The water storage tanks present in your home have massive capacities of around 300-500 litres. The only thing that is preventing all that water from freely flowing through the pipe network is a small device we are familiar with called the tap. Similarly, the cars we drive are capable of producing strong power outputs which just start at 50 kilowatts for small cars. Here also a tap-like device is required to control the transmission of power based on the situation. The device performing that function in your car is the clutch.
What is a Clutch?
The clutch present in your car is a multi-purpose device. It is needed to stop power transmission to the drive shaft so that you can change gears. It prevents the engine from stalling when you are in gear at slow speeds. Lastly, it also functions as a brake to slow down the car during engine braking. With so many key functions under it, the clutch system demands proper usage and a lot of care. So, in this article, we will take a look at some simple tips and techniques on how to make a car clutch last long.
How to Increase Clutch Life
1. Do not ride on the Clutch
The first and the foremost mistake we do is resting our foot on the clutch and this is a seriously bad habit one should get rid of immediately as resting the foot on clutch causes unnecessary pressure on the plates and it starts to get compressed, which in turn causes unnecessary friction and eventually lead to premature wear and tear. So when you are not using the clutch, make sure you do not rest your foot on it. The clutch pedal should either be fully pressed or completely untouched. This is the simplest method on how to make a car clutch last long.
2. Use Handbrakes instead of Clutch on Uphill
When you come to a dead stop on an incline and wish to move forward, what do you do? This is a tricky situation but can be overcome easily. The important thing to remember here is to not use the clutch’s force to keep the car in position. By doing that you won’t have enough juice left to move forward without jerks and you are putting a lot of load on the clutch as well. Instead, use the handbrake and take your foot off the brakes. Then slightly increase the RPM and gradually release the clutch and handbrake while increasing the throttle at the same time. This technique sounds complex but will come to you naturally with some practice.
3. Never stop with Clutch & Brake Immediately
Now, this is the most common habit of every driver out there i.e, to press the brake and clutch pedals simultaneously, while braking. This causes a lot of unnecessary clutch usage and also one is sacrificing a lot on the braking force by transferring the load from the engine to clutch plates causing less braking and more clutch usage. So next time make sure to use clutch only when required else just press brakes, although it can be messy at the starting one will get used to it within a maximum of a week. Keeping the clutch pressed as soon as you brake could decrease your rate of slowing down and potentially cause an accident.
4. Do not Race in City Driving
If you have a decently sporty car, above-average driving skill and you’re the only guy standing on the red light with an empty road ahead of you, the temptation is just excruciating. Sadly as much fun as it is, launching the car puts a whole lot of stress on the clutch. If you are revving your car to 4000-5000 rpm with the clutch pressed is itself a harm to the engine as well as clutch plates and then releasing all that force in a flash does damage to the pressure plates and the input shaft going to the gears as well.
So make sure the next time you are at a Traffic Signal always idle in neutral gear and keep your foot away from the clutch pedal and keep the RPM as low as possible before the stalling point. Then release the clutch slowly and not in a hurry else the car will stall causing unnecessary honking. Else if you can afford frequent clutch replacement then there is no harm in racing on city roads 🙂
5. No Engine Braking
Many drivers out there use Engine Braking to stop the car, though it comes in handy in several situations on the contrary it will damage the clutch. Engine braking unless done perfectly with the correct level of rev-matching will eat up the life of your car’s clutch.
It has more utility on motorcycles, but for cars, the braking force of 4 wheels and the kerb weight itself is enough to slow you down. You can use engine braking in certain situations. For example, if you are driving on a downward slope and you feel that using your brakes might cause you to skid out, you can use engine braking there. But in general, try to rely more on your brakes on normal roads. Keep in mind brake pads are much more affordable than entire clutch assemblies.
6. Minimum Use of Clutch
It is very much necessary to use the clutch in metro cities where there are 3-4 cars in each family causing necessary traffic on the roads. Although I am not stopping you to use the clutch, more like letting you know to use it more sensibly. In the end, it comes down to engaging and disengaging the clutch only when truly necessary. Moreover, if you disengage it, do it carefully. Always try to limit the amount of time you do not fully depress the clutch pedal. When you can, do not touch the clutch at all. It will not only extend the lifespan of your clutch but will also save fuel and brake pads. It requires a little practice, but you’ll be able to reap the rewards fairly soon.