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Clutch Systems

Purpose of the clutch

The purpose of the clutch is to separate the engine from the gearbox, while also reducing vibrations and protecting the engine. The lifespan of a clutch is around 100,000 km. When this mileage is exceeded, the length of its life depends on the journeys you take and how you use your vehicle.

Functioning of the clutch

The clutch is made up of seven main parts:

  • The gearbox shaft
  • The fork
  • The gears
  • The engine flywheel
  • The springs
  • The clutch disc
  • The release bearing

All of these parts together prevent tremors when starting the car or shifting gears. Vibrations and unevenness are handled by the springs. The clutch in particular protects the engine and transmission in times of over-revving or when the wheels are spinning (for example, on black ice).

Functioning of the clutch system: when you depress the clutch pedal, the pressure plate moves to the right, thus removing the attachment connection between the engine flywheel and the clutch disc mounted on the input shaft of the gearbox. Therefore, the input shaft is no longer powered.

Wearing and testing of the clutch

The following are signs of a worn clutch:

  • The clutch pedal (or clutch control) becomes very stiff
  • The clutch burns, generating a strong sensation of heat

Here are some tests you can do yourself in order to identify a possible problem with the clutch.

1st test:

  1. When stopping, idle your engine in order to slightly heat it
  2. Apply the handbrake and go into third gear
  3. Engage gently
  4. The engine should stall violently

If the engine has trouble starting up, it means that your clutch disc is most definitely worn out.

2nd test:

  1. Put your car at the bottom of a slope
  2. Go up the slope at reduced speed (not more than 50km/hour)
  3. Accelerate hard, pedal to the floor as if you wanted to overtake

If the engine rpm increases but the vehicle does not pick up speed, then the clutch is worn out and is slipping.

Advice for lengthening the life of a clutch

  • Avoid starting with your ‘foot to the floor’! Releasing the foot abruptly from the clutch control will put the clutch parts under severe pressure.

  • Do not put the car into gears too slowly either! If you allow the clutch to slip for too long, your clutch disc risks becoming overheated, which may also cause the lining to glaze, leading to the disc’s death!

  • The same goes for ‘difficult’ starts – be careful if you are pulling a trailer or caravan, or are starting on a hill.

  • If the clutch disc needs to be replaced, we advise you to change the gears too – why? Put simply, it is pointless to install a new disc on worn gears. In addition, there is a risk that the system will not function well because the disc will press unevenly against the gears.

  • Don’t keep the foot pressed on the clutch control if you have stopped, for example, at a red light, as this wears the gears needlessly and runs down the entire system.

  • When driving, avoid putting your foot on the clutch pedal because even a very slight push can cause the disc to slip.

  • This will sound silly, but even if your car is very powerful and/or has a lot of torque, avoid instant starts!

Replacing a clutch

Changing a clutch requires time, special tools, and a certain amount of mechanical knowledge. The removal and replacement of a clutch require several hours of work, depending on the model of your car. If you are still doubtful of your mechanical skills, we advise you to go to an expert!

However, if you decide to change the clutch yourself, here is some advice:

  1. Disconnect the battery (for safety) and remove all pieces which might prevent you from easily accessing the clutch.
  2. Remove the wheels from your car in order to first take out the gimbals and then the gearbox. You can now access the clutch!

Beware: the positioning of your new clutch must be as precise as the positioning of the old one, hence the need for special tools such as a clutch alignment tool.

If one of the parts of the system wears out, we advise you to completely change the clutch kit! On our online catalogue you can find the clutch kit you need, order it and receive it at your home or delivery point within just 24 hours!

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