The clutch acts as the transfer of energy between the car's engine and gearbox, undergoing significent stress each time a gear is selected, particularly whenever a gear is missed or the clutch is released too sharply.
As an active component the clutch of your vehicle will fail at some stage as the car ages, and is designed to fail rather than cause more serious damage to other components in the drive system. Automatic vehicles do not use a clutch mechanism.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or generally poor performance then your clutch or dual mass flywheel may need attention and should be checked. If you leave a failing clutch too long before having it checked, this could cause further damage to the vehicle, including damaging the flywheel itself, which is a significantly more expensive repair procedure.
The clutch assembly of your car is made up of multiple components, depending on the make and model of your vehicle and together with the clutch plate there is often a "dual mass flywheel" in modern vehicles that can also fail.
Clutch components are large items tightly coupled with the engine and therefore time consuming to replace. A typical clutch replacement service can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours (possibly more) depending on the vehicle model and specification. For this reason during any clutch related service all components including the dual mass flywheel would also be checked to ensure they are in good working order before reassembling the clutch casing.