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How The Clutch Works On a Car? | 3 Warning Signs To Know


Do you need to know how the clutch works on a car? The clutch is the most important and crucial part of the vehicle. If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you must be aware that the clutch is used to shift gears up or down.

To those who operate vehicles with an automatic transmission, they do not necessarily have to operate the clutch manually but they too use it while driving.

For you to operate your vehicle in the best and most efficient way possible, you need to understand what is a clutch, how the clutch works on a car and what it does.

What is a Clutch?

The clutch is the piece of the driving system that enables you to actually operate your car. To get into detail about the system, the clutch allows synchronization and spinning of the two shafts of your car or else stop the synchronization. This synchronization process allows you to change and shift gears in your vehicle thus engaging the right gear.

Inside the vehicle, just below the steering wheel, there are three peddles,one to the right, another to the left and one in the middle of the two. The peddle that is to the left is the peddle used to engage the clutch or otherwise engage and disengage the gears.

Why It Is Important?

As discussed above, the clutch is a very important part of the vehicle because it allows you to operate the vehicle. It is a key element to operating the vehicle. Proper working of the clutch ensures proper working of the entire system of the vehicle.

Hitches with the clutch can really cause damage to the gears and constituent mechanical parts of the vehicle. Essentially, the vehicle will not be mobile without the clutch working. To prevent destroying your car, you have to keep the shaft in proper working condition.

How does a clutch work in car?

There are major components that are connected and joined to the engine, giving first priority to the fly wheel. Next, we have the clutch plate that is connected to the transmission system.

The pressure plate is also connected to the engine, this prevents friction between the fly wheel and the clutch plate, this is because, this region takes an incredibly higher amount of force and pressure within the engine.

Also, there are studs and the diaphragm spring; when the middle of the diaphragm spring is pushed in, a number of pins near the outside of the spring causing it to pull the pressure plate away from the clutch disc, this effect results to the clutch releasing from the engine.

The other important component is the clutch bearing or the throw-out bearing. This bearing helps to reduce noise and increase smoothness of the transition of the gears.

Finally, we have the release fork and the clutch housing. These components helps to put force onto the pressure plate thus forcing the pressure plate fingers to release. All the above discussed clutch components are housed in the bell housing.

The Location of the Clutch

The clutch links with shafts to allow for spinning at the same instance. These shafts are located in the gear box where one of these shafts is rotated by a motor while the other shafts drive different devices.

Furthermore, the shaft is coupled by the clutch to enable them rotate at different speeds. These speeds results to movement of the vehicle upon engagement of any gear.

In addition, there are various major components that connects with the clutch. The two shafts, one that connects to the engine and the other that connects to the wheels.

As the engine revolves faster, more and more adjustments require to be made just before the engine connects to the wheel as the driver engages a different gear.

Whether you are operating a manual or an automatic transmission vehicle, the above principle equally happens. The process is equally the same while you shift gears.

When to Replace Your Clutch?

Like any other component of your vehicle, you will need to replace the clutch after using it for a considerable amount of time. Many advancements have been made as pertains maintenance of the clutch with most of the modern clutches having a considerable longer lifespan.

The recommended time after which you are required to replace your clutch is after hitting the eighty thousand mile mark. Depending on how you drive your vehicle, this will depict when you need to replace the clutch. Many will replace it before the above stated mileage has been reached while others still have it in good condition even after that.

3 Warning Signs to Look For

We have understood how the clutch works in vehicle. The clutch is an essential element for the operation of your vehicle. You now need to know when the clutch needs your attention. Below are signs that will tell you about your clutch being defective:

Failure of clutch linkage to the hydraulic system of the vehicle

This failure results from pressure loss which ultimately disengages the gears. This linkage failure may not necessarily indicate failure of the clutch but it is important to fix the leak if there is any.

Slippage of worn out clutch

If under heavy load your gears are disengaging, or the gears are shifting from their location, then the clutch is worn out and should be replaced immediately.

Burning smoke smell

If you are in a traffic while driving a manual car, in the off chance you might be tempted to engage your gears and the clutch in a hill balancing position. When done for longer periods of time, this may wear out the clutch and result to heating up of the clutch. In this case if you smell some burning or you see some smoke under your car, then consider replacing the clutch.


The clutch is often an ignored vehicle component in a manual transmission engine generally because not so many people have adequate knowledge about it or it’s working. Without a clutch system, the vehicle will not disengage the power to drive, stop, start or even shift and change it’s gears.

Last Updated on: February 21, 2024

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Jessie Harrison
Jessie Harrison
8 years ago

Every part of your vehicle will at some point need repair. Just recently my clutch has been acting funny. I’m a little worried that it needs to be replaced, or I’m using it wrong. It’s a used car, so I don’t know when it was last replaced. I think I have had some slippage, though, so maybe it does need to be looked at.

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