Driving with a manual transmission is becoming rarer, but driving a manual is an important skill. Common in many older models of trucks and cars, the clutch is responsible for regulating the distribution of engine power sent to the transmission and in turn the wheels. Although it can be difficult to get the hang of it for drivers who have only ever been behind the wheel of an automatic, with a little bit of practice driving a manual can become second nature. Many drivers even prefer manual transmissions because of the increased control it gives them over their vehicles. But, when is it time to have your clutch looked at? There are a variety of warning signs every driver should be aware of.
Understanding The Parts Of Your Clutch
In order to understand potential issues with your clutch, you need to understand the parts of the clutch and how it interacts with the rest of your car or truck. Some clutches use hydraulic fluid while others (more commonly) utilize a cable to connect the pedal to the clutch. A clutch kit includes the following mechanical components:
- Cover Plate: The cover plate includes the diaphragm spring that connects the pressure plate to the driven plate.
- Pressure Plate: The pressure plate constantly applies pressure to the driven plate through a diaphragm spring.
- Driven Plate: The driven plate, also known as the friction plate is the plate that is moved in and out of contact with the flywheel. Under normal driving conditions, the friction plate is in contact with the flywheel, but when the clutch pedal is used the driven plate is moved away from the flywheel interrupting transmission power.
- Release Bearing: The release bearing is the mechanism responsible for disengaging the pressure plate from the driven plate.
- Slave Cylinder: When the clutch pedal is depressed the slave cylinder pushes the release bearing that disengages the pressure plate from the driven (or friction) plate. This interrupts the transmission of power allowing the driver to change gears.
When Does Your Clutch Need Repairs
There are a variety of signs that something is wrong with your clutch kit. With most car repair services, the earlier you can notice an issue with your vehicle the better. Repairs are generally more affordable if you catch an issue early on, and noticing issues quickly can also prevent unsafe driving conditions. Here are a few common signs there is an issue with your clutch.
- Smoke & Burning Smell: There are a variety of issues that can cause smoke to rise from your engine and create a burning smell. If you drive a manual vehicle, issues with your clutch can be the cause of the smoke or smell. This can be a sign you need a clutch adjustment and that the plates are no longer interacting correctly. This can also be caused by driving in slow, stop and go, traffic.
- Low or Contaminated Brake Fluid: If your fluids are getting low, it could be because of leaks in the slave cylinder or main cylinder. The rubber seals in your clutch can also deteriorate over time causing brake fluid to become cloudy and contaminated.
- Strange Clutch Pedal Feel: If your clutch pedal seems spongey or that it is not depressing properly this could be a sign of leaks in the slave cylinder. If the pedal does not depress completely or stays depressed it may not be possible to safely change gears.
- Leakage: Visible signs of leakage from your clutch kit are always signs for concern. If you notice leaks on the floor of your garage or of your engine bay, you should schedule a maintenance appointment.
- Slipping Gears: If you slip in and out of gears frequently this can be a sign that your clutch needs to be looked at. It is likely that your clutch plate needs to be replaced or repaired.
Get Clutch Repair Services in Everett Massachusetts
Everett Transmission handles all things transmission for Boston drivers. We provide transmission kit and clutch kit repair/replacement services. Through our online appointment scheduler, you can contact our team 24/7 to set up an appointment. If you have questions about clutch repair or potential warning signs that your clutch needs maintenance, please contact us online.