What Is A Flywheel & What Does It Do In A Car?

What Is A Flywheel & What Does It Do In A Car? | Lawrenceville Auto Center

Ever wondered what keeps your car running smoothly as you shift gears, accelerate, or idle? It's a single component inside your transmission - the flywheel. It might not be widely talked about or known, but its role is indispensable for a seamless driving experience, as you will learn below.

What is A Flywheel

A flywheel is a mechanical device specifically designed to store rotational energy efficiently. It's a heavy, circular disk connected to the crankshaft. The flywheel's primary function is to smooth out the power delivery of the engine, especially during gear changes. 

When you press the clutch pedal or the automatic transmission starts to shift gears, the flywheel disconnects from the gearbox. Then the gear is shifted down or up, while the flywheel spins at the same speed. Releasing the clutch reconnects all components and gets the engine within the selected gear ratio, therefore speed.

Connected Components and Types

Connected Components
The flywheel works in tandem with the clutch and gearbox. It aids in transferring engine power to the transmission system.

Types of Flywheels
There are two main types – the traditional heavy flywheels used in most vehicles and the lighter, high-performance flywheels found in sports cars.

How Important Is The Flywheel in Your Transmission

The flywheel plays a pivotal role in your car's transmission. It ensures that gear shifts are smooth and that the transmission system remains stable and efficient. In manual transmission cars, the flywheel is particularly crucial as it helps in engaging and disengaging the clutch, allowing for the shift of gears. In automatic transmission cars, the flywheel, often referred to as a flexplate, performs a similar function by working with the torque converter.

Comparing Flywheel Types - Which Is Best for Your Car?

When it comes to choosing the correct flywheel for your car, it could be difficult since a lot of people don't know the two different types of flywheels. The traditional heavy flywheel and the lighter, high-performance variant. Here's a closer look at each type and how to determine which is best suited for your vehicle.

Traditional Heavy Flywheels

These flywheels are heavier and designed to store more rotational energy. This results in smoother idle and steadier power delivery, especially beneficial in larger or diesel engines.

Best For
They are ideal for everyday vehicles, especially those used for commuting or long drives. The heavier flywheel ensures smoother gear shifts and better control at lower speeds.

The added weight can slightly reduce engine responsiveness and acceleration.

Lighter, High-Performance Flywheels

Made from materials like aluminum, these flywheels are lighter and allow the engine to rev up and down more quickly. Most high-horsepower cars sport this type of flywheel or a hybrid between both.

Best For
Perfect for sports cars or vehicles used in racing. They enhance the overall performance, making them suitable for drivers who prefer a more responsive and agile driving experience. Keep in mind that a higher power rating doesn't always mean that the car is meant for the track - some SUVs need that extra push to make them feel less sluggish.

The reduced weight can lead to a choppier idle and might require more skill to operate smoothly, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

For all things related to transmission repairs and maintenance, contact Lawrenceville Auto Center, and we will be glad to help out!