Function and Characteristics of Automotive Clutch

Jun. 28, 2023

An automotive clutch is a mechanical device located between the engine and the transmission in a vehicle. Its primary function is to engage and disengage power transmission from the engine to the gearbox. It allows the driver to change gears by connecting or disconnecting the engine's power to the transmission.


When the clutch is engaged, power is transmitted from the engine to the wheels, and when it is disengaged, power transmission is interrupted, enabling gear changes without damaging the transmission or engine.




The clutch ‘engages’ when it connects the two rotating shafts to lock together. Thus, they become one unit and spin at the same speed. It ‘disengages’ when the shafts are unlocked (not locked) and spin at different speeds. However, the clutch is said to be ‘slipping’ when the shafts are still locked together, but they rotate at different speeds.


In other words, the automotive clutch engages and disengages the power transmission to the gearbox while shifting the gears either accelerates or slows down the vehicle. Thus, it avoids the friction between the driving and driven gears being engaged/disengaged. It also prevents any damage to the gears. Generally, vehicles with manual gearboxes have a single clutch. However, automatic transmission vehicles could have more than one clutch.


automotive clutch

Chevrolet Corsa Tigra 1.6 type:20KE6508 370011MX

Characteristics of automotive clutch:


Automotive clutches have several key characteristics that are important for their proper functioning and performance:


1. Friction:

Clutches rely on friction to transmit power from the engine to the transmission. The clutch disc and pressure plate have friction surfaces that engage and create frictional force when pressed together, allowing power transfer. The friction material used should have high coefficient friction properties and be able to withstand heat generated during operation.


2. Durability: 

Clutches are subjected to constant engagement and disengagement, resulting in wear and tear. Therefore, they need to be durable and long-lasting. The materials used in the clutch components, such as the clutch disc, pressure plate, and release bearing, should be able to withstand the forces and stresses exerted during operation.


3. Heat Dissipation: 

Clutches generate heat during operation due to friction. Efficient heat dissipation is essential to prevent overheating, which can lead to clutch slippage and reduced performance. The design of the clutch system should incorporate measures such as proper ventilation and cooling to dissipate heat effectively.


4. Smooth Engagement: 

Clutches should provide smooth and gradual engagement to ensure comfortable driving and prevent jerky movements. A properly designed clutch system, including the pressure plate and release mechanism, should enable smooth engagement and disengagement, allowing for precise control during gear shifts.


5. Torque Capacity: 

The clutch must be capable of transmitting the required torque from the engine to the transmission without slipping. The torque capacity of the clutch depends on factors such as the design, materials used, and the pressure applied by the pressure plate. It should be sufficient to handle the torque produced by the engine under various driving conditions.


6. Adjustability: 

Some clutches may have provisions for adjustment to compensate for wear over time. This allows for maintaining optimal clutch engagement and performance by adjusting the release mechanism or adjusting the clutch pedal height.


7. Noise and Vibration: 

Clutches should operate quietly and minimize vibration. Proper design, use of quality components, and effective damping mechanisms can help reduce noise and vibration during clutch engagement.


These characteristics are crucial in ensuring the efficient and reliable operation of the clutch automotive , providing smooth gear shifts, power transmission, and overall driving performance.

automotive clutch

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