The clutch transfers the rotary motion of the engine to the gearbox and the vehicle traction.
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The clutch is a transmission component located between the engine and the gearbox which, once activated, momentarily interrupts the transfer of the crankshaft motion to the drive wheels, allowing the gear to be engaged and parking when at rest. Changing gear is made possible by the momentary separation of the crankshaft and the gearbox.
The clutch system is made up of three basic components:
On pressing the clutch pedal, the thrust bearing moves forward onto the main gearbox shaft, compresses a diaphragm spring and releases the disc. The clutch disc then no longer unites the pressure plate and the flywheel, allowing the gear to be engaged. On releasing the pedal, the diaphragm spring presses the disc on the flywheel again, making a solid link with the main gearbox shaft, and as a result, the car accelerates or decelerates depending on the gear selected.
In the past, cars were not fitted with synchronisers: this meant it was necessary to double declutch whenever you needed to change gear. Double declutching is a driving technique which allows accurate gear changing on cars not fitted with synchronised gearboxes. Double declutching is a highly refined technique which, when carried out perfectly, even allows you to change gear without pressing the clutch pedal. Nowadays, vehicles are fitted with synchronisers which mean that double declutching is no longer necessary.
The Hill Holder system makes hill starts easier. The device allows you to stop your vehicle on a hill with the engine running, with no need to keep your foot on the brake pedal or use the handbrake. When slowing down, the clutch pedal and the brake pedal must be pressed simultaneously. When the vehicle is stationary, with the Hill Holder system, you can remove your foot from the brake pedal, and the system will keep your vehicle still. To set off again, simply start to accelerate and gradually release the clutch; the Hill Holder system releases the brakes as soon as the vehicle starts moving.
Developed and manufactured by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, TCT (Twin Clutch Transmission) is an innovative twin dry clutch automatic transmission system. This system allows the next gear to engage while the previous one is still engaged. Shifting is achieved by simply gradually switching the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction. The results are driving comfort and a sporty feeling superior to those offered by conventional automatic transmissions, faster gear shifting and the option to select between manual or automatic mode, all without significant power loss during shifts. What's more, thanks to the introduction of the Start&Stop system, fuel consumption is reduced by 10% compared to a traditional hydraulic automatic transmission with torque converter.
Replacing the clutch is a complex operation. Following these few simple tips will help you to keep yours in shape for longer:
Using the clutch pedal correctly will increase its lifetime. When replacing, it is always recommended that you change the whole clutch kit, including the mechanism, disc and thrust bearing. Mopar® clutch kits are available for all Fiat models in the market.
It is possible that the clutch will show signs of malfunctioning from 37-50 000 km onwards, because its level of wear and tear depends very much on the driver’s driving style.
The main signs of wear and tear are:
Often the flywheel does not show visible signs of wear and tear. Replacing the flywheel along with the clutch kit is a good habit to get into to avoid prematurely compromising the lifetime of a new clutch. This rule is particularly valid for vehicles with dual mass flywheels.