A car isn’t cheap. According to Kelly Blue Book, Americans spend approximately $36,000 on new cars. That means if you save $10,000 in a year, it will take you about four years to own a brand new light vehicle.
Throw in the average $5,000 that goes into car maintenance and repairs annually, and you’ll see why you should keep your car in the best working condition possible. But, of course, that means going for regular check-ups and repair services.
One part that requires regular maintenance is the clutch system, which includes the flywheel.
What’s a Flywheel?
A flywheel is a large metal disc with teeth on the edges that forms an integral part of the clutch system in a manual transmission car. Basically, the disc stores available energy from the engine and supplies it when required.
The important purposes of a flywheel include:
- Helps start the engine: It provides the initial inertia and has a ring gear where the starter motor is engaged to get the engine running.
- Connect the engine to the transmission: The flywheel connects the engine to the transmission to provide power to the wheels through the clutch.
- Reduces speed fluctuations: The flywheel provides the rotational inertia to keep the engine running smoothly. That prevents speed fluctuations when you lift your foot off the gas. Without it, the engine would stall.
- Provides balance for the crankshaft: The flywheel is bolted between the clutch and the engine, hence helping provide balance to the crankshaft.
As you drive a manual car, the clutch constantly gets into contact with the flywheel anytime you release the clutch pedal. With time, the flywheel suffers wear and tear due to the heat and friction produced by normal clutch operations.
Thus, the flywheel’s surface wears and smooths out as it continually absorbs and dispels the heat. As a result, it gets to the point where the clutch begins to slip.
At that point, more heat is produced than the flywheel can absorb. Due to increased heat stress, the flywheel’s surfaces begin to warp and develop heat cracks and “hot spots” due to the uneven application of heat.
As a result, it begins to vibrate when engaged or when the vehicle accelerates. At that point, it’s recommended that you get your flywheel resurfaced or replaced with a new one.
So, what’s flywheel resurfacing?
Flywheel resurfacing is a common repair service where very thin metal is cut off from the disc’s surface to expose a fresh and rougher surface to enhance grip.
The amount of metal shaved off depends on the depth of the heat cracks and blisters. You can only get the flywheel resurfaced if the service doesn’t bring it below the set manufacturer’s specifications for proper operation, weight, and safety. Otherwise, you’ll have to get the whole part replaced if the flywheel is too thin and worn to be resurfaced.
It’s recommended that you get your flywheel resurfaced immediately after your clutch begins to slip or when you replace the clutch, the pressure plate, disk, or throwout bearing.
Your only question is: where can I get a flywheel resurfaced near me?
Short Answer: Knowing the top places to get your flywheel resurfaced can help you ensure that your car is safe for driving, avoid eventualities and damages to other parts, which can skyrocket your maintenance costs.
Plus, it costs almost 10x more to install a new flywheel than to resurface an existing one. Thus, you can save serious money by getting your flywheel resurfaced until it runs its lifespan.
Top places to get a flywheel resurfaced include auto parts retailers and service centers like NAPA Auto Parts, AAMCO, and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
NAPA Auto Parts and O’Reilly Auto Parts offer flywheel resurfacing at select locations. Therefore, it’s important to call your nearest NAPA or O’Reilly to check if they offer flywheel resurfacing before visiting.
You can also get flywheel resurfacing services at local machines shops or from nearby local mechanics. However, some machine shops may not have mechanical experience for specific cars.
So make sure to search for reputable automotive machine shops that can offer high-quality services. If you can’t find auto shops and machine shops that resurface flywheels in your area, consider visiting a reputable local mechanic who can resurface your flywheel.
You can easily find machine shops and mechanics that resurface flywheels in your area with a quick Google search, then call or check the shop’s advertised services and prices. Alternatively, use the NAPA AutoCare store finder to locate certified mechanics near you.
Is Resurfacing a Flywheel Necessary?
Yes, resurfacing a flywheel is necessary if heat cracks and blisters damage the surface, and there’s enough mass to cut.
You should also get your flywheel fixed immediately when your clutch begins to slip and vibrate when engaged or under acceleration. Again, experts recommend resurfacing your flywheel anytime you replace the clutch.
