Is there a mechanical reason for the clutch on our Renault lacking free play?

On my recently purchased used Renault the clutch pedal has no 'free play' and starts to take up at the top of the clutch travel. I find this most awkward to pull away from rest without a slight jerking. The local dealer tells me the clutch has no free play and does bite in this way. I am an experienced driver of many years' standing with a great variety of different vehicles, but I can't seem to cure this problem. Is it me or could there be a mechanical answer? Should I let my wife drive all the time? I am quite competent in my own Hyundai Matrix.

Asked on 2 November 2010 by MJ, via email

Answered by Honest John
In my experience, this is not normal and usually indicates a clutch about to fail, for which the dealer who sold the car to you is liable for six months from the date of purchase.
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