Courting Disaster in the Slipping of the Clutch
Among the many pitfalls that menace the careless or reckless driver, one of the greatest is in the improper operation of the clutch. Care in this respect is all the more important, as in case of his machine being caught in a tight place where quick action is imperative, the clutch, if abused, may fail him when it is most needed. One of the worst habits is that of continually slipping the clutch. By so doing the driver adds very greatly to the wear upon it, and eventually, and most likely when an emergency occurs that may mean loss of life and the destruction of the engine, the clutch will fail. The purpose of the clutch, says Service, is to connect the engine to the transmission and to disconnect it, at the will of the opeiator. This is necessary, particularly for shifting gears, to prevent grinding or stripping. When allowed to engage it should always be done gently so as not to break some part of the transmission. This caution applies particularly to the low speed when starting the car from a standstill, as the strain is then excessive. As the clutch is engaged the accelerator pedal is depressed slightly to give the engine sufficient power to carry the load. As the clutch takes hold it must do so smoothly, speeding up gradually until it moves at the same speed as the flywheel. It is evident from this that the clutch slips first and holds afterward. Slipping in this manner is a necessary evil that causes the lining to wear out in time. The length of time may be long or short, depending on the driver. One of the most serious faults is to drive with the feet on the clutch and the brake pedals. The clutch is partly released by this practice, causing almost constant slipping. To overcome this the driver feeds more gas, causing the engine to overheat and also waste gasoline. Intentional slipping is an evil which is also disastrous if continued. It is usually due to a disinclination to shift gears. The engine is approaching a block in the traffic, which the traffic officer can probably dissolve if the driver does not arrive too soon, so he slows down slightly. There is a choice of several methods. If he throttles down too far the engine will stall. If he shifts to second speed it may delay him. A third method is to allow the engine to coast by throwing out the clutch and then engaging it again. This gives an intermittent motion to the engine, but is nevertheless superior to the following method (and the last one that should be employed): This consists in slipping the clutch, driving the engine at a speed intermediate between high and second. This should never be done; either stay high or stop when the obstruction is reached, or else drop into second gear.