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Would A Clutch Problem Cause The Car To Stall?

Starting with the 1950s cars became solid enough to withstand some serious mileage because of all the advancements in transmission, hydraulics and engine development. If you would take a clutch from the 50’s you would be amazed by the amount of “punishment” it would withstand. You could get somewhere between 50.000 and 70.000 miles without giving it other support than the usual maintenance which means a little lubrication and some cleaning. Nowadays, cars have dozens of automated systems designed to aid driving, therefore a car clutch (if handled with care) would get more than 80.000 miles. On the other hand, if you do not change gears accordingly and put big pressure on it, than you might want to see a mechanic after only 35.000 miles.

Trucks are considered the “work horses” in just about any industry, therefore those are the most susceptible to clutch problems and maintenance. Since they work continuously with heavy loads that push their torque to the limits, the clutch quickly starts to wear off even under 35.000 miles.

The biggest problem with clutches is related to the friction material. The clutch disk has a special material designed to maximize friction. This material wears out. If you have ever seen the disk based breaking system of o a motorcycle than you’ve seen the pads that get in contact with the disk, applying enough pressure to slow the rotation of the wheel, slowing down the motorbike. The material on those pads is very similar to the one that covers the disks. If the material wears out almost completely, then the clutch starts to slip. If the clutch no longer has the recommended friction, the power from the engine to the wheels is no longer transmitted properly.

Keep in mind that the material on the clutch disk wears only when the disk and the transmission wheel are moving at different speeds. When the clutch locks on to the transmission wheel, the power is transmitted and both wheels move in sync eliminating the friction. It depends on the type of driver you are. If you change the gears properly and don’t slip the clutch then you will maintain it intact for a long time. Inexperienced drivers tend to shift into a higher gear too soon prolonging the friction between the clutch disk and transmission wheel, wearing off the material on the disk.

Other problems appear because of sticking. For example if the clutch disk doesn’t separate from the transmission wheel properly, both wheels will turn which can prevent your car from shifting into a higher or lower gear. Usually the clutch gets stuck because of a broken or overstretched cable. The clutch cable needs to be checked for possible overstretching and have its tension recalibrated in order to properly detach the disk from the transmission wheel.

Another problem can be caused by a leaky or defective master clutch cylinder. Because the cylinder works with a lot of pressure, any leaks could prevent it from reaching the recommended pressure level. Air in the hydraulic line greatly affects the hydraulics because it uses up space necessary for the fluid in order to build enough pressure. A faulty adjusted link will transmit an improper amount of force, meaning that not enough pressure is applied to detach the disk completely from the transmission cable. And finally: if the clutch has undergone a series of repairs, you need to be careful about the components that are integrated in the clutch system.

It might take a little practice, but proper gear shifting will protect your clutch over the years.


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