Flywheel issues are normal as your car ages.
However, you can often opt to simply resurface the flywheel rather than pay for a replacement.
While you’ll still have to pay to have the flywheel pulled from the engine, you can save hundreds on the cost of a new part.
In addition, resurfacing your flywheel can restore it to like-new condition, so you should get the same performance and results as with a new flywheel.
Here, the average cost to resurface a flywheel is about $25-$50. Most shops will offer a flat rate to do the work. However, if the flywheel is still in your vehicle, you’ll also have to have it pulled, which can take 6+ hours of labor, or an average of $500-$1,200 at most mechanic’s rates.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of flywheel resurfacing cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
|Supplier||Cost of Labor||Cost to Pull Flywheel|
|O’Reilly Auto Parts||$40||$385-$1,200|
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How Much Does Flywheel Resurfacing Cost?*
Resurfacing a flywheel will always cost $20-$75 depending on where you go. It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you have. The flywheel is put onto a machine and ground down to restore the surface to like-new.
However, the cost of pulling the flywheel will vary quite a bit by vehicle. Often, this job will take 3-8 hours, which can add up to over $1,000 in labor at many shops.
The following estimates cover expected labor costs based on popular vehicles.
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (January 2023). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Flywheel Resurfacing Cost Factors
The cost of resurfacing a flywheel will always be $20-$75 depending on the shop you go to. However, costs will change depending on the make and model of the car, the local cost of labor, and how bad the flywheel is.
Here, it’s important to note that if you have a dual-state flywheel, you won’t be able to have it resurfaced. Instead, you’ll have to buy a new one.
Make and Model of Car
Your car’s make and model are major factors in the cost of removing the old flywheel.
For example, the make and model affect the cost of labor and what has to happen to replace the flywheel. Many Volkswagens allow you to remove the flywheel without dropping the transmission – so the amount of work involved is much less.
In addition, if the transmission crossbar has to be removed, the entire job will take even longer.
Condition of the Flywheel
If you’re resurfacing a flywheel to remove minor issues, the job will go very quickly. However, the worse the damage is, the more you can expect to pay.
In addition, if rust or pocks are too deep, you might have to actually replace the flywheel.
However, on average, your technician will give you a flat rate for the resurfacing job – meaning you’ll pay the same amount no matter how bad the flywheel is.
Cost of Labor
Labor is the most significant cost factor in resurfacing a flywheel. That’s because you’ll normally have to pay for 3-10 hours of labor to remove the flywheel in order to resurface it.
That’s important considering mechanics charge an average of about $80 per hour on a national level. Those rates actually range from below $20 to above $200 depending on your location and whether or not you’re going to a dealer.
But, you can still expect to pay at least $300 to have the flywheel removed and reinstalled. The only way you’ll get around this cost is if you do the work yourself, which can be a significant job, especially if you don’t own good jacks.
Flywheels don’t normally start having problems spontaneously. While wear and tear can be an issue, they often fail after contamination in the gearbox fluid, oil fluid, clutch issues, shaft seal issues, pressure plate issues, etc.
The good news about replacing any of those parts is that the job will be significantly cheaper with the transmission already dropped. In fact, moving the transmission is most of the cost.
However, a new clutch will always be a costly purchase. On the other hand, it’s usually considered a good idea to replace seals when you have the transmission down – just because they’re cheap and the job only takes a few minutes.
You’ll probably want to check the bearings, the pilot, the pressure plate and pressure disc, and the clutch release fork at the same time.
If you replace everything, you could add several hundred dollars in parts. But, if you’re already paying several hundred to drop the transmission, it could save you on costs down the road.
7 Symptoms That Say It’s Time To Resurface The Flywheel
If your flywheel is having issues, you will notice.
Here, you may have to replace or resurface the flywheel depending on the extent of the damage or the type of flywheel you’re using.
1. Dragging Clutch
A dragging clutch might come from any kind of clutch problem. However, the clutch can also drag if your flywheel is wearing down or not engaging properly.
Here, the clutch might slip, it might not engage with the flywheel, or the flywheel might not engage.
If the clutch pedal is vibrating, it almost always means something is going wrong with the transmission system.
In some cases, that “something” can be as simple as needing more fluid in the gearbox. In other cases, it means the transmission fluid is low. Or, you have a clutch or a flywheel that’s going out.
3. Stalling Engine
The flywheel transfers torque or energy from the engine to the transmission. It also engages with the starter during initial engine ignition.
The flywheel redistributes energy to the crankshaft as part of the process of starting the engine. So, if it’s not engaging or if it’s slipping, you’ll have trouble starting the vehicle. In some cases, your vehicle may even refuse to start.
However, this issue can stem from a number of issues. For example, if the transmission is low on fluid, or if the teeth on the flywheel are wearing down, or if you have exhaust or fuel injection issues.
It’s important to inspect your engine to see what the issue is.
4. Rough Idle
A rough idle can indicate any kind of transmission or fuel injection or exhaust issues.
In the case of transmission issues, it normally means that the flywheel isn’t transferring power at a continuous rate. Instead, it’s slipping, speeding up, or otherwise unevenly distributing power, causing a rough idle.
