How To Choose the Right Clutch for Your Car

When choosing a new clutch kit for your vehicle, there are several key considerations that you must weigh up. Whether you’re looking to upgrade to a high-performance clutch kit to support the modifications that you’ve made to your vehicle or you’re after an OE replacement for the clutch in your vehicle. We’ve developed this clutch kit buying guide to help you understand the vernacular and what you need to consider when choosing a replacement clutch kit for your car or 4x4.


Why Do Clutches Wear Out?


Once you start modifying your vehicle for more power and torque, your stock clutch will eventually not have enough clamping force to prevent the dreaded clutch slip. Choosing the right performance clutch kit for your vehicle will ensure you get all that power to the ground.


Understanding the intended purpose of your car plays a large role in choosing a clutch that will be most suitable for your vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers use a range of different clutch disc materials and various pressure plate combinations depending on your intended usage. Some of these materials will be more forgiving and engage smoothly, while others are designed to withstand extreme (high-pressure) operating conditions and are likely to induce clutch chatter in everyday street use.


How to Choose the Right Clutch


Vehicles that produce high torque numbers at low engine speeds create a high load on the clutch.  The high clutch load can lead to slipping and overheating if the wrong clutch is selected. Because vehicles with a higher torque load generate more pressure the clutch, more clamp pressure needed to move the vehicle. Generally speaking, where more weight is involved the clutch will need to be stronger in order to handle the torque that is required to move the vehicle at low engine speeds. clutch where is accelerated when vehicles are subject to constant low-speed pressure. Vehicles that are predominantly driven in traffic or urban conditions are going to wear out much faster than vehicles that are driven at a constant speed.


The heavier the vehicle the higher the load on the clutch and the more clamp pressure needed to move the vehicle. Low RPM applications will require a higher clamp pressure, while lower weight high RPM will require lighter clamp pressure. Understanding the power and weight of your vehicle will give you a good idea of what clutch is needed for your application. 


The intended usage of your vehicle is the most important consideration when choosing a clutch replacement. Sparesbox stocks a range of high-performance racing clutch kits from manufacturers like Exedy, Clutch Industries, South Bend, Mantic and 4Terrain Clutch that are designed for vehicles with higher than standard torque loads. If you’re looking to replace your standard clutch with a direct OE (original equipment) replacement, Sparesbox also stocks a range of OE clutches that are designed to replace your worn-out clutch. Choosing between a performance clutch and a direct OE replacement clutch comes down to your vehicle's torque and intended usage. 


How Many Clutch Discs Do I Need?


When choosing a new clutch kit for your vehicle not only do you have to consider what material and brand to go for, you also need to decide if you need one disc, two discs, or more. Clutches are rated by their torque holding capacity. A clutch with a single disc will inherently have a lower holding capacity than a twin disc clutch kit based on a smaller surface area. In general, clutches with more than one disc will also be heavier and less malleable when driving in urban conditions.


If your vehicle performs efficiently with a single disc, then it is recommended that you continue to use a single disc clutch kit. The only instance where you want to look at increasing the number of discs in your clutch kit is when the wear life has been significantly reduced due to modifications, increase torque, or strenuous driving conditions such as towing or load carrying which is causing premature wear.


Twin disc clutch kits are usually associated with a heavier clutch pedal feel. They also tend to be noisier compared to their single disc counterparts and are responsible for producing a chattering sound on idle or at low RPM. Depending on the type of clutch kits that you choose, single disc clutch kits should have an OE like engagement and shifting feel. Because twin discs are designed to handle a lot more torque than your stock clutch or even a single disc aftermarket clutch, they usually have a much heavier feel. To make the best choice about which clutch kit is right for your vehicle it is important to consider the torque capability of your engine and intended modifications. If you plan to keep increasing the amount of torque or load bearing of your vehicle then it is wise to choose a clutch that has been over-engineered for your current level of torque. 


How Do I Know My Clutch Is Worn Out?


The average lifespan of a clutch is anywhere between 30,000 km and 200,000 km. Fortunately, your clutch should give you ample warning when something is wrong and it is time to replace it. To ensure you're not stuck on the side of the road with a vehicle that can't shift into gear, take a look at the following signs and symptoms of a failing clutch.

What's Included in a Clutch Kit?


Before purchasing a new clutch or clutch kit for your vehicle it's important to understand which components actually need replacing. if you're unsure what actually needs to be replaced, it's worth consulting a mechanic. there is no hard-and-fast rule for everything that is included in a clutch kit. Consult the kit contents or speak to one of Sparesbox fitment experts before purchasing to cross-check what is included. Generally speaking, clutch kits will comprise of the following parts:


Release bearing


Sometimes referred to as a throwout bearing, the release bearing is a small but important component in a clutch kit. the clutch pedal operates a hydraulic system that pushes the clutch fork inside the bell housing of the transmission. The clutch fork then engages the release bearing and pushes it down the transmission input shaft. The release bearing makes contact with the pressure plate through the diaphragm springs.


Pressure plate


The pressure plate is made up of an outer cover, friction surface, and diaphragm Springs. The clutch pressure plate is attached to the flywheel which means that it is always spinning at engine speed. When the clutch pedal is engaged, the release bearing makes contact with the diaphragm Springs which leverage is the friction ring away from the clutch disc. The pressure plate is like a spring-loaded clamp that bolts directly to the flywheel.


Clutch disc


Clutch discs come in a wide range of materials, sizes, and different weights. the clutch disc slides directly onto the transmission input shaft and the spins with the transmission. The clutch disc has one side that is connected to the engine and one side that is connected to the transmission. The clutch pressure plate is responsible for clamping the clutch disc to the friction surface of the flywheel. the clutch disc is a relatively inexpensive part given how critical it is in the drivetrain. Clutch discs are designed to absorb the majority of wear and tear from users. 



Clutch alignment tool


The clutch alignment tool is used during the clutch installation process. The alignment tool is responsible for keeping the disc centred within the pressure plate and flywheel so that everything is properly aligned when the transmission is put into place. What's included in a clutch kit?



How to Make Your Clutch Last


Increasing the service life of your clutch is one sure fire way to reduce the running costs of your vehicle. The way that you drive plays a big role in the lifespan of your clutch. less stress that you are able to put your clutch under, the longer it is going to last. With that in mind, here are a few tips to increase the service life of your clutch:


  • Don't use your clutch to control the speed of your vehicle. It's a lot cheaper to replace your brakes than it is to replace your clutch.
  • Avoid riding the clutch at traffic lights
  • Don't use your clutch to keep your vehicle in a stationary position - use your brakes
  • Use your hand brake when taking off from a hill start to reduce torque loading
  • If the traffic isn't moving, shift to neutral