Today we talk about one of the most important parts of a car without which it can never function. The car clutch.  To be clear, we are going to talk about cars that are not electric since electric cars don’t really use transmission. And to be even more clear, we will stick to a manual transmission and how to improve the clutch’s life.

What Is A Clutch And How Does It Work?

Clutch Plate
Clutch Plate

A clutch acts as a mechanical linkage between the engine and transmission, and briefly disconnects, or separates the engine from the transmission system. This disconnects the drive wheels whenever the clutch pedal is depressed, allowing the driver to smoothly change gears. A car’s clutch typically contains a flywheel, pressure plate and a clutch plate.

Clutch
Clutch parts

When the clutch pedal is pressed, a cable or hydraulic piston pushes on the release fork. This, in turn, presses the release bearing, which disengages the engine from the transmission during gear shifts, against the middle of the diaphragm spring. As the middle of the diaphragm spring is pushed in, a series of pins near the outside of the spring causes the spring to pull the pressure plate away from the clutch disc. This releases the clutch from the spinning engine.

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How To Increase Clutch Life?

No matter how you look at it, since the clutch works on the concept of friction, it will eventually wear out and you will have to get it replaced. But, there are a few simple tips that can be followed to increase its lifespan and the most important reason why you need to follow them is that clutch replacement is a costly affair. So here they are:

  1. Don’t Ride The Clutch

    Riding a clutch
    Riding a clutch

    Most of them have this habit of resting their foot on the clutch pedal. This is a really bad habit as even the slightest effort will cause the pressure plates to start compressing. This, in turn, will make some of the friction plates come in contact and cause unnecessary wear and tear. So when you are not using the clutch, make sure you do not rest your foot on it. The clutch pedal should either be fully pressed or completely untouched. This is definitely the simplest method on how to make a car clutch last long.

  2. Use Handbrake On An Uphill

    Use handbrake
    Use handbrake

    Many people while stopping at an inclined surface tend to use the clutch to stop the car from rolling backwards. By doing that you won’t have enough juice left to move forward without jerks and you are putting a lot of load on the clutch as well. Instead, use the handbrake and take your foot off the brakes. Start moving by releasing the clutch and handbrake while increasing the throttle at the same time. This might feel a lot of things going on at the same time but when done right, it is more comfortable and decreases the load on your clutch as well.

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  3. Don’t Use The Clutch Every Time You Brake

    Pressing clutch and brake at same time
    Pressing clutch and brake at same time

    Another commonly observed bad habit is when people press the brake and clutch pedals simultaneously while braking. Not only does this cause unnecessary clutch usage but you are also sacrificing a lot of braking force by taking the load away from the engine. The generally accepted way to operate your clutch under braking is to use it just before the point that the engine starts to struggle and cut out. The basic rule here then is to depress the clutch if your car’s speed is too low for the gear selected. So when you intend to slow down, only use the clutch when it’s necessary to shift gears. Keeping the clutch pressed as soon as you brake could decrease your rate of slowing down.

  4. Use Neutral While Waiting At Signals

    Traffic Signal India
    Traffic Signal India

    This is very simple and we have witnessed many people use the clutch while stopping at a signal. Pressing the clutch while waiting for the signal is a very wrong thing to do even for 5 seconds as it increases the usage of the clutch while you could have simply slotted the car in Neutral. Keeping the clutch pedal depressed when it’s not in use is a sure-fire way of reducing its longevity.

  5. Use The Clutch Only When You Have To

    We understand using the clutch is very much necessary and definitely on the higher side when living in crowded cities. And NO, we are not asking you to stop using the clutch entirely, but more like letting you know to use it more sensibly. In the end, it comes down to engaging and disengaging the clutch only when truly necessary. Moreover,  if you do (dis-)engage it, do it carefully. Always try to limit the amount of time you do not fully depress the clutch pedal (as the clutch slips it will chafe against the flywheel, gently wearing it out). When you can, do not touch the clutch at all(mostly during the highway runs). It will not only extend the lifespan of your clutch but will also save fuel and brake pads. It requires a little practice, but you’ll be able to reap the rewards fairly soon.

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