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How to Avoid Burning or Damaging Your Clutch in Manual Transmission Cars

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The clutch is used to engage and disengage drive from the engine - it transmits engine power to the gear box and allows transmission to be interrupted while a gear is selected to move off from a stationary position or when gears are changed while the car is moving. The clutch is arguably the hardest working component in any manual transmission car so it’s constantly subjected to friction which will make it wear out eventually. How fast the clutch wears out depends on the amount of heat generated from how the driver rides the clutch pedal or let's it slip excessively. Clutch burning refers to a phenomenon whereby the clutch frictional material reaches a temperature wherein it loses its frictional property. Clutch burning is usually detected by white smoke and foul smell (like a decaying animal). To avoid clutch burning on your manual transmission car, you should avoid some driving habits such as riding the clutch, leaving the transmission in gear when stopped, indecisive and slow when changing gear, not using the handbrake when parking on an incline and of course, driving aggressively.

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Riding the Clutch

If the clutch is fully engaged, there will be no slip, hence no heat is generated. If the clutch is fully disengaged, there will be large amount of slip, but negligible contact force, hence negligible heat generation. If the clutch is partially disengaged, we have both slip as well as contact pressure. This is the state when maximum heat is generated, hence loss of active material from the clutch disc takes place. This is the situation that is to be avoided. When you keep your foot on the clutch pedal while driving, the pedal will remain partially pressed down which pushes the pressure pad against the clutch plate but doesn't engage completely, therefore creating more friction, heat and then wearing out the clutch faster. Always rest your foot on the floor and put it on clutch pedal only when you need to use the clutch like when changing gears.

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Leaving the Transmission in Gear when Stopped

If you have to stop for any reason or length of time such as in traffic, try shifting the gear to Neutral position. Engaging the transmission in gear or using the brake while idling will put unnecessary strain on the clutch and it'll burn out faster.

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Improper Changing of Gear

Shifting the gear before the clutch is fully disengaged - or letting the clutch pedal out without being completely in gear - is a clutch killer. Also, lingering too long when changing gear (a common problem with newer drivers of manual cars) adds more strain on the clutch because the longer you keep the clutch pedal pressed down each time you change gear, the faster the clutch wears out. Changing gear more times than necessary also burns the clutch faster than normal.

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Using the Clutch to Park on a Hill

There are ways to avoid rolling down a hill without holding the clutch in such as pulling the emergency the brake, not completely, but enough to keep your car from rolling. If you're really fancy, you can try holding the foot brake with the heel of your right foot while you push on the accelerator pedal with the toes of your right foot at launch...but that's an advanced trick. You'll need practice on a flat surface. Until then, you can manage the ebrake with your hand, releasing it when it's time to go while simultaneously engaging the clutch and moving forward.


Aggressive Driving

Bad driving habits like accelerating at low engine rpm (engine lugging) especially in higher gear will cause the engine to work harder than it should and will cause a significant damage to the engine in the long run, not just the transmission. If you need to accelerate, but you’re in a high gear at low RPM, downshift to lower gear before you start accelerating. Your engine will perform better, and more importantly, you won’t damage your clutch.

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Source: opera.com
The views expressed in this article are the writer's, they do not reflect the views of Opera News. Read more>>
Top Comments
GUEST_7orBj4Je5 · 07/2/2020
Very educative indeed

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