5. Gear Slippage
Gears can slip for a number of reasons. However, the flywheel is one of the most common issues.
Here, the flywheel may be worn down and might require replacement if the wear and tear is on the gears and not the face. If gears are slipping, your vehicle could slip through gears with the transmission still engaged.
It could also stick when you try to switch gears. Both can cause significant damage to the engine including the crankshaft and the transmission.
Therefore, if your gears are slipping, it’s crucial to have the issue checked and fixed right away.
6. Gear Shifting Issues
If shifting gears is more difficult than it used to be or you’re getting extra resistance when trying to shift, it’s a good sign that the flywheel is the problem. However, the clutch itself might also be the issue.
Too much resistance on the flywheel can also cause the gears to misalign when you shift, which could seize the clutch.
7. Visible Flywheel Damage
If you remove the flywheel and it’s visibly damaged, it’s time to resurface or replace it. The flywheel should be perfectly smooth, without dents, warping, or cracks.
If there are damaged or worn teeth, they should be replaced. However, if the damage is only to the front of the flywheel, you should be able to resurface it and re-use the same flywheel.
How To Resurface Your Flywheel (Video)
It’s important to note that you can’t resurface a flywheel without proper equipment. Instead, you’ll have to take your flywheel to a mechanic or to a machine shop and have them do the work for you.
Here, you can expect to pay $20 to $50 for the labor, although some shops may charge more.
However, getting the flywheel out is the worst part of the job and will normally take about 8+ hours. It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll have to drop the transmission.
If you don’t have the jacks to support the transmission, do not attempt this job, as you won’t be able to get the transmission back into the vehicle.
What You’ll Need
- Floor jack/Lift jack
- Jack stands
- Wrench set/Ratchet set/Impact wrench
- Lug wrench
- Tie rod separator (or mallet and new tie rods)
- Drain pan
- New flywheel
- Screwdriver set
- Torque wrench
You’ll also want new seals and gaskets, gearbox oil, clutch grease, brake cleaner, and shop rags, although these depend on what you want to do when reinstalling the flywheel.
Removing the Flywheel
- Park your vehicle and take the key out of the ignition. Disconnect the battery from the positive terminal.
- Set the parking brake. You may also want to chock the back wheels.
- Jack up the front of the vehicle and use jack stands to stabilize the vehicle.
- Drain the gearbox oil into a drain pan.
- Remove the front wheels.
- Unbolt the wheels from the drive shaft.
- Remove the CV shaft on both sides. You may need a tie rod puller to do so.
- Unbolt the starter from the transmission and either remove it or push it out of the way. Be careful of the electronics and not damage the wiring harness.
- Place a wide board on the jack and slide it under the transmission. Raise it to just under the level of the transmission. The board is to distribute weight, so you don’t punch a hole in the oil pan.
- Use penetrating fluid on the bolts holding the transmission to the engine. Then, remove them. You may need a breaker bar.
- Use a pry bar to shift the transmission back and lower it onto the jack. Make sure it’s stable and if necessary, use a second jack.
- Unbolt the clutch plate from the engine.
- Remove the clutch.
- Unbolt the flywheel and remove it from the crankshaft. You may need a mallet to get it to move.
It’s often necessary to use penetrating fluid or an impact wrench at every step of this process. Once you have the flywheel off, you can take it to your local shop to have it resurfaced.
This process should take less than an hour, depending on whether there’s a line or if the shop has time right away.
If you still have questions about resurfacing your flywheel, these answers should help.
Is it worth it to resurface a flywheel?
It’s not usually a good idea to do work that costs more than the value of the vehicle. Therefore, if you could get a new vehicle for the same cost as tearing your vehicle down, you probably shouldn’t do the work.
In addition, you may want to replace the flywheel rather than having it resurfaced. On the other hand, resurfacing your flywheel is normally more cost-effective and will provide the same quality as a new part – unless the teeth are wearing down.
Therefore, it’s usually worth it to resurface the flywheel.
What is resurfacing a flywheel?
Resurfacing a flywheel is the process of grinding down the top of the flywheel to ensure that the surface is perfectly flat and smooth.
In some machine shops, this will involve using a CNC machine to make a micro cut across the surface, essentially removing any imperfections. You lose a tiny amount of a steel plate that is already over an inch thick.
What is the lifespan of a flywheel?
Flywheels are expected to last about 100,000 miles or up to the lifespan of the car. However, that depends on how you drive and how other parts fail.
If you’ve had major clutch issues, it could damage the flywheel. If you drive without paying attention to how you use the clutch, you might also cause extra wear and tear, resulting in early failure.
Can you resurface any flywheel?
You can resurface any solid disk, single mass, or high velocity flywheels. However, you cannot resurface dual mass flywheels.
In addition, if you’ve had your flywheel resurfaced in the past, it might be time to get a new one, especially if the secondary resurfacing would remove too much material.
Resurfacing a flywheel will normally only cost $20-$70. Many auto-parts shops even offer flat-rate resurfacing jobs, where you can expect to pay about $30 for the work. However, most of the cost of resurfacing your flywheel will be getting the flywheel out of the vehicle, which can cost 3-15 hours of labor, or $300-$1500 on average.
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