The two most important components of the clutch are the clutch plate (also referred to as clutch disc) and the pressure plate. When the clutch is not engaged, the pressure plate presses the clutch disc against the engine flywheel and the power is transmitted from the engine to the wheels via the gearbox. By pushing down the clutch pedal, you operate the clutch and the power transmission between the engine and the clutch is interrupted. Force is exerted on the release bearing and the pressure plate is separated from the clutch plate thanks to spring force, so that torque can no longer be transmitted to the gearbox.
How is a clutch constructed?
The usual parts in a car with a manual gearbox consists in most cases of three discs. The clutch disc is surrounded by two other plates – the flywheel, and the pressure plate. The car clutch flywheel is firmly connected to the crankshaft and the thrust washer rotates with it and is pressed against the flywheel by a spring. The clutch plate is connected to the gearbox shaft. When the clutch is engaged, the pressure plate is pushed away from the clutch plate and therefore disengaged.
When the clutch is released, contact between the pressure plate and clutch plate is re-established and, since the clutch plate is firmly attached to the input shaft of the gearbox, the transmission powers the wheels. This creates a force of 480 kilograms between the discs every time you step on the clutch pedal. In most cases, operating the clutch triggers a hydraulic process whereby brake fluid is pushed to the working cylinder of the release bearing to make the clutch operation as easy as possible for you, the driver.
Symptoms of a bad clutch disc
Your clutch will let you know if there is a problem with a variety of symptoms. You may notice odd noises due to loose parts bumping against other parts. This could also be accompanied by an acrid burning smell, gear slippage, or the clutch may stick preventing your car from getting into gear. Find out here why the clutch slips and the common causes for this.
Did I install my clutch the right way?
If you are not familiar with how the disc should be installed, installing it the wrong way round is an easy mistake to make. Unfortunately, an incorrect installation position of the clutch plate can lead to damage and failure of the clutch system. When installing a clutch plate, perhaps using a car clutch kit, always make sure that you check the correct installation position. This is why most discs have an imprint, or engraving, near the hub. You can use this marking to find the proper installation position. If there is no marking, it is essential that you mark the position of the used disc to determine the position of the new one.
When do I have to replace the disc?
In general, your clutch should last you about 80,000-100,000 kilometres. When this needs to be replaced, your disc will be automatically replaced with it. If you only need to replace the disc, you can check the price of clutch plates to find the best one for your needs.
Caring for you discs and brakes
In workshops, a brake cleaner is used as a universal cleaning agent for all moving parts. With a few squirts of brake and clutch cleaner, you can quickly clean dusty brake discs, the dirt around the engine compartment, the rims and also dirty tools. Even stubborn dirt is removed with a brake and clutch cleaner spray. You should apply the brake and clutch cleaner to places that are otherwise difficult to reach properly. Cleaners should be sprayed on the components that are difficult to reach in order to achieve proper results. On more modern vehicles, it is more difficult to get to the moving parts because they are difficult to access. In addition, oily deposits, grease and brake dust are difficult to remove. With these types of sprays, such work can be done quickly and efficiently