What is a clutch and why is it important?
You must have heard that clutch is important. But you would also have wondered what is a clutch. The engine transmits power to the transmission system via a flywheel. The clutch takes this power and, depending on when user wants it, transmits it to wheels. In simpler terms, the clutch is a component which converts stored energy into kinetic energy (moving force). The gears come into place as they alter the way in which power is put to the ground.
The clutch attaches to the flywheel and both spin in sync from then on. Since most clutches are friction-type units, the clutch is covered with a friction material to ensure it sticks on to the flywheel. Over time, when this material wears out completely, the clutch starts to slip and eventually stop transmitting engine’s power to the wheels. The opposite side of it is also true, which is clutch sticking to the flywheel. This will ensure the clutch does not disengage, resulting in grinding noise and not letting your car shift into gear at all.
The clutch is not the kind of component that has to be replaced time and again. It is designed to handle a lot of abuse and if your driving habits are not abusive, a clutch can survive over 60,000 km as well. So, a lot depends on how you drive and how well-maintained your car is.
What are the symptoms of a failing clutch?
If the clutch pedal goes all the way to the floor, there is difficulty in shifting gears and the fluid is leaking These signs may imply that the master or slave cylinder is failing. The other problem may be leakage of clutch fluid.
- If the clutch is slipping When a clutch is first engaged or a gear is changed, a bit of clutch slip is natural. But it shouldn’t happen once the clutch is engaged. Commonly, clutch may slip when the car is going uphill or hauling a load. Normal wear and tear is the usual reason as well as abusive driving habits like clutch riding.
- If the clutch is jerky or chattering This may be due to some oil or grease that has found its way on clutch linings. Loose clutch cover or warped flywheel may cause it too.
- If the clutch is sticking There can be a number of reasons behind this. Air might have gotten into the hydraulic line or the clutch cable may be broken. The linkage connecting the pedal to the clutch system may not be adjusted properly.
- If the clutch refuses to release The possible reasons include damaged input shaft splines, a bent clutch disc or a worn bearing retainer.
- If the clutch feels hard or stiff A problem with the clutch cable or pedal linkage is indicated.
If you are experiencing any of the above problems, get in touch with a well known car repair center for a detailed inspection and resolution.
Look out for these too
A few signs that you should be look out for – car not moving, clutch slipping with a burning smell, inability to change gears, and grinding noise – will tell you that a clutch change is necessary. Though it may seem costly, you are bound to get the clutch changed only after a few years at a stretch. Also, it is a good practice to get the clutch cables replaced alongside the clutch as worn clutch cables may malfunction at any point of time.
Clutch issues left unattended can not only hamper the smooth functioning of your vehicle, it can also render your vehicle immobile. So watch out for jerky, slipping, sticking or hard clutch, etc. At CarDekho, we would be happy help you get your car’s clutch examined and any issues with the same resolved. All you need to do is log on to services.cardekho.com.