Failure to resurface a worn-out flywheel can result in premature wear of the newly installed clutch and can void the supplier’s warranty. Unfortunately, if the flywheel wasn’t resurfaced or was improperly resurfaced before installing the clutch, most clutch dealers won’t honor the warranty.
Again, it costs less to resurface a flywheel than install the whole part. So if there’s enough metal left to shave off, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have your flywheel resurfaced to save money on car maintenance easily.
To reap the cost-saving benefits, always make sure that your flywheel is resurfaced correctly the first time. Getting it wrong can cost you a fortune in repairs and labor costs down the road. So make sure the resurfacing is done right by a qualified mechanic.
However, it’s not necessary to resurface a flywheel if the surface is flat with no defects. But, again, if the flywheel is too worn, resurfacing it may bring it below the manufacturer’s specifications for proper operation. In that case, you’ll have no option but to replace it vs. resurface.
So whether or not to resurface a flywheel is necessary does come down to its condition. The easiest way to determine if your flywheel needs to be resurfaced is to unscrew it from the engine and have it thoroughly inspected by an expert. It’s also important to inspect when buying a used car.
A reputable mechanic will inspect the surface for discolorations, warping, hot spots, heat cracks, and uneven wear. They’ll then use mechanical tools like a straightedge and feeler gauge to check the flatness of the surface. It determines whether there’s enough metal left for resurfacing.
How Long Does a Flywheel Last?
Resurfacing your flywheel is a great way to keep it in good condition, lengthen its lifespan, and ensure that power flows seamlessly from the engine to the transmission.
However, that can only bring it so far before it finally runs its lifespan. You want to avoid a flywheel failure where it quits on you and stops suddenly in the middle of the road. It helps to know how long a flywheel lasts.
Luckily, a flywheel is one of the most durable parts of your car and may last anywhere between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. However, your driving skills, experience, and the environment you operate in may have a bearing on how long your flywheel disk lasts.
If you put a lot of wear and tear on your clutch before replacing it, it may slip and lose traction against the flywheel, resulting in a disconnect in the power transmission. It can wear out the flywheel faster and shorten its lifespan.
That said, your car may lose power completely and come to an unexpected stop if you push your flywheel to the last mile. So it helps to replace it if clutch issues persist, even after resurfacing your flywheel.
Common signs that your flywheel may require replacement include noise, vibration, or chattering when it’s engaged or when the car is accelerating. To avoid its failure, make sure your flywheel is inspected for warping and damages anytime you replace the clutch.
How to Tell if a Flywheel Needs Resurfacing?
Like any other part, the flywheel shows some signs when it’s too worn or damaged. Signs and symptoms that your flywheel needs to get resurfaced or replaced include:
It means your car slips out gear when going into neutral or another gear. It’s because the clutch cannot hold the flywheel without slipping.
Engine Accelerates With No Ground Speed
If the clutch cannot engage with the flywheel properly, the engine speed increases without an increase in ground speed. Therefore, it will affect your driving ability and may even damage the clutch.
Inability to Change Gears
It’s a sign that your flywheel is in bad condition. Since you can’t change gears, you won’t be able to drive at all. There may be issues with other transmission parts as well.
When the flywheel is worn out, it can’t absorb all the heat produced for the friction in the clutch. The excess heat produces a burning odor inside the passenger cabin. It may also result in rattling noise when depressing or releasing the clutch.
A flywheel gone bad results in vibrations or shaking in the clutch pedal, or worse, on the floor of the vehicle. The surface will also feel warped, and the clutch “grabs” when engaging.
Inability to start or inconsistent starts may result due to damaged teeth on the edge of the flywheel. Hence, it won’t be able to engage with the starter motor. You’ll also notice abnormal noise when the starter motor is engaged.
When the engine stalls or its speed plummets anytime you step off the gas pedal, it’s a sign that your flywheel is warm out and too light to store enough rotational inertia.
An unbalanced flywheel may cause vibration on the whole powertrain, even when the clutch is engaged.
If you notice any of these signs, take your flywheel to an expert auto mechanic. They will inspect it for blisters, heat cracks, warping, uneven surface, and decolorizations. It helps you decide between resurfacing or replacing a flywheel.
How Much Does Flywheel Resurfacing Cost?
