Any motorist understands how to operate the clutch of their car. This is 101 learning to drive. However, what is surprising is the sheer amount of motorists that don’t understand how the clutch actually works. You may say, ‘it’s a mechanics job to know this, not mine.’ This is true, but a basic understanding of how the clutch works will save you a bundle on regular servicing, and generally avoid consistent issues from arising.
There are definite warning signs that your clutch isn’t operating efficiently. Motorists with the knowledge to identify these warning signs will be able to address any issues before it becomes too late and any damage becomes so severe that the cost of repair becomes extortionate.
The Clutch Explained Briefly
A gearbox has two rotating shafts. One is driven by the motor the other is linked to a separate device. The clutch connects these two separate shafts. This allows them to spin at the same time, and be coupled together as well as decoupling each shaft, allowing them to spin at different speeds when required.
In a motor vehicle the clutch connects the shaft attached to your wheels and another shaft which is connected to your engine. The faster that the engine revs the more adjustments will need to be made before connecting to your wheels as you engage a different gear.
This is a very basic overview of the functionality. The actual process is more complicate than this, however what should be noted is that the clutch is one of the more vital elements of the motor vehicle. Whether you own and operate a manual or an automatic vehicle the principal remains the same.
Here are four signs that indicate your clutch may need attention:
Clutches are not impervious to wear and tear. When driving in slow moving traffic, motorists are tempted to only engage the clutch when creeping forward. Over a prolonged period of time the clutch plate will overheat, emitting a burning smell and smoke. If your vehicle is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s advised that you seek the assistance of a reputable mechanic.
Clutches that have suffered from general wear will begin to slip. The result is that the gear will disengage when under a heavy load. If you notice that your vehicle is slipping in and out of gear for no apparent reason, the odds are that the clutch is at the end of its lifespan and should be replaced at your earliest opportunity.
The slippage can occur if oil leaks from the crankshaft onto the clutch plate. This will result in the clutch plate slipping and jerking, even slipping out of gear altogether. Whereas this does not necessarily indicate a clutch failure, the issue will need addressing.
The final sign that your clutch is malfunctioning is when hydraulic linkages fail. This results in a loss of pressure that prevents the clutch from disengaging. This too will need to be addressed.
It is absolutely paramount that your clutch is working to an optimal standard. This will allow for safe and consistent motoring. If you’re experiencing any of the above issues, you should visit a mechanic promptly.