Car Components – Part 1 – Clutches

A1 Clutches are experts in the repair and replacement of clutches and gearboxes but what do these items do within your car, and why are they so vitally important?

This is our short series on what, why and how the various components work together and why keeping them in safe, efficient condition is essential to keep you safe on the road. First off, clutches.


The clutch is your car is a crucial part of the transmission that is the transmission of power from the engine to the wheels in fact the clutch controls whether power is sent to the wheels or not.

The clutch is designed to smoothly transfer the power from the engine to the wheels. The clutch essentially has two discs (the flywheel and the clutch disc) which your clutch pedal can move apart or together. When you start the car, the flywheel spins with the engine, but the clutch disc remains stationary (providing the car is not in gear). If the two discs were brought together quickly there would be a jerk, which could potentially damage both the flywheel and clutch disc, not to mention the gearbox over time. By bringing the discs into contact gradually by smoothly releasing your clutch pedal, you get a smooth transition as the clutch disc starts spinning to match the rotational speed of the engine and transfers the power from the engine to the gearbox.

There are many components within a clutch including the flywheel and clutch disc that we have already mentioned. The clutch disc itself is made of several components, the main parts being the hub, the cover plate, the rivets and the friction material.

So when you want to change gear or put the car into neutral, what happens then? The pressure plate is needed for engaging and disengaging the clutch. It is riveted to the fly wheel and as a result it rotates when the flywheel rotates. The clutch disc within it only rotates when the clutch is engaged. To achieve this, a release bearing is placed in front of a diaphragm spring at the front of the clutch – this spring then flexes when you press the clutch pedal down, releasing the clutch disk from the flywheel and putting the car into neutral. When the clutch pedal is released, the diaphragm spring returns to the original position and the clutch disc is engaged to the flywheel and spins at the same speed.

When your clutch is slipping, it can be down to a number of factors for example it could be caused by the friction material on the clutch disc wearing thin. Then when you release the clutch pedal it does not have the required grip on to the flywheel and so it slips resulting in shuddering or jerks or a loss of power being transmitted to the gearbox by the engine.

How to tell if your clutch is in need of some attention

Here are some of the top indications that your car needs to be inspected, and possibly repaired, by a skilled technician.

Your car will not go into gear When you depress the clutch pedal, the car will not going into gear or change gear. There could be a number of reasons for this, but you need to get it checked out.

The biting point is increasingly high As the clutch wears, the biting point will become increasingly higher up, noticeable to you because you will not have to press the clutch down as far to find it.

Clutch is slipping If you are driving and the engine revs increase but your speed does not, then it is likely that your clutch is slipping.

Clutch judder When you set off, the car judders instead of smoothly moving away.

If you have experienced any of the above problems you can contact A1 Clutches today at any of our four branches, covering the whole of the West Midlands and beyond.

We hope you have enjoyed this first instalment about the various components in your car, stay tuned for the next update!