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Car structure

How to properly use the car clutch and footrest?

25 August 2022

Many drivers don't realize that mishandling the clutch can lead to clutch failure and costly repairs. Keeping the left foot on the pedal not only leads to clutch failure, but can also be dangerous. The correct way to do this should be resting the foot on a properly shaped car footrest. 

Where is the clutch and how does it work? 

The clutch is located between the flywheel, the engine, and the transmission, and is responsible for transferring torque from the former to the latter. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the engine and transmission are disconnected, so you can safely reduce gear or stop the car without worrying about the engine stalling. To learn how the clutch works, you should first learn about its construction. 

Construction of the automotive clutch 

Friction clutches used in modern cars consist of three components: a disc, a pressure plate and a bearing. The disc transmits drive from the flywheel via a clutch shaft mounted in its bore. It is covered with a special lining made of an abrasion- and heat-resistant material, such as carbon or fiberglass. The pressure plate is a component permanently connected to the flywheel, which is in contact with the clutch disc via a pressure ring. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the pressure plate springs push the ring away from the clutch. Thus, a small gap is created between the clutch disc and the flywheel, and the transmission and engine are disconnected. The bearing, on the other hand, is designed to transfer pressure directly from the pedal to the disc springs. The drive from the pedal to the bearing can be transmitted via a cable or hydraulically, via a pump and clutch. The latter is used in new cars due to its greater durability. 

How to use the clutch and what do you need a car footrest for? 

The clutch is a wear-and-tear component. How often a clutch needs to be replaced is mainly determined by how it is used and driving style. As a rule, the more frequently the clutch is activated, the easier it is to fail. Particularly disadvantageous, both for the mechanism itself and for the driver, is to keep the leg just above the clutch or the so-called half-clutch driving. The muscles of the leg are then held under constant tension and become fatigued, especially during a long drive. Often the driver in such a position gently presses down on the clutch pedal, which, while adding gas at the same time, inevitably leads to wear of the disc and bearing as well as symptoms of worn clutch pressure. Done correctly, the left foot should rest on the footrest on the left side of the clutch pedal. In this way, the muscles of the leg can rest in a comfortable position, and at the same time it can be moved to the pedal at any time. 

Read more: The car seat design and the correct position behind the steering wheel 

What is a car footrest and how should it be designed? 

A car footrest is a component located to the left of the clutch pedal. It should be designed to provide comfortable and stable support for the foot, and at the same time the ability to efficiently transfer it to the clutch pedal when, for example, a quick gear reduction is required. The driver's car footrest can be part of the floor filling or come in the form of an additional, specially shaped component manufactured from various materials, including durable plastics or metal. 

How to use the clutch in a traffic jam? 

Driving in urban traffic jams is one of the most frequently cited reasons for a clutch wear, due to the need to use the clutch frequently or even the so-called clutch driving. When driving in traffic jams, it is best to try to start only when there is enough space in front of the hood to continue driving instead of, for example, driving as close as possible to the next vehicle, which is also important for safety. 

How to use the clutch when braking? 

Many drivers use the clutch too early in the braking process, causing it to be pressed for longer. The correct way to do this is to press it in the last phase of braking, just before the lights. 

How to use the clutch when changing gears? 

One mistake made, especially by inexperienced drivers, is not pressing the clutch pedal down fully when shifting gears. During this operation, it should be pressed as far as possible to the floor of a car

How to recognize the symptoms of a worn clutch? 

Clutch failure usually does not occur suddenly. This component undergoes gradual wear and tear, the signs of which a skilled driver will recognize at an early stage. Sometimes, however, the symptoms of a worn clutch are so subtle that they can be overlooked during everyday driving. So what to look out for and what might be the most common causes of clutch failure? 

Types of clutch failures 

One of the most common problems is the so-called clutch slippage. It occurs when the engine speed increases after adding gas, but this does not translate into increased speed. This can indicate wear of the clutch disc, pressure plate or flywheel. Another frequently mentioned sign of impending clutch failure is a high operating point. To get it to work, you have to let it out very hard. On the other hand, the most obvious symptom that can indicate clutch failure is the inability to shift into gear. There can be several reasons for this situation. In addition to the wear of the clutch disc, you can suspect damage to the pressure plate spring or failure of the gearbox.  

Replacing the clutch in a car – is it a necessity? 

The clutch is a very important part of the car's transmission, and its malfunction can cause not only discomfort due to noises or unpleasant odor, but also danger on the road. Therefore, the moment you notice the first signs of a malfunction, it is best to go to a mechanic who will properly diagnose the problem and undertake appropriate repairs.  

EPP car footrest and EPP components for increased life of car parts 

Internal car parts such as Knauf Industries' EPP car footrests and floor components can take any form, flexibly adapting to individual car floor design and available space. The flexible foam provides comfortable support for the foot and is highly durable and resistant to deformation, so it retains its performance for decades. EPP components are very lightweight, so they do not increase the vehicle's empty weight. Despite their low weight, they have excellent damping properties, so they effectively soundproof the floor of the car, insulating the interior from the sounds of the engine, as well as leveling out shocks while driving. EPP, as a material with excellent thermal insulation properties, also provides protection for the wires that power the car's electronics, ensuring their trouble-free operation.   

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