The clutch is the first stage in a car transmission. It transmits power from the engine flywheel to the transmission. The main function of a clutch is to engage or disengage the engine from the transmission when shifting gears. When you engage the clutch, the engine power flows to the wheels. Similarly, when the clutch is disengaged, there is no power transmission. The clutch enables the driver to disengage the wheel from the engine without necessarily killing the engine.
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How the clutch works
The basic principle of a clutch is friction. Friction plates are placed between flywheel and pressure plate. The flywheel is mounted on the engine crankshaft wheel while the pressure plate is mounted on the transmission plate.
When the diver exerts a force on the clutch pedal the force is transmitted to the clutch disc which in turn put pressure on a flywheel. As a result, the engine is locked to the transmission shaft enabling them to rotate at the same speed and move your vehicle. The pressure plate clamps disc assembly on the flywheel transmits engine power to the transmission. During disengagement Power flow is interrupted since the pressure plate is not clamped against the flywheel.
The clutch is mostly discussed in the context of manual transmission. However, automatic transmission automobiles technically have a clutch. In an automatic transmission, the clutch is a part of the larger combination of systems that make the torque converter
Functions of a clutch
- Allows the engine to run without transmitting power to the transmission
- It allows the driver to shift transmission to various gears
- It reduces shocks on components of the vehicle including gears and shafts. It provides smooth engagement
- It delivers power to the wheel without slipping
Major parts of a clutch
The main parts of a clutch include:
- Driving member – It is connected to the crankshaft and consists of a cover that consists of the pressure plates, releasing lever and pressure springs. This assembly rotates with the engine.
- Driven member – It consists of a friction plate and clutch housing.
- Operating member – Operating member consists of linkage, springs and release levers.
Most common clutch problems include
- Wears especially on discs
- Hard clutch
- Broken cable
- Misalignment where linkage transmits the wrong amount of force when the driver presses the pedal
How to prevent wears in clutches
- Shift gears decisively and quickly. Pressing the clutch for long puts strains on the clutch when shifting gears
- Use handbrake/parking brake when parking. Leaving your car in gear when not driving increases pressure o the clutch
- Avoid riding your clutch-Clutch riding is pressing down your car all the time
Learn more about your vehicle’s transmission: