The flywheel is an important component in the engine of a car. It is a rotating mechanical apparatus which works with the clutch to disconnect the engine from the wheels which enables the driver to change gear.
The flywheel works with the clutch to actively engage and disengage the power transmission system from the drive shaft. The flywheel works with the clutch by helping to adjust the friction between the spinning engine and stationary wheels, enabling the driver to change gear with ease and to stop the car smoothly without damaging the engine. The flywheel is normally made of steel or, more commonly in modern vehicles, carbon fibre and it spins on bearings which are either of the traditional type or magnetic bearings. It is usually fixed to both the crankshaft and the clutch, attaching directly to the clutch plate. The other side of the clutch is mounted to the manual transmission, which allows the crucial process of disengaging it to change gear.
The clutch consists of four main parts: a clutch plate, which is attached to the flywheel; a pressure plate, which is fixed to the clutch plate; a diaphragm spring, which pushes the pressure plate against the clutch disc, which in turn pushes against the flywheel, and a throwout bearing, which applies pressure to the centre of the diaphragm spring. The clutch plate and the pressure plate are essentially two discs which can be moved apart or together by the clutch pedal and clutch lever. The clutch is connected to the clutch pedal (the far left foot pedal in the car) by a cable or, less commonly, a hydraulic piston. When the driver presses the clutch pedal down it moves the two plates apart. This disconnects the engine from the wheels which enables the driver to change gear. When the driver gradually raises the clutch pedal, this slowly moves the two discs together, which pushes against the flywheel, which reconnects the engine with the drive wheels. When the driver starts the car the pressure plate is stationary, and the clutch plate, which is attached to the flywheel, nearest to the engine, is rotating at speed. By gradually moving the discs together, with the action of releasing the clutch pedal, the friction slowly and evenly speeds up the stationary disc to match the rotational speed of the engine. The flywheel is able to store rotational energy received by torque from the firing of the pistons, and later apply this energy to the crankshaft to compensate for when a piston is not firing but instead compressing the air and fuel mix ready for the next firing.
If you hear a grinding noise when you start the engine of your car, or are having difficulties engaging the clutch, it could be an issue with the flywheel and should be looked in to as soon as possible. A faulty flywheel, if left unaddressed, will inevitably lead to a damaged clutch. When replacing this part, the flywheel is the ideal choice, being completely compatible with the make and model of your vehicle. The flywheel is specifically designed for the car you drive, meaning it will fit well, work properly and last longer.