Talk to any driving purist and they will tell you the only way to go with a transmission is with a manual transmission. The combination of man, car and road combining as one is what driving is all about, or so the purist will tell you. And no car part is as crucial in this experience than the clutch, otherwise known as the shifter.
The clutch in effect stops the flow of power from the engine to the transmission. Once the clutch is engaged there is no power flowing through the transmission to the wheels. For those of you who are novices to manual transmissions, the clutch is needed to shift into different gears.
The clutch is made up of the following parts: flywheel, clutch disc, pressure plate, springs, levers, linkage and clutch housing.
- The flywheel is a connecting gear and it supports the outward end of the transmission input shaft.
- The clutch disc is round and made of steel. It looks like a DVD and it, too, is built to fit onto the transmission input shaft and to rotate freely.
- The pressure plate, also round and made of iron, presses against the clutch disc.
- Springs and levers are needed to provide the releasing and pressing of the pressure plate to the input shaft.
So, how does it all work? When your car is moving all of these pieces are pressed against the transmission input shaft and rotate together. When you depress the clutch the pressure plate is released and it backs off of the input shaft, thus releasing the power from engine to transmission. Without the power being relayed the gears can be shifted easily and quickly into whatever place you shift them. Once the proper gear has been chosen the clutch is released and the plate fits back on the input shaft and they all start revolving again.
All rather remarkable but truly just an application once again of the six simple machines which have been around for centuries.
For those of you unfamiliar with manual transmissions, the trick to driving them is choosing the proper gear in which to drive. Remember that the gear needs to make the power being supplied so the faster your car moves the higher the gear that needs to be chosen. With experience and practice one can tell simply by listening to the RPM’s as the engine revs up and when that happens a beautiful synchronicity occurs between driver and car.
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