Clutches are more prevelant than you realize. Would you be surprised that your manual transmission vehicle has more than one clutch? Or how about the fact that automatic cars have them also! Clutches are found in many other things too. Like chainsaws, drills and even some yo-yos have a clutch The clutch in your car seperates your drive shaft from the motor. While your vehicle is stopped, a clutch seperates your drive shaft from the engine, allowing it to keep running.
To understand how a clutch works, it helps to know a little bit about friction, which is a measure of how hard it is to slide one object over another. Friction is caused by the peaks and valleys that are part of every surface -- even very smooth surfaces still have microscopic peaks and valleys. The larger these peaks and valleys are, the harder it is to slide the object. A clutch works because of friction between a clutch plate and a flywheel.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, you could count on getting between 50,000 and 70,000 miles from your car's clutch. Clutches can now last for more than 80,000 miles if you use them gently and maintain them well. If not cared for, clutches can start to break down at 35,000 miles. Trucks that are consistently overloaded or that frequently tow heavy loads can also have problems with relatively new clutches.
If your clutch won't release properly, it will continue to turn the input shaft. This can cause grinding, or completely prevent your car from going into gear.
Some common reasons a clutch may stick are:
Broken or stretched clutch cable - The cable needs the right amount of tension to push and pull effectively. Leaky or defective slave and/or master clutch cylinders - Leaks keep the cylinders from building the necessary amount of pressure.
Air in the hydraulic line - Air affects the hydraulics by taking up space the fluid needs to build pressure. Misadjusted linkage - When your foot hits the pedal, the linkage transmits the wrong amount of force. Mismatched clutch components - Not all aftermarket parts work with your clutch. A "hard" clutch is also a common problem. All clutches require some amount of force to depress fully. If you have to press hard on the pedal, there may be something wrong. Sticking or binding in the pedal linkage, cable, cross shaft, or pivot ball are common causes. Sometimes a blockage or worn seals in the hydraulic system can also cause a hard clutch.
Another problem associated with clutches is a worn throw-out bearing, sometimes called a clutch release bearing. This bearing applies force to the fingers of the spinning pressure plate to release the clutch. If you hear a rumbling sound when the clutch engages, you might have a problem with the throw-out. At precision transmssion we will diagnos your clutch problems and recommend what needs to be done.