How to re­place your car’s clutch

Lesotho Times - - Motlo - — All 4 women

AT some point in ev­ery car’s life­time, a clutch re­place­ment is in or­der — un­less the car was hardly driven or was writ­ten off, suf­fer­ing a pre­ma­ture demise.

How­ever, for those of us who keep our cars beyond their ser­vice plan, or have older cars that we cher­ish, a new clutch is a re­al­ity that must be faced. The ques­tion is, how do you choose the right clutch?

The first step, even if you aren’t go­ing to fit it your­self, is to find out what clutch fits your car. A num­ber of com­pa­nies make qual­ity re­place­ment clutch kits for all makes of cars - or you can get the orig­i­nal clutch for your car from the deal­er­ship.

Once the parts have been sourced and the me­chanic lined up, the job can start!

Usu­ally, re­plac­ing the clutch re­quires re­mov­ing the gear­box, so ex­pect to be with­out your car for at least a day .

In a nor­mal sit­u­a­tion, with a car that hasn’t been mod­i­fied, the en­gine’s fly­wheel must be checked for un­even wear whiel the clutch is out, and skimmed if nec­es­sary. New fly­wheel bolts are also ad­vised but may not al­ways be nec­es­sary.

At the other end of the scale how­ever, are those cars that have been mod­i­fied from stan­dard, and need dif­fer­ent, un­usual or even spe­cially made clutch com­po­nents.

An ex­am­ple of this is when the car has been mod­i­fied to pro­duce more power than its orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions; in this case the stan­dard-is­sue clutch may not be able to han­dle the ex­tra torque, and will slip con­tin­u­ously, dras­ti­cally short­en­ing its life­span.

Of­ten, all that’s needed is a cop­per-threaded or­ganic clutch; a num­ber of af­ter­mar­ket sup­pli­ers pro­duce th­ese as up­graded al­ter­na­tives to the fac­tory parts. They’re built to han­dle sig­nif­i­cantly more power than the stan­dard parts, and may be just what your per­for­mance car needs.

Cus­tom clutches

In more ex­treme cases, there are cars that have been mod­i­fied to the point where no “off the shelf” clutch is able to cope; in that case, you’ll need a cus­tom clutch.

Very of­ten, mul­ti­ple stacks of smaller di­am­e­ter clutch plates are used so that the power load is spread across mul­ti­ple clutches, en­abling the clutch as­sem­bly the abil­ity to han­dle the power. Ex­am­ples of th­ese are in the ap­pli­ca­tion of cop­per and but­ton clutches, which take up so ag­gres­sively that they’re a chal­leng­ing to use in or­di­nary traf­fic yet, on a drag strip or a track, they give you the ex­tra bite for a re­ally hot start. Ce­ramic and car­bon-ce­ramic clu­tuch ma­te­ri­als are usu­ally in­di­cated for ‘Su­per­car’ or ex­treme rac­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and are best fit­ted by per­for­mance ve­hi­cle spe­cial­ists .

Pad­dle shift or dual-clutch trans­mis­sions very of­ten what are called ‘wet’ clutches, which run in an oil-bath rather than dry as in con­ven­tional clutches. They usu­ally last longer, while gear shifts are smoother and more in­stant than with con­ven­tional clutches.

Next time you sit in traf­fic and keep your car steady by bal­anc­ing it at the clutch takeup point, think about what your next clutch re­place­ment will en­tail, as this driv­ing habit wears the clutch out very quickly by, al­low­ing it to ‘slip’ against the fly­wheel, caus­ing un­nec­es­sary wear.

Rather be kind to your ve­hi­cle, se­lect neu­tral, pull up the hand­brake and wait pa­tiently to get go­ing again.

Tips on how to ex­tend the life­span of your clutch:

Re­lease the clutch A com­mon mis­take driv­ers make - es­pe­cially when in traf­fic — is to keep their foot on the clutch or ‘ride it’ when driv­ing which speeds up wear and tear dras­ti­cally. Keep­ing your foot on the clutch, even lightly, wears the clutch. A bet­ter ap­proach would be to gear down to slow down or con­trol your speed.

Gear changes — make the full mo­tion When chang­ing gears, be sure to press the clutch all the way in. Like­wise, when you have se­lected your cho­sen gear, re­lease your clutch fully. If you don’t go through the full mo­tion, in ei­ther sit­u­a­tion, your clutch may stay in con­tact with the en­gine which can cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age.

Let your hand­brake do some of the work Your clutch takes a lot of strain when do­ing all the work (clutch con­trol) to get up­hill. Con­sider us­ing your hand­brake in­stead to keep the car from rolling back. When you want to start mov­ing for­ward again, use both your ac­cel­er­a­tor and clutch and then slowly re­lease the hand­brake.

Your clutch is one of the most ex­pen­sive com­po­nents to re­place on a car, and can cause a lot of trou­ble if you don’t know how to look af­ter it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.