CAR STORIES > Clutch Failure on a Second Date

Clutch Failure on a Second Date


There I was, going out on a second date with a chick I met at an outdoor Mexican bar while playing hooky from my auto detail shop on a sunny day. At that time in my car-owning career I was driving a Hyundai Tiburon with a manual transmission. This was a great little sports car that I really enjoyed. I like my cars low, red and fast. I had noticed over the last month that the clutch pedal was starting to feel a little squishy. This is a sure sign of oncoming failure, but I am a procrastinator, so I didn’t fix it. I figured I had a lot of time to get to it. I cleaned my car several times, but didn’t bother with the clutch.

Driving a Ticking Time Bomb

I couldn’t feel the clutch “slipping.” That is a symptom of clutch failure where the car feels like it is losing power as you apply the gas. One telltale sign of this is when you are driving up a hill and the engine RPMs start going up even though you are driving at a steady speed. Also, there were no grinding noises coming from the transmission when shifting gears. Little did I know I was driving a ticking time bomb!

Nervous Enough Without a Potential Break Down

On the night of our date we met at a really fun bar and enjoyed a few adult beverages. Things were progressing nicely. Our next stop was across town to see a one-woman comedy show. My date was a good friend of the performer.

We decided to take my car to the show instead of driving separately. We had driven about five miles when I noticed a problem. The stick shift was getting harder and harder to move into the next gear. Well, we made it to the show. The story was about a young woman’s plight with dating and boyfriends. The show strangely mirrored some of my earlier relationships. I was having a great time.

Time to Head Home – Not Easy With a Faulty Clutch

The show ended at about midnight and it was time to get my date back to her car. I started up my car and got a nasty surprise. The car wouldn’t go into first gear. Very embarrassing! I was able to get the car to go into second gear and reverse. The shifter was almost impossible to move. I couldn’t even get mad because I was having such a great night.

The good news was that I was able to get her back to her car and then limp the car home. The next morning I had the little red bomb towed to my favorite repair shop. After taking the transmission out, the mechanic found that the clutch disk had basically exploded. I was lucky to have gotten home.

I Didn’t Do My Homework – The Car Looked Too Cool

Now, I have had clutches replaced before, but never on a Tiburon. After doing some online research it turns out that they are notorious for this type of problem. I guess I didn’t do enough homework before I made my purchase. What can I say – it was red, low and very fast. Not a midlife crisis purchase. I had gotten that out of the way with a classic muscle car a few years earlier. Just remember what I have been saying about researching any car you are considering buying. Don’t buy a lemon.

Back on the Road

Three days and $2000 later, my car was back on the road. You could call it an expensive date – I just call it bad car Karma. The date was fantastic. By the way, almost three years later, things are going great!

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