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?
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 shakes in First gear

Hello. It is possible that a tune up of your vehicle would solve this problem. There could also be a problem with one of your engine mounts. A diagnosis of the vehicle's drivability needs to be done by a certified...

Q: How long does it take to replace a slave cylinder on an 03'Honda Element

Hi there. The time of labor to remove and replace the clutch slave cylinder on a 2003 Honda Element is about 3 and a half to 4 hours to replace including bleeding the hydraulic system. If you need further assistance...

Q: Was driving in D pressed the pedal car wouldn't move engine revs up but car doesn't move forward.. It's fine now

The manufacturer has a technical bulletin to cover this problem. They would first check for any standing transmission problems then reprogram the PCM power train control module to the latest levels. Get in touch with your dealer to have this...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...