The word clutch is often come across while talking about the vehicles. It is one of the most essential components of vehicles. It’s a kind of lever that aids in the smooth change of gears while mating the engine and the gears in the right direction. A good and smooth functioning clutch is an utmost important component. It is a device that transfers the rotational energy from the engine to wheels to enable it in moving in the right direction.
A good and excellent clutch should be compact and should use minimum space. It should be balanced dynamically especially in high-speed vehicles. It should not make much noise and should work smoothly without any shocks or jerks, there needs to be ease in operation of the clutch. The use of a clutch should not cause any unnecessary vibrations. Usage of the clutch will lead to a lot of friction which will eventually generate heat. It should be capable of transferring that heat.
The clutch further consists of many small parts like plates, friction plates, pressure plates, steel plates, driven plate, etc. It also includes release bearing, flywheel, etc. These clutch plates are generally made up of organic components along with copper wirings or ceramic material. Asbestos is also used but they have been declared unsafe and thus are not used commonly now. They use highly durable steel or Kevlar in the case of high-performance vehicles.
The clutch plates usually fit in between the pressure plate and flywheel. The springs on the plates give it a cushioning effect to transfer energy and power without getting major shocks. It suffers the most movement during the use of the clutch and is highly prone to wear and tear. A plate in poor conditions may slip from the system and may not perform its function of transmitting power from the engine to the rear wheels. The gears would no longer shift smoothly in that case. Slight noise or disturbance can act as an indicator of occurring damage. It is generally recommended to regularly replace the plates from a trusted and well-established clutch plate manufacturer.
The gearbox is also a component of a clutch. It aids in keeping the vehicle in a position and also helps to move the vehicle in the backward direction during reverse. It helps in transferring energy to increase torque and decrease speed so that the process of changing gears can be easily carried out.
There are two types of clutch, manual and automatic. Manual is when the driver himself presses the clutch while changing the gears. While automatic clutch itself works according to the needs and requirements of the vehicle.
The life of the clutch varies. Some are replaced with about miles they have covered, whereas some are replaced concerning the time period of usage. Either way, their replacement after a specified time period is necessary to avoid any unforeseen problems. Various parts of the clutch can be separately replaced also. There are different areas assigned for that. There are oil suppliers, there are disc suppliers, clutch plates suppliers, etc. It depends upon the wish of the owner whether he wants to change in parts or as a whole.