The clutch is an important component in a standard style vehicle. It directly engages the rotating shafts which draw motion from the engine, and deliver it to rotating components in the vehicle. The clutch is usually positioned between the gearbox and the engine, and it allows you to change gears as you drive. By engaging the clutch, you can switch from first to second and so on, as you follow the RPM of the engine.
While automatic vehicles don’t require the manual push of the clutch to change gears, thus making them convenient to operate, many individuals prefer the hands-on driving experience of a standard. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as realizing that you are in control of the driving experience, and feeling the sensation of the gears change as you initiate the clutch and push the shifter.
How the Clutch Affects Your Vehicle’s Performance
Your vehicle isn’t in constant motion, even when the engine is running. Sometimes you must wait in line at the drive through, or stop for a red light at an intersection. When this happens, the engine is turning, but you can halt the flow of power from your transmission to tires. Of course, you’ve likely got your brake engaged if you’re stopped for some reason, but there’s more to the halt of power flow than the brake alone. The clutch in your vehicle operates using friction, when it is engaged, it applies pressure to a device called a flywheel and this connects your transmission to your engine, giving your wheels the power necessary to go. When you disengage the clutch, the opposite effect takes over, and the transmission is no longer able to connect to the engine. This makes the clutch a pretty important aspect in driving.
Signs Your Clutch Is on The Way Out
You should have your clutch checked once a year during your tune-up, if not more frequently, but there are signs that will let you know it’s time to book an appointment with your mechanic.
Sounds and Smells: Any weird sounds or smells coming from your vehicle are reason to call in the professionals, but this is especially true of the clutch. If you notice a burning smell, or a grinding sound coming from the clutch when trying to engage or disengage, see your mechanic as soon as possible.
Spongy Sensation: This might sound incredible odd, but as your clutch deteriorates, it begins to take more pressure to initiate. When you press your foot down onto it, it will start to feel a bit like you’re pushing the gear down into a sponge, or other soft material. This isn’t a good sign, and usually means that the clutch doesn’t have much life left to give. If you can drive to a mechanic safely do so, otherwise it might be a good idea to call for a tow.
RPM Seems Off: The RPM meter on your dash helps you navigate when you change gears and initiate the clutch, if you’re driving in 3rd and switch to 2nd, but notice that the RPM doesn’t fluctuate with the change, there’s a problem somewhere between the transmission and the clutch.
Sticking and Slow Response: Finally, if your clutch is sticking, or you find yourself needing to push it more than once, or stalling more often than usual, a trip to the mechanic could be helpful.
If you’re experiencing trouble with your clutch, be sure to contact a certified mechanic as soon as possible. The longer you drive a vehicle with a faulty clutch, the more possibility there is of damaging your gears beyond repair. Remember that the way that your clutch operates can directly affect your engine, and while a clutch may seem inconvenient to replace, engine repair will be far costlier. Drive safe and comfortable by scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced mechanics today, and dealing with your clutch issue before it stirs up more trouble.
For more information on clutches, or other repair services offered through Glenn’s Auto Repair, contact us today. Our client’s safety and comfort is our top priority, and we’re always happy to speak with new or returning customers.
Oil and filter change. Check and fill all fluids. Belt, hose, and brake inspection. Tire inspection and rotation. Lubricate door hinges, hood, trunk, steering, components and suspension.