Flywheel resurfacing costs may vary by location and the type of your car, but in most places, the flywheel resurfacing price doesn’t exceed $50. That’s pretty cheap compared to the cost of buying and installing a new flywheel.
For instance, it may cost you about $50 to $400 to purchase new flywheels. Some, like dual mass flywheels, may even be pricier. Plus, you must factor in labor costs, which may also be in the same range based on the mechanic’s hourly rates.
That means you may have to spend more than $1,000 to purchase and replace a new flywheel. But, on the other hand, it makes the flywheel resurfacing cheap at $50!
Therefore, resurfacing your flywheel regularly helps you keep your clutching system running smoothly. It also helps prevent costly replacements that may arise when the flywheel gets damaged beyond repair.
How Long Does It Take to Resurface a Flywheel?
It doesn’t take long to resurface a flywheel. Once it’s been screwed out of the engine, it only takes about 3-4 minutes to get a flywheel resurfaced.
However, how long it takes to resurface a wheel may vary slightly depending on the method used. The grinding method is the fastest and the most preferred resurfacing method. It’s done using a dedicated grinder, which is the fastest.
But it can also be done using a ahead and block grinding machine, which may take longer. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t miss hard spots, hence leaving a smooth, homogenous surface.
The third method entails using a brake lathe to shave a thin metal off the flywheel’s surface. Unfortunately, it takes time to set the flywheel on the lathe, making this method somehow slow. Plus, it may leave an uneven surface due to missed hot spots.
But installing a new flywheel is a different ball game. It may take the mechanic up to 5 hours to replace a flywheel. That’s because they have to uninstall the engine and make sure that every part is in its right place before reinstalling the engine.
That’s why it costs more to replace a new flywheel vs. resurfacing.
Places To Get Flywheel Resurfacing Near Me
Now you know what a flywheel is, how it works, and the difference between resurfacing and buying new with installation. You can visit a nearby mechanic with confidence, so you don’t get taken advantage of.
However, you must find experienced mechanics to handle the process without mishaps. As you already know, mistakes can be costly.
So, where can you find reputable flywheel resurfacing experts to get the job done? We’ve researched and compiled a list of the top places that offer local flywheel resurfacing services, including:
1. O’Reilly Auto Parts
O’Reilly Auto Parts is one of the best places to get your flywheel resurfaced. That’s because the auto shop employs expert technicians to handle different mechanical problems for their customers.
Plus, O’Reilly has over 5600 local stores in 47 states and about 22 stores in Mexico.
However, O’Reilly mechanics will only resurface your flywheel if there’s enough mass remaining to cut without bringing it below the manufacturer’s specification. Otherwise, the flywheel has to be replaced.
The good thing is, they also sell all sorts of automated tools, equipment, supplies, and accessories, like engine air filters and cabin filters and FM radios for drive-in movies. So if your flywheel is worn out and cannot be resurfaced, they’ll sell and install a new flywheel for you.
Save some money by finding the best place that sells gift cards for a discount.
Another top place to get flywheel resurfacing services is a nearby NAPA Auto Parts store. The National Automotive Parts Association operates about 6,000 stores and more than 15,000 NAPA AutoCare repair facilities that offer maintenance and repair services.
Being a reputable auto parts retailer, NAPA has experienced mechanics at its AutoCare facility.
Even if your flywheel needs replacement, you can purchase it at a nearby NAPA store and install it at one of their facilities. The auto parts stores carry all sorts of automotive replacement parts and accessories, like the best batteries for winches, deep cycle batteries for RVs, and auto detailing carpet extractors to keep your car clean.
See our guide for the best online coupon sites to buy stuff at a discount.
Find a nearby NAPA AutoCare facility to get your flywheel resurfaced.
AAMCO is a top car transmission-repair franchise that has been in business since 1957. Thus, you’ll experience transmission repair experts who can fix your clutch system and resurface your flywheel to keep it in good condition.
About 260 locations across the country offer brake repairs, flywheel resurfacing, A/C services, tune-ups, and motorcycle oil changes.
Due to their specialized auto services, you may expect to pay more to get your flywheel resurfaced at an AAMCO location. But that’s what you pay for expertise services!
