How Does a Clutch Work?

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The clutch in a car is responsible for transmitting power between the engine and the transmission in vehicles that use a manual transmission. Use a clutch to stop or change gears without doing damage to the gears in a vehicle's transmission with help from an auto mechanic in this free video on car repairs and mechanics.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Repair & Mechanics
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Video Transcript

How does a clutch work? The clutch in a car is responsible for transmitting power between the engine and the transmission in manual transmission vehicles. The clutch allows you to disconnect the engine from the transmission so that you can come to a stop or change gears without doing damage to the gears in the transmission. When you step on the clutch pedal, either via hydraulic or mechanical means, that pedal movement is transferred to the clutch. And what happens is the clutch plate is pressed against the fly wheel with springs in a part called a pressure plate. And by pressing on the clutch pedal, you are disengaging the pressure plate from the clutch disc and allowing it to free wheel in the clutch bell housing. When the clutch pedal is released, the spring tension takes over again, pushing the clutch disc against the fly wheel and allowing power to transfer from the engine to the transmission. A hydraulic clutch works much like a brake system where you have a clutch master cylinder and a clutch slave cylinder. The clutch master cylinder pushes fluid into the clutch slave cylinder which then pushes on the pressure plate via the throw out bearing. In the case of a mechanical linkage, you'll either have a series of levers, or cables that are doing the same thing. When you push on the clutch pedal, it moves the cable or the lever, which moves a fork on the clutch, which also disengages the clutch.

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