The clutch uses friction between two plates to couple the transmission to the movement generated by the engine. Without a mechanism to control this coupling, the transmission and engine would have to stay connected. Braking would then require slowing and stopping the engine itself, and shifting would crunch gears. The clutch, however, allows the transmission to smoothly engage the engine without causing it to stall.Know More
A car's clutch mechanism includes the engine's flywheel and the transmission's clutch plate. The flywheel connects the engine to the starter motor at ignition, but its main function is to transfer torque, or rotating force, from the engine to the transmission. To do this, the flywheel is physically contacted by the clutch plate, which locks the engine and transmission input shaft and causes everything to spin at the same rate. When the clutch pedal is pressed, however, the clutch plate is released from the flywheel.
To protect the two discs and improve contact, the clutch plate is covered with frictional material. This layer should only wear when the clutch plate slides against the flywheel before and after it engages. Thus, drivers should take care not to slip the clutch frequently, as it will wear faster.Learn more in Car Parts & Maintenance
Paddle shifters are attached to the steering wheel of a car and allow drivers to manually switch gears without using the clutch. These shifters are mostly found on high-performance sports cars but are becoming more popular on sedans, hybrids and smart cars.Full Answer >
Drive a manual transmission vehicle by practicing with the car off, coordinating use of the clutch pedal with the gearshift and making sure you hit the clutch when you brake. Stick shifts use a third pedal on the floor and a gear shift lever in the middle part of the car to the right of the driver.Full Answer >
To bleed a clutch, step on the clutch pedal, and undo the bleeder valve to allow the fluid to flow out until it slows. Close the valve, and release the pedal. Continue until all air bubbles exit the valve, refilling the reservoir as necessary.Full Answer >
If the car smells like burning rubber, gears shift on their own or it suddenly becomes difficult to press on the pedals, the clutch may need to be replaced. These are the three most prominent warning signs of a bad clutch, claims Mr. Clutch.Full Answer >