That said, there are only a few locations, and you may not find an AAMCO Total Car Care in your area. But it never hurts to try.
Find a nearby AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care to get your flywheel resurfaced.
4. Local Mechanics
If you can’t find auto part retailers and service centers, you can get your flywheel resurfaced by a local mechanic.
Independent mechanics are usually certified car repair experts, so you’re sure to get quality services if you find a reputable mechanic. And the good thing is, you always try to negotiate the price to get a fair deal.
The easiest way to find reputable mechanics in your areas is through Google search. Plug the keyword “local mechanics near me.” You’ll get a list of nearby local repair shops, the services offered, contact details, and directions.
Once you find a local place, call them directly to inquire about their flywheel resurfacing services and costs before visiting.
Alternatively, use the Napa AutoCare store finder to locate certified independent mechanics nearby.
5. Local Machine Shop
Local machine shops are also great places to look for flywheel resurfacing services. They may keep in-house automotive experts to help customers with different auto repair services.
However, some machine shops may not have the expertise to handle specific types of cars, so make sure to find reputable machine shops that offer quality services.
To find local machine shops that offer flywheels nearby, do a quick Google search for “Machine shops near me” or “local machines shops that offer flywheel resurfacing.”
Google will give you a list of nearby machine shops and the services they offer. Check the shop’s advertised services and reviews to see if they can get the job done. Of course, it’s always good to call before visiting to confirm services and costs.
You may occasionally find someone at the shops that do under-the-table jobs for extra cash.
Places That Don’t Resurface Flywheels
Some auto parts retailers and service centers will sell new flywheels but won’t resurface old ones. Knowing the places that only sell vs. repair can be helpful so that you don’t waste time and gas driving there.
Top places that don’t offer flywheel resurfacing include:
Can You Resurface a Flywheel Do-It-Yourself at Home?
Yes, you can DIY flywheel resurfacing at home if you have some mechanical skills and tools required to get the job done.
However, a flywheel is an important part of your car. So you should only resurface it at home if you know what you are doing. If you damage the flywheel, you’ll need to pay a mechanic to install a new one, which may cost you over $1,000.
It’s advisable that you only remove the flywheel and check it for damages. Then take it to a reputable mechanic to get it resurfaced properly.
Mechanics have the right automotive tools like a straightedge and feeler gauge. Plus, a mechanic will tell you whether your flywheel is fit for resurfacing or needs to be replaced.
This video shows you how to remove, inspect, and resurface your flywheel by hand at home or machine.
How to Clean a Flywheel Yourself?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a flywheel yourself.
- Wash your hands: Before handling the flywheel, use a mild soap to clean your hands. Grease and oil on your hands can damage the flywheels’ surface.
- Spray brake cleaner: Spray a uniform coat of brake cleaner on the surface of the flywheel.
- Scrub the Surface: Using a rough dish cleaning pad, scrub the surface while moving your hand in small circular motions to avoid gouging the flywheel’s surface.
- Respray brake cleaner: Spray a large amount of brake cleaner to rinse off the flywheels and wash away any remaining particles.
- Allow it to dry: Allow the flywheel 2-3 minutes to dry. Then blow compressed air to dry any remaining cleaner and remove any remaining particles.
You’re done! That’s how easy it is to clean a flywheel yourself.
Places to Get Flywheel Resurfacing Summary
The flywheel is an essential part of your car that helps store and transmit power to different parts. If left in a damaged condition, the engine can stall and result in costly repairs and replacements. In addition, a bad flywheel can prevent you from changing gears and makes your vehicle unreliable if you’re using it as a pilot car driver, get paid to deliver cars, or you get paid to advertise on it.
By getting your flywheel resurfaced regularly, you can lengthen its lifespan and save money fast.
Auto retailers and service centers are some of the best places to get your flywheel resurfaced. But if you can’t find one in your area, you can access flywheel resurfacing services at nearby certified mechanics or machine shops.
It only costs about $50 and under 5 minutes to resurface a flywheel vs. a new flywheel for over $1,000 and 4-5 hours of labor. Thus, it’s recommended to get your flywheel resurfaced anytime you get your clutch replaced on your car.
See our guide on how to become a pilot car driver for oversized vehicles.