A clutch is the most overworked component in a car with manual transmission. It is because a clutch engages and disengages whenever you start, brake, stop or change gears, and this could be several hundred times a day. It is no wonder clutch repairs account for more garage shop visits than any other car part. That said, certain clutch parts require more attention during repairs compared to others. This article highlights clutch parts that receive the most repairs.
The first part of a clutch system that is exposed to a lot of abuse is the clutch fork. The primary role of a fork is to help engage and disengage a clutch whenever the pedal is pressed or released. The high frequency of clutch-pedal engagement makes the clutch fork prone to cracking, distress and metal fatigue. Therefore, mechanics have to pay particular attention to the linkage between the release bearing mounts and the ball stud pivots. Repairs become necessary if the linkage tilts the bearing mounts, thereby causing wear to the clutch fork. Extensive damage or wear calls for immediate replacement of the clutch fork to prevent damaging the clutch disc.
The clutch slave cylinder works with a master cylinder to disengage the clutch when a driver presses the clutch pedal. Therefore, the master cylinder exerts pressure on the slave cylinder every time you press the clutch pedal, which in turn pushes the clutch fork. During repairs, a mechanic must inspect the slave cylinder for possible leaks or dust, which might affect smooth clutch operation. Most mechanics recommend slave cylinder replacement every time you replace the clutch. It is especially the case for cylinders mounted in the transmission bell housing. On the other hand, an externally mounted clutch slave cylinder should be replaced after several leak repairs.
In manual transmission cars, the clutch system has to disengage from the engine temporarily when shifting gears. Also referred to as a thrust bearing, a throwout bearing plays a critical role in this action. The inner race of the bearing is attached to a clutch's throwout arm while the outer race is attached to the de-actuation fingers. Therefore, every thrust from the pedal keeps the throwout bearings in constant motion, thereby increasing the rate of wear, especially for drivers that love to ride the clutch pedal. Throwout bearings must be well lubricated to keep heat from friction at bay and ensure smooth movement.
Find an auto shop near you if you need clutch repair.