A close up look of a clutch under services
In the complex process of automotive engineering, clutches are one of the key players that transfer torque from the engine to the transmission and, further on, to the driven wheels. It goes without saying that with the various engine and transmission combinations in the automotive market, there are different
types of clutches designed to meet the specific needs of vehicle manufacturers. Be it a 90-bhp engine or a robust 900-bhp one, the right clutch, when engaged, will guarantee proper distribution of torque to any transmission.

The Basic Friction Clutch

Most vehicles employ a friction clutch, comprising components familiar to many: a pressure plate, a clutch plate (or disc), and a release bearing. This setup, operated either hydraulically or via a cable, engages and disengages the flywheel and transmission. Typically, a single-plate clutch suffices for most cars; however, high-powered engines may require a multi-plate clutch for better engagement.

When the clutch pedal is depressed, the release bearing exerts pressure on the diaphragm springs of the pressure plate, easing the clamping pressure on the clutch plate and disengaging the transmission from the flywheel. As gears change and the clutch is released, the clutch plate re-engages, driven by the pressure plate, facilitating power transmission.

Wet and Dry Clutches

Wet clutches typically feature multiple plates and are lubricated with oil to mitigate high friction and temperatures, making them ideal for high-torque applications over 250 lb ft. In contrast, dry clutches, generally single-plate setups, operate without oil, which enhances efficiency by eliminating the friction-reducing effects of lubrication and the associated parasitic losses from oil pumps.

Dual-Clutch Systems (DCT)

A significant advancement in clutch technology, dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) offer rapid, smooth gear changes and are prevalent in both premium and performance cars. DCTs utilise two separate clutches for odd and even gears, facilitating uninterrupted torque delivery during gear shifts. This system is especially common in automatic and semi-automatic vehicles.

Electromagnetic And Electrohydraulic Clutches

These clutches are key in scenarios where traditional mechanical timing is less critical. Operated via electronic controls—such as a button or sensor—electromagnetic clutches use a DC current to activate an electromagnet, which then engages the clutch. Electrohydraulic systems, used predominantly in paddle-shift setups, activate the clutch hydraulically via an electronic signal, allowing for pedal-free operation and seamless integration with DCTs.

Specialty Clutches

While the aforementioned types are widespread, other niche clutches exist, such as centrifugal clutches in mopeds and dog clutches in older, non-synchromesh transmissions. These are less common but vital in specific applications.

Considering a clutch Upgrade?

For those enhancing their vehicle’s power through modifications, selecting the appropriate clutch is crucial. Excessive torque can lead to clutch slippage if the existing system cannot handle the increased force, necessitating an upgrade. Various aftermarket options are available, providing performance clutches designed to cope with higher demands.

At Sharp Brake and Clutch, we understand the critical role of a properly functioning clutch in your vehicle’s performance. Whether you’re driving a standard model or a high-powered sports car, our experts are here to assist with all your clutch needs, ensuring reliable and efficient performance. For more information on our clutch services in Midrand, Germiston, and Kempton Park, visit us.


Clutches are more than just a mechanical necessity; they are a vital component in the performance and efficiency of almost every vehicle. Understanding the different types of clutches and their specific functions can significantly enhance your driving experience and vehicle maintenance knowledge. Whether you require a simple repair or a complete clutch system overhaul, our team at Sharp Brake and Clutch is ready to provide the expertise and services to keep your vehicle at its best.