When it comes to learning how to drive a manual car, the clutch is one of the essential components to take seriously. The mechanical device is primarily engineered to engage and disengage power transmission. It does that by transmitting power from one rotating shaft to another.
The clutch is a multi-purpose mechanical device. You can use it to stop power transmission to the driveshaft. Apart from that, you can also use the clutch to prevent your vehicle’s engine from stalling, especially when you’re driving at low speeds.
It is generally okay to press the clutch while braking. However, it’s worth knowing that doing it every time will most likely hurt your car. That said, one of the benefits attached to pressing the clutch while braking is that it’ll help you prevent your car from stalling.
When should you put the clutch down when braking? Is it okay to hold the clutch while braking? Is braking with your clutch a bad thing to do? In the rest of this post, I’ll be providing you with answers regarding the frequently asked questions above.
When Should You Put The Clutch Down When Braking
As earlier mentioned, the car clutch is a multi-purpose device, meaning that you can always use it for several functions. When it comes to using the clutch when braking, there are a couple of ways to go about it without hurting your vehicle. Let’s have a quick look at them below:
- Press the clutch when braking at low speed
One of the best driving conditions to put your clutch down when braking is when you’re doing it at a low speed. In this case, you’ll have to first press the clutch down for a short period before applying the brake system to stop the vehicle.
It’s also worth noting that using the clutch before the brake is only ideal when driving at a speed that’s less than the lowest speed of the gear you’re using. In case you don’t know, the best way to identify the lowest speed of the gear is by disengaging the clutch and not using the accelerator. At this point, you should be able to understand the speed and determine when to engage the clutch.
Here’s a simple illustration of when to apply the clutch at a low speed; let’s say you’re driving in first gear and the lowest speed is 5mph. After checking, you noticed you’re driving at 3mph. At this point, if you end up applying the brake directly without the clutch, the vehicle will most likely end up stalling.
Here’s where the need to press down the clutch before braking comes in handy. To avoid stalling your vehicle, any time you’re driving at a low speed compared to that of the speed of the gear you’re using, you need to press down the clutch first before braking. Here’s the thing; the purpose of pressing the clutch down before braking is to make the engine independent of the transmission.
- Press the clutch when braking at high speed
Another driving situation that you can consider to put your clutch down when braking is when you’re driving at a high speed. At this point, it’s advisable to start applying the brake gently to slow down the speed.
Of course, after some time of pressing the brake, the speed will reduce. If the speed ends up going below the lowest speed of the gear you’re accelerating in, your car will most likely stall at this point. To avoid this issue, you need to press down your car clutch as soon as you get to the lowest speed of the current gear you’re driving in.
- Press the clutch when braking suddenly
Another good time that you can consider engaging your car clutch is when you’re breaking suddenly. Braking suddenly usually happens during an emergency, especially when something comes in front of your car unexpectedly. At this point, to avoid damaging any of your car components, the best you can do is to press the clutch and brake together.
In case you don’t know, pressing the clutch and brake together is the best way of preventing your vehicle from accelerating, forcing it to stop with full braking power.
Should You Hold The Clutch While Braking?
Holding the clutch down while braking is something that is sometimes needed. As earlier mentioned, putting the clutch down when braking at low speed is pretty much important to keep your vehicle from struggling. That’s not all; you’ll also find “holding the clutch down” handy when you’re accelerating at a high speed and need to slow down.
However, it’s worth noting that holding the clutch down for a long time or frequently isn’t a good idea when driving. Doing that could make you struggle to engage your gear. Furthermore, putting the clutch down could also reduce your car performance and make it difficult for you to have better control of it.
The bottom line is you can always hold your car clutch when braking. However, to avoid hurting your vehicle and damaging some of its components, you need to understand when to hold down your vehicle and when not to.
Is Braking With a Clutch Bad?
Braking with your car clutches has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the benefits of engaging the clutch when braking is to prevent your vehicle from struggling and eventually stalling.
However, when you keep braking with your clutch during certain driving conditions, you may end up wearing out the clutch. Unfortunately, it could cost up to $1,500 to replace a broken clutch.