Clutch control can be tricky to get the hang of, and it’s something that many learners struggle with. Some learners may grasp it in their very first driving lesson, but for others, it may take a few more lessons before they can move off or stop without stalling the car. Our driving instructors are used to learners struggling with clutch control and will teach you in a way that helps you to learn clutch control the easy way.
What is clutch control?
Clutch control is controlling the speed of a manual vehicle by partly engaging the clutch plate using the pedal. Clutch control can be used instead of the accelerator when moving at slow speeds or it can be used along with the accelerator pedal.
How does a car clutch work?
To help you master clutch control, it might help to understand the basic logistics of how a car clutch works. In simple terms, a clutch is two metal plates which become separated when you depress the clutch pedal. When these plates are separated, the engine becomes disconnected from the wheels, preventing any power passing to the wheels.
If you try to pull away without getting your clutch control right, not enough power is able to make it through and so the car stalls. Similarly, when the car is in gear, power is constantly being passed from the engine to the wheels. If you stop the car and forget to press the clutch down, the engine will be trying to send power to stationary wheels which will cause the car to stall.
The more you release the clutch pedal, the closer the plates in the engine come together. When the plates touch, they begin transferring power from the engine to the wheels; this is known as the ‘biting point’.
Correct use of the clutch
Now that you hopefully understand how a car clutch works, you will know that correct use of the clutch plays a vital role in the effective operating of a vehicle. The clutch can be used to:
- Move from one gear to another while driving
- Control the car when coming to a stop and prevent the vehicle from stalling
- Stop the car when travelling at slow speeds or performing manoeuvres. This technique is called ‘clutch control’ and occurs when the clutch pedal is only half engaged.
Clutch control tips
To help you master clutch control quickly, we have put together an easy to follow guide on our clutch control tips. Practising a hill start is the perfect way to have you using clutch control like a pro.
- Find a road on a reasonably steep hill in a quiet area
- Depress the clutch and put the car into 1st gear
- Slightly press on the accelerator while using the clutch to find the biting point (You will now when you have found the biting point as the engine will become louder, and the car will try to move forward)
- Complete your 360 observation (6 point check)
- Slowly release the handbrake
- The car will begin to move, practice dipping the clutch up and down in small movements to control the speed of the car while keeping the gas steady
Keep practising your clutch control, and you’ll have it down to a T in no time. Poor clutch control can lead to problems such as the clutch burning out quickly and needing replacing. Replacement clutches typically cost over £500, so you want to be using your clutch correctly.