Using the clutch is one of the trickier things to master when learning to drive and can be the difference between a good driver and someone who has problems controlling the car. This is most relevant when learning how to drive on hills, up and down.

Even some experienced drivers don’t actually know what the clutch does.

When trying to pull away on a hill set the gas/revs to a higher than normal level and bring the clutch pedal up until you hear the toe of the engine drop, the bonnet may dip and you will find a slight pressure in the pedal, you may even find the the revs drop and so will need to adjust the accelerator. Now take the hand brake off and the car should either hold its position or creep forward gently. Increase the revs and away you go. Do not try to change gear until you ave a reasonable speed and the revs are slightly higher than normal, as gravity will slow you down a lot and you may find yourself in trouble.

The drive shaft which transfers the power from the engine to the wheels is a solid rod running through the car and gear box. At a point on the drive shaft are 2 plates which have teeth on them, hence the term biting point.

The Clutch Open

When you push the clutch pedal down it pulls apart the 2 plates which stops the back part of the drive shaft turning and allows you to change the gears with ease.



The Clutch Closed

When the clutch pedal is released it brings back together the plates (biting point) allowing the drive shaft to run as one piece again.




Simply all the clutch pedal does is push and pull 2 plates apart and back together. Of course it’s not that simple as you will need to use the accelerator in conjunction with the clutch to ensure you do not over rev the car, which means if you do,  you will have a sudden jolt in the car and car may take off down the road at an manageable speed.

An automatic car will select the appropriate gear automatically depending on your speed.

Cars are not the only vehicle which has a clutch. Many types of vehicle including motorcycles, buses, lorries and even some lawnmowers have a clutch. Although with some you will find they have a and grip rather than a pedal.