Modern innovation and technology have improved the modern cars in many ways. One such introduction of advanced mechanics is Dual-Clutch Transmissions. Many cars in India come equipped with dual-clutch gearboxes and different manufacturer call by different names. Even budget cars such as the VW Polo and Ford Figo feature dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Such transmissions are fairly new and are very advanced and are controlled fully by computers that analyze the data from different sensors. How to make these transmissions last long? We bring you five points on how to take care of your dual-clutch transmission.
Putting the car in neutral
We all have this common habit of putting the car in neutral at traffic signals. That is a wasted effort as the computer senses that you’re slowing down and putting pressure on the brake pedal, it automatically disengages the both the clutches. It does not burn any extra fuel when you are standstill in “D” or driving mode or “N” or neutral mode at a traffic signal. Most modern cars come with start/stop function which shuts down the engine if it senses that you have come to halt and also starts it as soon as you lift your foot from the brake pedal. This only happens when you’re in “D” mode. This saves extra fuel and also saves your muscle movement while waiting on a traffic signal.
Always use brake on an incline
Unlike torque converter automatic transmissions, the dual-clutch transmissions have two actual clutches in them. If you do not use brake for stopping at an incline, the transmission takes all the load for making sure that the car is standstill at an incline by constantly slipping the clutch. This overheats the components inside and can damage the transmission. Putting the brake disengages both the clutches completely and the vehicle remains standstill without putting any extra effort on the transmission itself.
Avoid inching forward during heavy traffic
Moving the vehicle by only releasing the brake can do some serious harm to transmission. This way the 1st gear clutch does not get fully engaged and causes more wear to the clutch. Driving this way reduces the life of the clutch by big time. If you are stuck in heavy traffic conditions where driving like this becomes the only option, you should wait and make some space between you and the car in front, this way you will be able to lift the foot off brake pedal completely and will do no harm to the gearbox.
Manual upshifts while braking or vice-versa
Such transmission offers a greater sense of control by letting the driver shift to manual mode where the gears can be shifted by the mode selector itself or from the flappy pedals behind the steering wheel if the car features them. The clutch is still controlled by the computer by sensing the speed of the vehicle along with your foot position on throttle or brake. It has a minimum of two transmission shafts that control odd and even gears respectively. If you’re accelerating, the transmission will think that you will do an upshift and prepares the transmission for it. Instead, if you do a downshift, the transmission takes little longer than usual and sometimes you even feel a jerk.
The same happens when you’re braking and the transmission predicts that you will downshift but instead you upshift and this sends the whole dual-clutch set-up in a tizzy. This is very harmful to your dual clutch transmission and should be avoided at all cost.
Launching the car
Many performance cars with dual clutch have a launch control where the engine rpm holds at a certain point for quicker acceleration. This feature is not often seen in budget cars with dual-clutch transmission because they are not supposed to be in a drag race anyway. Nonetheless, if you still want to do it, you should do it properly. To launch a car with dual-clutch, you should press the brake with your left foot and press the throttle with your right foot and quickly let go of the brake. The critical thing here is to take care that you don’t hold the brake for too long. The clutch takes all the damage trying to move the vehicle forward while you are on the brake. It can cause major damage to your transmission.
Don’t miss the Engineering Explained video below explaining all the points.