6 Most Common Types of Clutches


The internal combustion engine generates power, but without a clutch, there would be no way to convert it into mechanical energy to propel the car.

Automakers produce different types of clutches for various cars, as clutches are crucial in power transmission and control. They engage and disengage rotational motion between shafts, allowing for seamless power and torque transfer.

Clutches enable the engine to work in a stationary position and facilitate the transfer of power from the engine to the transmission and driven wheels. There are many different types of clutches to accommodate the various combinations of engines and transmissions in the automotive world.

The most common types of clutches used in vehicles include friction clutches, multiplate clutches, electromagnetic and electrohydraulic clutches, centrifugal clutches, wet and dry clutches, and clone clutches. 


Let’s dive deep to explain the different types of clutches!


1. Basic friction clutch

Basic friction clutch

This is the most common type of clutch. Most cars use a friction clutch, which has all the normal components that you have probably seen or heard of before. The clutch is comprised of a release bearing, a pressure plate, and a clutch plate and tends to be operated by a cable or by using hydraulics.

Most cars will use a simple single-plate clutch, with only higher-powered engines needing a multi-plate clutch to engage the transmission properly. The bearing is used to engage or disengage the flywheel and the transmission.

Read more: Slipping clutch: Causes, Symptoms, and how to fix

2. Multiplate clutch

Multiplate clutch

Multi-plate clutches, as the name suggests, consist of multiple plates or friction discs and work similarly in the above fashion. Multiple discs offer more space to be in contact with each other.

The larger the number of plates, the greater the torque transmitting capacity. This, in turn, allows it to handle a much larger torque output without sustaining any damage.

The stacking of these plates enables them to fit into the same size fitment as a regular friction clutch.

3. Electromagnetic and Electrohydraulic clutches


Electromagnetic clutches can be used when mechanical sympathy and timing of clutch operation are disregarded, with the clutch being actuated by a simple button press on the gearstick.

This remote activation of the clutch comes into play through a DC current that passes through an electromagnet, which in turn creates a magnetic field.

This remote activation of the clutch comes into play through a DC current that passes through an electromagnet, which in turn creates a magnetic field.

Read more: How to Bleed a Hydraulic Clutch

4. Centrifugal clutches


Centrifugal clutches are also called automatic clutches because you don’t need a clutch pedal and they automatically engage. There is a hub at the center that is keyed with an engine crankshaft.

Multiple shoes are connected to this hub via springs and each shoe has its outer surface covered with friction material. When the hub starts rotating, the shoes along with it also start rotating. Anyone performing rotational motion generates centrifugal force.

5. Wet and dry clutches

Wet and dry clutches

Wet clutches have multiple clutch plates (in cars) and have a supply of oil to lubricate and cool the components. They are used in high torque situations where friction levels are high.

Dry clutches have no oil supply and are single-plate. This means they can be more efficient, as lubrication can lead to a lack of friction between the plates.

6. Cone clutch

The cone clutch can transmit more torque than single plate clutches of the same size because of the relatively larger frictional area and wedging action. The cone clutch consists of two drums, one male and one female.

The male drum is attached to the engine crankshaft and has an inner friction lining, while the female drum is mounted on a splined shaft and has an outer friction lining.

That’s all for this article, where we discussed the common types of clutches. I hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share. Thanks for reading. see you around!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *