Although automotive clutches have evolved greatly since their invention more than a hundred ago, they have also remained largely unchanged in terms of their purpose, design, basic construction, and principles of operation.
Put in another way, this means that owners of vehicles with manual transmissions have been experiencing largely the same problems and issues with the clutches on their vehicles as drivers have for decades.
A clutch is found in manual vehicles and essentially controls the connection between the shaft coming from the engine and the shafts which turn the wheels so you can change gears. The clutch is made up of the following components:
Unlike most other friction components like brake pads, brake shoes, and brake rotors/drums that are very easy to inspect for signs of excessive wear or other problems, clutches are located between the engine and transmission, which makes it almost impossible to inspect clutch components. In fact, the only time a clutch assembly can be properly inspected for damage, wear, or other issues is when either the engine or the transmission is removed from the vehicle.
Unfortunately, this does not happen very often (if at all) during the useful life of the average clutch assembly, which means that owners of manual vehicles only become aware of clutch problems when one or more symptoms of a failing clutch manifest themselves.
How do you know if your clutch is failing? Since all automotive clutches fitted to manual vehicles perform the same function and work in the same way, the symptoms of failing clutches are also largely the same. Below are a few common examples of a failing clutch.
While most high quality clutches provide many years of reliable service under normal driving conditions, the friction linings on the driven plate cannot last forever, and most manual vehicles will see at least one clutch replacement during its lifetime as a result of normal wear of the linings. Nonetheless, regardless of why a vehicle needs a clutch replacement, there are several things you should keep in mind when the clutch on your vehicle has to be replaced, including the following.
Replacing a clutch on any vehicle requires major disassembly of major, and very often, safety critical components, so you want to be sure not only that the replacement clutch works as expected, but also that your vehicle had been reassembled to industry standards. This means that when you collect your vehicle, there should be no new fault codes present; there should be no new mechanical noises of any kind during operation of the vehicle, and there should certainly be no vibrations, shuddering, or any difficulty changing from one gear to any other gear present.
It's important to choose a qualified professional who is trained and equipped to replace your car's clutch. Your local Repco Authorised Service centre is qualified to carry out repairs on all makes and models. You can find your nearest workshop here.
Clutch replacement costs vary greatly between makes and models. For instance, a clutch replacement on light passenger vehicles can be around $900 or so, while a clutch replacement on high-powered models can run to around $3,000 or more. Clutch replacements on SUV’s and 4WD drive vehicles can run from about $1,500 to about $2,500 or sometimes more, depending on the actual vehicle, while DSG clutch replacements depending on transmission variant can be upwards of $10,000 depending on individual requirements.
Other Things To Know About Your Car's Clutch
Hydraulic clutch control systems are fairly simple, and consist of a master cylinder that is connected to the clutch pedal via a pushrod, and a slave cylinder that acts on the clutch via a linkage or control arm. Here are a few signs to watch out for if your hydraulic clutch control system is experiencing issues.
The clutch release bearing is a thrust bearing that absorbs lateral loads, i.e., loads that are perpendicular to its plane of rotation in your car. Put another way, this means that when the release bearing is brought into contact with the rotating pressure plate when the clutch pedal is depressed, the rotating part of the bearing absorbs the pressure of compressing the diaphragm to remove the diaphragm’s clamping force on the driven plate.
Your local Repco Authorised Service centre is qualified to carry out repairs on all makes and models. You can find your nearest workshop here.
What is a clutch and how does it work?
The word “clutch” derives from the Old English word cly??an, meaning “to clutch”, or to “grip tightly”, which is the basic operating principle of an automotive clutch. Below are is an overview of the parts that make up your clutch.