Clutch is one of the fundamental components of the vehicle and its main function is to shift gears. It provides this operation by cutting the connection between the engine and the gearbox, hence it is located in-between. By being responsible of this separation action, the clutch ensures the healthy operation of the vehicle. When the vehicle is moving, it provides the transmission of motion from the engine to the gearbox. Furthermore, it supports the disconnection of the engine and the drivetrain when required. Although it has a simple task, it may cause problems with a great extent when incompatible or poor quality clutches are used.
Clutch Working Principle
Vehicles cannot achieve the necessary speed instantaneously. A strong jerking and noise occurs in the vehicle when it is forced to achieve an instant speed. Having this goal, the clutch is introduced to switch from low to high speed or from high to low speed. By coordinating the transmission and the engine, it also ensures the acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle. The clutch consists of 3 main parts which are the pressure plate, the clutch disc and the clutch release bearing. It operates using the friction force. When the engine is activated, the pressure plate and the clutch disc rotate simultaneously with the engine. The clutch release bearing is located between these two structures. Thus, it moves together with other components. When the driver presses the clutch pedal, the bearing applies pressure to a part called the clutch diaphragm spring at the center of the pressure plate, and thus the disc is released. Released discs cannot transmit the power received from the engine to the gearbox input shaft hence to the wheels. As the power is not transmitted to the gearbox input shaft located in the transmission, the gear remains idle and rotates at its own speed. In order to be able to shift into a gear, this gear has to be stopped. This action is provided by a braking component called the synchromesh. At this stage, as the driver changes gears using the gear stick, the synchromesh moves the gears to the proper positions so that they can engage smoothly when it contacts the gearbox input shaft. In this way, the gear is shifted silently and smoothly. At the end of this gear shifting operation, the driver moves his/her foot off of the clutch. At the same time, the disc is squeezed between the clutch release bearing and the pressure plate, therefore the power is directed to the transmission again.