How to use a car clutch – the principle of work, how to squeeze and release the pedal

The content of the article

This is taught to novice drivers in a driving school, but it happens that for many years of driving experience they are not taught to take care of the clutch in a car – it quickly wears out and needs to be replaced. In order to understand how to use the car clutch correctly, you need to have a good idea of ​​the scheme of its operation and the purpose of the individual components, for example, the pressure plate, which motorists have long dubbed the “basket”.

What is a car clutch

Structurally, the clutch (friction clutch) in the car is designed to connect / disconnect the engine shaft with an automatic or manual gearbox. This allows you to move away without sudden jerks and provides a smooth switching of speeds on the go, preventing overloading the components of the transmission due to changes in the number of revolutions of the crankshaft. There are different designs of actuators for transmitting force from the pedal to pressure mechanisms, such as mechanical, hydraulic and electric.

Where is

Since the purpose of the clutch is to transmit torque from the engine crankshaft to the gearbox, it is structurally located between these two units. The specific location may depend on the layout of the base units, front or rear drive transmission, but in any case it will be in front of the car under the hood.

Rear-wheel drive vehicle node layout


Being a connecting unit for transmitting rotation, the design of the friction clutch in a car is not particularly difficult. The main components are:

  • Pressure disk – has release springs at the base and is designed to connect to the flywheel. Due to the petal design, he received the title “basket” for similarity in appearance.
  • Driven disk – has a clutch, beam base and pads. Special damper springs help reduce shaking when shifting.
  • Release bearing – located on the input shaft and drives the drive fork. Some designs may use retaining springs for a more secure fit..
  • Clutch pedal – with the help of it, the driver from the cab controls the working process, transmitting an instruction to connect or disconnect the engine drive shaft and gearbox. In cars with an automatic transmission (automatic transmission) there is no pedal; the system is operated using a special servo.

Modern car manufacturers offer customers different design options for friction clutches. Differences may concern:

  • number of disks – single or multi-disk systems;
  • working environments – dry or wet options;
  • drive into action – mechanical, hydraulic, electrical methods;
  • ways to press the clamping disk – clutch with a central diaphragm or springs in a circle.

Why do you need

It’s very simple to figure out how the car’s clutch device works – until the pedal is pressed, the drive and driven wheels touch, transmitting torque from the engine flywheel to the gearbox, and then, through the driveshaft, to the wheels. Pressing disconnects the disks, rotation ceases to be transmitted, and the driver can change the speed. Then you need to slowly lower the pressure so as not to burn the friction clutch when the discs contact too sharply, and it is very important not to keep the pedal depressed for too long.

Principle of operation

In words, this is simply explained – the friction clutch ensures the interaction of the engine flywheel and the gearbox, ensuring their disconnection for switching speeds. But how much time does it take for novice drivers to learn in practice how to squeeze the pedal correctly so that there is a smooth and soft start from the spot without jerking! Not one hour will pass until the motorist begins to drive well, but one should not forget that maneuvers on the road can ruin the grip of your car.

The legs of a man on the pedals

On the automatic box

In the automatic version, the clutch is “wet” type with the help of gear oil enclosed in a torque converter and two impellers. The flywheel blades entrain the flow of oil, which spins the pump wheel – this is how the rotation is transmitted to the automatic transmission. Such a car does not have a clutch pedal, therefore, in general, the driving process will be much simpler (especially many fans of “automatic” among women).

On the mechanical box

In the passenger compartment, the clutch is located in the leftmost position of the three (in the center there will be a brake, and the rightmost gas) and with its help the driver controls the connection of the engine to the gearbox. Manual operation requires more attention compared to the “automatic”, but for many users this is a matter of habit and a matter of price. A car with automatic transmission will be much more expensive when buying and servicing, which is why many drivers choose cars with a clutch pedal..

Proper use of the pedal

It will be useful for a beginner to find out how experienced motorists use the car clutch correctly and how the clutch works in the car. Applying simple recommendations on everyday trips, he will achieve mastery much faster if he learns to shift gears correctly and engage the required speed, reducing the load on rubber and brake discs. This applies to driving moments such as short stops (e.g. at a traffic light) and turns.

How to squeeze

In fact, the correct use of the friction clutch implies a clear implementation of two interconnected operations – the pedal must be pressed and then released. Simple tips will tell you how to squeeze the clutch correctly:

  • The pedal is pressed all the way and without delay.
  • Since the main thing is experience, it is better not to spare time for training, finding a suitable site for this and taking an experienced driver to the company.
  • At first, shoes are important – to make the sensations more pronounced, it should be on a thin sole and without heels.

How to squeeze the clutch

How to let go

By loosening the pedal, the driver begins to connect the engine flywheel and the driven disk to transmit rotation to the gearbox. This must be done very carefully so that the ride is as comfortable as possible:

  • The pedal should not be squeezed for a long time.
  • It should be gradually released without sharp throws, slightly delayed when it is pressed in half.
  • Driving on a car must begin with first gear. You can touch the second one only in winter, when the asphalt is very slippery.
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