So what does a clutch do, anyway?
In a manual transmission vehicle, the clutch is what disengages the engine's output shaft from the transmission long enough to allow you to shift gears. The transmission doesn't actually stop spinning when the clutch is disengaged and the gears are changed, but it doesn't have torque transmitted through it during that time.
The clutch is mounted between the engine and gearbox, with one face of the clutch bolted directly to the flywheel. When you depress the clutch pedal, hydraulic pressure or a cable linkage engages with the release fork, which then causes the throwout bearing to press against a diaphragm spring. A series of pins and springs then push the clutch away from the flywheel and disengage it from the spinning engine. When you release the clutch, springs then push the clutch plate and flywheel together again.
A clutch can last the life cycle of a vehicle, but hard use can require clutch replacement before then.
Common clutch problems:
- Worn friction material
- Worn throwout bearing
- Problems with clutch linkage (cable or hydraulic)
- Worn pilot shaft
- Misalignment of clutch components
Clutch replacement is a complex job, but Chris Fix walks you through all the steps here!
Shop for Clutch Components.
At Advance Auto Parts, we're glad to have someone like Chris Fix on board — he's a real automotive jack-of-all trades when it comes to repair and replacement, and his YouTube channel is the #1 DIY automotive channel around, with millions of followers who come to him for advice on everything from high-end restorations to keeping a plain-vanilla daily driver on the road.