Q: Q: How Does a Clutch Work?

asked by on

How does a clutch work in a manual transmission?

A clutch for a manual transmission is not a single part, but many parts put together to form the clutch assembly that is part of the clutch system. The parts in a clutch assembly are the clutch pressure plate, clutch disc, clutch release bearing, flywheel, clutch release fork and pilot bearing. The clutch system consists of the clutch assembly, clutch cable, clutch pedal, and bracket. Some clutch systems use hydraulics to move the clutch instead of the clutch cable. The system has a clutch master cylinder, fluid pressure line, clutch slave cylinder, and a different release fork or no fork at all, mounted on the front of the transmission.

The clutch pressure plate is bolted to the flywheel with the clutch disc sandwiched between them. The pressure plate keeps high pressure on the clutch disc causing it to press against the flywheel. The clutch disc has material mounted to it with rivets or glue similar to brake pad material. The disc has center splines that slide on and lock to the transmission input shaft. The input shaft is supported on its tip by a pilot bearing or bushing in the center of the flywheel or rear of crankshaft. The clutch release bearing slides on the front of the transmission and is pressed on the pressure plate fingers to release its pressure on the clutch disc. This allows the engine and transmission to spin free of each other.

The clutch operation starts with the operator pressing in the clutch pedal. The pedal arm will pull in on the cable or the arm will push in on the rod to the clutch master cylinder. The cable will pull on the clutch release fork or the clutch hydraulic slave cylinder will press in the clutch fork. The fork or slave cylinder pushes in the release bearing to press on the clutch pressure plate to release the clutch. As the pressure plate is pressed, it takes off pressure on the clutch disc and allows the transmission to be shifted. Once a gear is selected, the clutch pedal is released and the pressure plate then applies pressure on the clutch disc. As pressure is applied, the clutch disc is locked to the pressure plate and flywheel to turn the transmission input shaft.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Q: How Does a Clutch Work?

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

Q: Car will not shift and stalls - 2016 Subaru WRX

Hey there. Considering the burning smell, there may be a problem in the hydraulic circuit of the clutch system. A failing clutch master or slave cylinder can cause the problems you are having. To have this diagnosed more thoroughly, a...

Q: transmission shifting harsh and/or delayed

The rpm's "skyrocket" is normally an indication of substantial clutch wear within the transmission. Considering the 313,000 miles, this is most likely the case. If the fluid & filter replacement didn't make any change in performance, you should take...

Q: Where can I buy the automatic transmission sensor circuit?

If a local auto parts store does not have it I recommend contacting the Mercedes-Benz dealership parts department of your area if you're not confident in the repair I recommend hiring a qualified professional in your area

Related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.