The flywheel is part of your vehicle’s powertrain. It’s a metal disk that’s connected to the rear of the engine’s crankshaft. The flywheel stores rotational energy and smooths out the forces from the cylinders.
The flywheel works together with your clutch to move power from the engine to the transmission. Over time, your flywheel may become damaged by the heat and friction caused by the clutch.
If the flywheel becomes warped, suffers surface cracks, grooves, or other defects, it may be time for resurfacing. Failing to address these flywheel issues may cause damage to the clutch.
Resurfacing a flywheel typically costs anywhere from $20 to $50. Depending on the flywheel, some may be more expensive to resurface. If it’s a stepped flywheel or if there are dowel pins to remove, it may increase the cost to $60-$75.
Cost to Resurface a Flywheel
In general, most people should spend under $50 to have their flywheel resurfaced. The process is quite simple, but the cost typically depends on how long it takes the technician to remove the flywheel, inspect it, grind it down, and replace it.
Flywheel Resurfacing Cost
If the price is much higher than the $40 – $65 range, it may be worth looking into the price to replace the flywheel. Often, you can purchase a new one for not much more than that. Of course, the specific cost depends mainly on the vehicle’s make and model and the time involved to do the work.
Flywheel Resurfacing Cost Estimate
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If the flywheel is damaged, it can cause problems within the powertrain system. A bad flywheel could cause you to lose power to your wheels, creating a potentially dangerous situation while driving.
If the flywheel is damaged or faulty, it’s important to have it checked out by a qualified service technician as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the vehicle and to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive.
Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Flywheel
As the flywheel suffers wear and tear, it will begin to show signs of damage to let you know that you may need to take it in for resurfacing.
- Slipping Gears – Slipping gears may cause your engine speed to increase faster than your actual ground speed when you are shifting. This may look like a “rev” on your gauges while you’re shifting to a new gear. This issue is often due to lubricants making their way onto the flywheel’s surface. When this happens, the clutch cannot engage with the flywheel firmly without it slipping. Over time, this condition may cause damage to your clutch.
- Burning Smell – If you detect a burning smell inside your vehicle, it could be due to a bad flywheel. When this happens, the clutch may be generating too much friction with the flywheel and the excess heat creates a burning smell. If you’re using the clutch improperly, it can also cause this burning smell and damage the flywheel over time.
- Inability to Shift Gears – In some cases, you may find that you’re unable to change gears at all. When this happens, the flywheel may be in the worst possible condition, so you will likely experience other symptoms before this. You should also note that this issue could be caused by other problems. However, if you can’t change gears, you won’t be able to operate the vehicle.
- Vibrating Clutch – When you engage the clutch it should feel smooth. If you feel vibrations coming through the pedal, it usually indicates damage to the flywheel. When damage isn’t addressed, you may begin to feel the vibrations all the time, not just when the clutch is engaged. Warping and physical defects to the flywheel usually cause this problem. Too much friction in some areas causes the flywheel and components to get too hot, which may cause further damage to the flywheel including cracking and metal being shaved away.
- Car Doesn’t Start – Of course, your vehicle not starting could be due to a number of issues, if you have difficulty getting the car started intermittently it could be due to a damaged flywheel. If the clutch doesn’t engage properly with the flywheel, the car may not start properly.
If you experience signs of a bad flywheel and don’t have it resurfaced, you could cause clutch problems that will end up being much more costly to repair.
Cost to Replace a Flywheel
Sometimes, the damage is too severe and your flywheel may need to be replaced. The cost for this work varies depending on your vehicle’s make and model, but in some cases you may be able to find one for around the same price as resurfacing.
However, some flywheels cost up to $400 to replace.
If your vehicle is equipped with dual mass flywheels, they cannot be resurfaced. If you damage this type of flywheel, you will unfortunately have to replace it.
The cost for a new dual mass flywheel may be anywhere from $250 to well over $1,000.
Dual mass flywheel (DMF) failure can be caused by driving your vehicle in too high of a gear, engine misfiring, towing heavy loads, and other issues.
If you hear a squeaking sound and feel shaking coming from underneath the vehicle, grinding and clunking noises from the engine, or if it feels like something is hitting your clutch from underneath the vehicle, you may be experiencing DMF failure.
The flywheel itself is a big part of the cost, with the part alone costing anywhere from $150 to $800. The labor can also be a big expense, depending on how long it takes to complete the job.
For some vehicles, replacing the flywheel can take several hours, meaning labor costs of $300 – $500 or more.
How Flywheel Resurfacing Works
Flywheels can be resurfaced by cutting or grinding, but most shops use a grinding method for this task. Resurfacing a flywheel by grinding only takes a few minutes and only removes the hard, damaged spots on the flywheel’s surface.
Shops that perform this surface probably use a flywheel grinder, but it is also possible to grind down the surface using a head and block grinding machine. Another method is wet grinding using silicone carbide stones.
Softer stones are better suited for forged steel surfaces while hard stones are typically used with cast iron flywheels.
The cutting method is usually done using a brake lathe, but this method can result in uneven areas. Cutting or shaving off metal is a difficult task to do correctly, as removing too much metal can cause clutch problems.
Regardless of the method, flywheel resurfacing serves to remove a very thin layer of metal from the flywheel’s surface.
As a result, fresh metal with some slight roughening or grinding is available on the surface to help improve the clutch grip and keep it from slipping while ensuring even wear.
Other Related Repairs
Generally, you should have your flywheel inspected and possibly resurfaced every time that you have work done to your clutch.
Often, damage to the flywheel is a result of problems with the clutch, so it’s a good idea to address any of those issues as well when you decide to resurface your flywheel.
Your clutch is connected to your engine by way of the flywheel, so both of these elements together are integral vehicle components. Like the flywheel, however, the clutch will eventually succumb to wear and tear.
Your clutch should be good for at least 50,000 miles (under normal operating circumstances), though some newer vehicles will go much farther without clutch problems.
In the event that you have to replace your clutch, it will probably cost anywhere from $750-$950.
The Bottom Line
If you hear unusual noises from the front underside of the car, or if you feel your clutch slipping, it may indicate a problem with the flywheel.
If your flywheel is damaged or you suspect that it’s gone bad, you should have it checked out as soon as possible. The good news is that resolving the issue may be as simple as performing flywheel resurfacing.
Flywheel resurfacing is a fairly simple process, and it’s one of the more inexpensive repairs that you can do on your vehicle. Most people spend between $30 and $60 for flywheel resurfacing.
In some cases, the flywheel cannot be resurfaced and must be replaced. This is a much more costly repair that you’ll have to consider for your specific vehicle and situation.
To save some money on flywheel repairs, it’s a good idea to shop around and get several quotes. Always ask about resurfacing if your mechanic is performing work on the clutch or if you discuss replacing the flywheel.
If you have work done on the flywheel, it’s a good idea to have the other components of your car’s powertrain checked out as well.
Doing preventative maintenance and keeping up with the maintenance schedule can help prevent costly repairs in the future.