What a Car's Clutch Actually Does

Photo credit: LearnEngineering
Photo credit: LearnEngineering

From Road & Track

The clutch pedal is that third one you'll find in manual transmission cars, the one on the far left a driver must press for every gear change. If you can drive stick, then you already knew that. But you might not have spent much time thinking about the nitty-gritty mechanics of the clutch.

The YouTube channel LearnEngineering posted this clip full of nice animations and simple explanations. Watch it and come away with a better understanding of what the clutch actually does.

The short version is that changing gears in a manual transmission car requires disengaging the power flow from your engine to the transmission. The clutch is a disc that accomplishes this disconnection. The assembly around it includes what's called a diaphragm spring, which allows the clutch to engage or disengage the engine depending on whether you've pressed the clutch.

LearnEngineering's visuals do a nice job of walking you through the friction and fine details. Next time your left foot does its thing, you'll know a little bit more about what's behind the curtain.

Via Jalopnik

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