When a clutch is working properly, you are in complete control of your vehicle. You decide what gear to use, and when to change them. There is no computer making decisions for you, and you are directly connected to the drivetrain.
For a variety of different reasons, people chose manual transmission vehicles as their means of transportation or recreation. One of the critical parts for a pleasant driving experience with a manual transmission is the clutch. The clutch provides the connection between the engine, and the drivetrain. They come in many different setups, each with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
A clutch is under a large amount of stress in a motor vehicle, and over time they do wear out, and need to be replaced. Some signs that your clutch may be ready for replacing are:
- Strange noises coming from the clutch
- The clutch will not release completely when the pedal is all the way down
- Slipping while starting or changing gears
- Slipping under heavy loads, or while driving uphill
- Chattering while the clutch is engaged
Some times problems with clutch performance have nothing to do with the clutch itself but are in one of the related systems. Such as hydraulics, or the flywheel.
Repair and replacing of clutch related parts are often labor intensive, and expensive. The clutch’s biggest enemy is heat. Overheating a clutch will permanently damage the clutch disk, requiring new parts to be installed. Here are some driving tips that can help extend the life of your clutch.
- Do not “ride the clutch” or drive with the clutch partially engaged
- Slip the clutch only as much as necessary while accelerating
- Drive calmly. Aggressive driving increases clutch wear
- Avoid stop-and-go driving as much as possible