Oct 18, 2016
You wouldn’t get very far in your manual shift car without a clutch plate! With the help of the flywheel, it transfers the rotation of your vehicle’s engine to its wheels so that your car can run in perfect harmony.
But like any couple, these bits have a habit of rubbing each other up the wrong way and one or other is likely to wear out if not treated nicely. If you’re a bit heavy on the pedal you’ll find your clutch plates will need replacing sooner rather than later.
So, where do clutch plates go when they have outlived their automotive usefulness? They might look like a big hunk of metal but inside that rough, steely exterior lies a car part that’s eager to be loved and put to good use.
We’ve had a few ideas* that might prolong the life of a clutch plate once it’s left vehicular service. Weird, wonderful and a little bit bonkers…
Grab yourself a bike frame, some gears, pedals, handlebars and a saddle. Throw in a couple of clutch plates as wheels...voila, your very own clutch plate bicycle! With most clutch plates measuring less than 12” in diameter, you might need to pedal hard to get a great deal of mileage under your belt but your new green transport won’t give you any engine problems.
Perhaps you’re less of a Chris Froome and more of a couch potato, unable to drag yourself away from the TV. One of the reasons that clutch plates need replacing is that they can become warped or bent - perfect to use as a satellite dish!
Line the curved clutch plate with foil and add a radio receiver, carefully mounted at the focus of the dish (obviously). Tune in your TV and you’ll have access to more viewing than you’ll ever need.
Why not enjoy a beverage while watching the latest boxset on satellite TV? You’ll need somewhere to rest your mug or glass, perhaps the latest in clutch plate side tables?
Simply mount a clutch plate on a set of table legs and sit back and relax as you sip and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
No chair, did I hear you say? Build a pair of comfortable bistro chairs using 4 clutch plates: use an angle bracket to attach 2 plates together and improvise with some steel tubing for legs. Use a couple of scatter cushions to make the seats more comfortable and then invite a friend around to enjoy an evening for two in front of the box.
Once the TV show is over, it’ll be time for some musical entertainment, giving you an opportunity to show off your drumming skills. You can add to your drum kit with a set of clutch plate cymbals. You’ll need a washer to make the hole at the centre of the plate smaller so it can be suitably attached to a length of steel rod with a nut and a wingnut. Ta-dah: your own crash cymbal!
Your friend can join in with their very own clutch plate banjo. Of course a real banjo uses calf hide stretched over a pot body but if you don’t have any animal skin lying about, you can have just as much fun without. Firmly attach a banjo fretboard (with 5 pegs) to the clutch plate using more nuts and bolts, and string the instrument from pegs to tailpiece attached at the other side of the plate.
A fair bit of tuning will be required - tighten the pegs for a higher note - to achieve the standard banjo G chord. Then off you go, making sweet-ish music.
Enough of sitting around jamming - time for some outdoor activity. Either partake in a quick game of clutch plate frisbee (no modifications required) or get yourself down to the tennis court for a set or two...
You’ll need two more clutch plates to use as tennis racquets as well as two handles firmly affixed with nuts and bolts, and a strong wrist as each plate can weigh up to 5 kg! Serve up the game with a tennis ball and become Andy Murray for a while but don’t get too stressed out when bad light stops play.
After working up an appetite, you’ll want nothing more than a decent meal and the chance to undo all the good from that exercise. How about pizza cooked on your own clutch plate pizza plate? The clutch plate is well designed to tolerate temperatures in excess of 500oC so is perfectly suited to withstand the heat of your oven, with the holes in it allowing the pizza base to be cooked to crisp and tasty perfection.
Not sure what to do with your own clutch plate? You don’t have to be as radical as some of these ideas but if your clutch doesn’t feel right or you are hearing unusual noises, you should get it checked out.
Receive a range of independent quotes for clutch investigations or repairs at MyCarNeedsA.com. You’ll be assured of a choice of recommended service providers who know exactly how to deal with a clutch plate...properly.
* Ideas are for entertainment value only, please do not try these at home.