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Car clutch: what it is and how it works

Car clutch: what it is and how it works

What is the clutch for?

The operation of the car clutch is often poorly understood, yet without this component, starting and changing gear would be impossible and there would be the risk of compromising the mechanics of the car and the gearbox gears. Making you better understand the car clutch and the functioning of this fundamental mechanical organ, therefore, is what we will try to do in this article.

Clutch: where is it and how is it made?

To understand what a clutch is, you must first understand how the car clutch is structured and where it is located . This mechanical element is composed of one or more clutch plates, the car clutch pressure plate and a thrust bearing: all three elements work in synergy for the correct functioning of the same organ.

But where exactly is the car clutch ? This is located between the car engine and the gearbox, while it is connected to the passenger compartment through a pedal, which can operate it mechanically or hydraulically. It follows that what is defined as “flush” is precisely mechanically controlled by a cable, while the car’s hydraulic clutch operates dictated by a conduit containing the appropriate oil. More particular is the electromagnetic clutch , with its operation activated by an electromagnetic reaction.

Car clutch: operation

The clutch operation is closely related to those three elements – disc clutch, clutch pressure car and thrust bearing – that make up its mechanical apparatus. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the thrust bearing pulls the pressure plate back, thus moving the shift shaft away from the crankshaft. The removal of the latter allows the driver to engage the desired gear.

The clutch operation is reversed at the moment when, instead, the pedal is released. At this moment, the thrust bearing moves the pressure plate towards the clutch disc which, moving in the direction of the engine, connects the crankshaft with the gearbox shaft. To sum up what the car clutch is, it could be said that it has an action focused on the approach and removal of some components necessary for the motion of the car. Finally, it is essential to make sure that all fluids that ensure the clutch function are at the right level.

Car clutch: what is it for?

We have explained what the car clutch is and  how the clutch works , that is how the disc, the pressure plate and the thrust bearing work together, but, in practice, what is the clutch for? The operation of the clutch has the task of allowing us to engage a gear, whether it is to make a start or to change gears when we are driving. Thanks to the clutch and its function of connection between engine and gearbox , in fact, the motion produced by the engine through the crankshaft can be transferred to the gearbox and subsequently to the transmission shaft, which will have the fundamental task of giving movement to the wheels.

Furthermore, thanks to the operation of the car clutch , the behavior of the vehicle can also be managed . Moving from one gear to another, depending on the situation, it will be possible for us to have a high acceleration – important in the case of an uphill or overtaking – or a greater extension, essential for reaching higher speeds as in the case of highway.

Burnt clutch: what to do?

Basically, when we talk about a  burnt clutch , we always refer to its wear. But in case of a burnt clutch, how to notice it?

First of all you realize that you have burnt the clutch when you switch off the engine and there is an acrid and very strong smell. If this happens, the chances of restarting the engine are very slim. Recall that the clutch consists of a clutch disc , also called a clutch flywheel and a set of springs as well as a bearing.

To prevent these components from wearing out quickly, it is always important to try not to depress the clutch pedal too much when driving, especially when in neutral. Another problem can be given by the engine oil which must be checked often. Therefore avoid the purchase of low quality products and always keep the oil under control.

What to do in case of a burnt clutch?

Element replacement is not an operation that is generally included in the warranty . The expense will certainly not be limited so it is always better to keep the clutch condition checked . As soon as you feel the first  signs of wear , and it is not possible to replace the element yourself, you must immediately contact a mechanic or an authorized workshop.

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