyway. When the flywheel wears down, it no longer properly controls and holds force.
So, your engine could slip into different gears, may not shift fully into a new gear, and may randomly transfer force when you least expect it.
2. Gears Won’t Shift
If you’re having difficulty shifting between gears or can’t, you likely have the same issue.
Here, the flywheel might not provide enough resistance, or it might provide too much resistance. Your flywheel might misalign gears when you try to shift. All of these issues can cause further damage to the clutch.
Therefore, if you’re having trouble shifting gears, it’s important to have the problem diagnosed and fixed as quickly as possible.
3. Visible Damage to Flywheel
If you remove the clutch and you see a badly worn flywheel, it’s time for a replacement.
Even if you didn’t intend to make the replacement, doing so while the clutch is off will save you most of the cost.
4. Clutch is Dragging
If your clutch is dragging or slipping, it could be a flywheel issue.
As with the above problems, it’s important to have this diagnosed as quickly as possible because it could destroy your clutch.
5. Clutch Pedal Vibrates
Vibration through the floorboards and through the clutch pedal almost always indicates an issue with the transmission.
However, it could also be the flywheel, the clutch, or the driveshaft.
6. Engine Keeps Stalling or Won’t Start
The flywheel stores and balances energy by withholding it and using it to redistribute power. If it’s not doing that or doing it badly, your engine will have difficulty starting.
However, starting issues could relate to dozens of other issues, so it’s important to get an engine diagnostic.
If you can’t start your car at all, it might even be a seized flywheel.
7. Rough Idle
If your engine is idling rough, you probably have the same issue as above.
Here, the flywheel doesn’t transfer power at a smooth rate, causing ups and downs in your idle.
How to Replace Your Flywheel: 19 Steps
If you have time on your hands and a good jack, you can often replace the flywheel yourself to save a considerable amount of money. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a big job.
Replacing a flywheel requires dropping the transmission in most vehicles. In most cases, you can expect to spend 6+ hours on the job.
Things You’ll Need:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Wrench set
- Lug wrench
- Tie Rod Separator
- Drain Pan
- Penetrating Fluid
- Disposable Gloves
- Clutch Alignment Tool
- Replacement Flywheel
- Flat screwdriver
- Clutch grease
- Torque wrench
- Gearbox oil
- Replacement seals/gaskets as necessary
- Brake cleaner
Replacing Your Flywheel
- Park your vehicle and chock the back wheels. Set the parking brake. Then, jack up the front of the car and stabilize the vehicle with jack stands.
- Spray the bolts on the clutch slave cylinder and the transmission with penetrating fluid.
- Remove the front wheels.
- Drain the gearbox oil using the plug at the bottom center of the drive shaft.
- Unbolt the wheels from the drive shaft.
- Use a tie rod puller or a wrench and mallet to remove the CV shaft on both sides.
- Unbolt the starter from the transmission. Either move it out of the way or take it all the way off. In this case, you’ll have to undo the electronics harness as well. Make sure you turn off the vehicle, remove the key from the ignition, and unplug the battery from the left negative post before doing so.
- Slide a jack under the transmission and use a stabilizing board to distribute weight. Jack it up until it’s almost but not quite touching the transmission.
- Unbolt the bolts holding the transmission to the engine. These are located on the top and bottom of the engine.
- Unbolt the bolts holding the clutch slave cylinder in place.
- Use a pry bar to shift the transmission down onto the jack.
- Unbolt the clutch plate from the engine.
- Then, pull the clutch off.
- Unbolt the flywheel from the engine. These can be very stuck. Use an impact wrench or a breaker bar and penetrating fluid to remove the bolts.
- Pull the flywheel off the crankshaft.
- Check the gears underneath the flywheel and ensure they don’t need replacement as well.
- Clean the new flywheel and apply grease as directed by the replacement.
- Fit the new flywheel in place and put a bolt in to hold it in place. Make sure all of the other bolts fit. Flywheels only mount one way. Then, tighten the mounting bolts to specifications in your repair manual, usually 70–90-foot pounds.
- Put everything back in place in the opposite order and make sure you refill the gearbox oil.
It’s always a good idea to idle the engine before driving it to ensure that everything is working as expected.
If you have trouble starting, a rough idle, etc., it’s a good sign that something has gone wrong.
If you still have questions, this FAQ should help.
Is it worth it to remove a flywheel?
If your engine is otherwise in good condition, replacing the flywheel will restore the engine to full functionality.
Depending on the age of your car, that’s most likely more cost-effective than buying a new car.
Can you drive with a bad flywheel?
It’s a bad idea to drive with a damaged flywheel. For example, you could slip gears while driving.
In addition, a damaged flywheel will put stress on the clutch and the transmission, which could cause thousands of dollars of additional damage.
Is a flywheel part of the engine or transmission?
The flywheel couples the engine to the transmission, effectively transferring force between the engine and the clutch.
If your flywheel is going out, you’ll notice it pretty quickly. Unfortunately, replacing it is a big job. In fact, the average cost of replacing a flywheel is usually over $1,000. In some cases, you could pay more than that for just parts. However, you can also save money by doing the work yourself – if you have the option to lower the transmission yourself.
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