Q: How Does a Clutch Engage and Disengage?

asked by on December 01, 2015

How does a clutch engage and disengage?

The clutch is designed to engage and disengage the connection between the engine flywheel and the transmission input shaft. The clutch is operated by pushing on the clutch pedal inside the vehicle, which causes the clutch to disengage, and as the pedal is released the clutch will engage.

Depending on the type of system the vehicle has, it will either have a hydraulic operated clutch or cable operated clutch. They both will push in on the clutch pressure plate to take pressure off of the clutch disc so no connection between the engine and transmission happens.

The clutch cable system starts with the operator pressing on the clutch pedal. The pedal is mounted on a shaft and then to a lever. The lever is connected to the clutch cable. When the lever moves the cable inside, the cable is pulled through the casing and on the transmission, while the other end of the cable is connected to the clutch lever. The lever is pulled by the cable. The other end of the lever is attached to the release bearing. As the lever is moved, it uses the release bearing and pushes in the clutch pressure plate to release the clutch and disengage it.

The hydraulic type clutch system uses a hydraulic master cylinder operated by using the pedal and push rod. The master cylinder is connected using hydraulic lines to a slave cylinder on the transmission to push on the clutch, similar to the cable system pulling on the lever. There is a different type of slave cylinder that replaces the release bearing and presses in the clutch without use of a lever.

The clutch itself consists of a pressure plate, clutch disc, release bearing, and flywheel. The clutch disc is attached to the input shaft of the transmission on a splined shaft. The disc is sandwiched between the flywheel and the pressure plate. The release bearing is used to push on the release fingers of the pressure plate. If the pressure plate is engaged then it pushes on the clutch disc against the flywheel and locks the engine to the transmission input shaft. When the release bearing pushes in on the pressure plate fingers, it relieves pressure on the clutch disc and disengages the connection from the engine and transmission.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Is my transmission messing up?

To answer the question. Yes, your transmission is messing up. You will have to have the transmission shift solenoids checked to see what is the cause since the problem is not a common problem with this vehicle. A computer and...

I own a 2006 Cayman S. I brought it into the dealer for some concerns - please help me decide what to do

Hello - tire "speed range ratings" like "N" are for sustained speed at a specified load. If you participate in "track days" or other high-speed driving events, you would be wise to stick with an equivalent "N" rated tire, whether...

Car shuts down when in reverse

It appears that you may be experiencing a few different issues with your Honda Accord. The stalling may be caused by such culprits as a dirty idle air control valve or perhaps it may be time to perform a valve...

Related articles

How a Manual Transmission Works
A A manual transmission helps a vehicle achieve a desired speed through the use of gears, a clutch, and a shifter. It works like this: when the driver wants to shift gears, he or she pushes in the clutch pedal...
How a Manual Transmission Works
A A manual transmission helps a vehicle achieve a desired speed through the use of gears, a clutch, and a shifter. It works like this: when the driver wants to shift gears, he or she pushes in the clutch pedal...
How to Replace a Transmission Position Sensor (Switch)
Transmission position sensors (TPS) switch ensures a car is in Neutral or Park when started and shuts the car down if it's not in the right gear.