A smooth and seamless gear change makes for a better driving experience. And, it helps you get the maximum power out of your engine!
If you’re modifying your engine with aftermarket parts, a stock clutch probably won’t do the trick. They aren’t meant to handle the strain of a high performance modified engine.
Instead, opt for a high-performance clutch with heavier springs and specialized disc materials. This will give you more torque, and reduce the chance of your clutch slipping during aggressive shifting.
Not sure what kind of clutch is best for you? No worries. We’ll help you find your perfect match later in this article.
So What’s in a Clutch Kit?
Every clutch kit comes with a few standard pieces, including a clutch disc, a friction disc, a pressure plate, and an alignment tool. Some models also include pilot bushings or bearings.
A pressure plate is made up of several parts. These include a clutch plate, a diaphragm or springs, release fingers, and a cover.
Your pressure plate’s purpose is holding the clutch disc against the spinning flywheel. When you push down on the car’s clutch pedal, this plate pulls back, momentarily breaking the connection.
And, that’s when you change gears!
As it makes contact with the flywheel, the clutch disc directs the flow of power from your engine to the transmission. It is also the final point of contact that engages and disengages your clutch from the flywheel.
A standard clutch disc is lined with asbestos, like brake shoes and pads. This liner helps to achieve friction and adds grip between the flywheel and the disc.
Bushings and bearings are sometimes used to assist the friction plate as it disengages the clutch disc from the flywheel. These are more commonly used for high torque engines.
Clutches used by modified high-power engines require ceramic liners for their clutch discs. This material offers far more friction than asbestos. So, if you’re getting into racing, this type of lining is your best bet.
Some clutch kits use multiple friction plates. These models utilize multiple discs pressed together against the flywheel, held in place by springs.
Stronger springs, when used alongside high-quality materials, enhance your vehicle’s performance. You can expect faster and harder starts, quicker shifts, and increased durability.
Why Buy a Whole Kit?
You already know what comes in a clutch kit. So, why buy all the parts together?
Whether you’re having clutch problems or upgrading, you’ll want to act quickly. Driving on a clutch that is broken or not powerful enough for your engine can result in serious damage to your transmission.
Because a basic clutch kit comes with all the parts you need, you won’t risk replacing the wrong pieces. There’s no chance of accidentally buying mismatched parts. And, they are usually a better value than purchasing each component individually.
If you’re trying to get the highest torque and smoothest shifting possible, you should opt for a high-performance clutch. ACT and Exedy clutch kits are top picks for sports and racing cars.
No matter which option suits you best, buying a full kit is the best way to ensure compatibility and quality.
Which Clutch Kit Is Right for Me?
When shopping for a clutch kit, performance is a top concern. To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, choose a model that suits the car you drive and how you drive it.
If you are a daily driver using a medium horsepower vehicle for short commutes, a stock street clutch kit will be your best and most budget-friendly option. These models use medium thickness discs and padding and are meant for mild driving conditions.
Drivers who use your vehicles for towing or hauling will need a heavy-duty model with thicker plates and discs to withstand high levels of torque. This goes for offroad, utility, and performance street trucks, too.
Racing and performance clutch kits are designed to withstand high levels of pressure and heat, and use a very think clutch disc. They allow you to shift gears quickly and smoothly, even at high speeds.
What Comes Next
Replacing your clutch is no small job. So, you may want to get help from a professional mechanic.
Your kit includes an alignment tool required for installation. Using this tool will ensure a proper fit and extend the life of your clutch.
Once you’ve installed your new clutch kit, there are a few additional upgrades you should consider.
Installing a performance flywheel will help reduce clutch slip, and make the best use possible of your engine’s power. These models are designed for more intense driving conditions than factory models.
Well, that’s it! Now you know how your clutch works, what to expect from a clutch kit, and how to find the model that’s right for you.
You’re armed with a ton of new information, and ready to go forth and shop with confidence.
Are you feeling inspired? If this article has your confidence up and you’re excited to take on new and exciting projects, we have tons of tips and tricks for you.
Check out these recent posts for more pro advice on upgrading your engine, aftermarket performance parts, and more.