Clutch Interlock Switch
A clutch interlock switch is a veritable safety creation that prevents you from starting your manual transmission vehicle without the clutch properly pressed. The switch is typically located underneath the dashboard and is very similar in design and appearance to a brake light switch. It is typically found in the area where the clutch pedal extends under the dash. The clutch interlock switch will prevent you from starting your vehicle without properly pressing in the clutch, thus ensuring that you never start the vehicle in gear or accidentally cause your vehicle to move while something is in your direct path. For instance, if a child were to get into your car or truck and attempt to start the engine, the clutch interlock switch would prevent the engine from turning over. This helps to significantly cut down on accidents because the vehicle will simply not move unless the clutch is properly pressed. Your vehicle is much safer and easier to operate.
Bypassing or removing the clutch interlock switch in a manual transmission vehicle could be very dangerous and is highly discouraged. Not having a properly working clutch interlock switch will make it possible to start your vehicle while it is in gear, which is definitely not safe. When a vehicle with a manual transmission is started in gear, it will typically lurch forward. This can cause damage to your vehicle or a vehicle that may be parked in front of you. In addition, if someone were to be standing or walking in front of your vehicle when it is started in gear, the lurching forward motion could cause severe and even fatal damage to that person. Many people have been harmed and even killed by vehicles lurching forward simply because they were started in gear. Having a clutch interlock switch helps to significantly prevent accidents involving your vehicle while it is parked and/or started.
The main purpose of the clutch interlock is to prevent the vehicle from being started unless the clutch pedal is properly depressed. The vehicle’s system will simply not start until the clutch pedal is pushed in far enough to properly operate the vehicle. Typically when a vehicle with a manual transmission does not start correctly, mechanics may check the clutch interlock switch first to ensure that it is in proper working condition. A faulty switch will prevent you from starting the vehicle in many cases even if the clutch pedal is properly depressed.
The clutch interlock switch is typically mounted onto the back of the clutch pedal. You can adjust the position of the switch by turning it the mounting nut clockwise on most vehicles. This allows you to loosen the locknut and adjust the position to your own specific needs. If you do adjust the interlock switch it is very important that you ensure the clutch pedal will still reach and strike the switch when the pedal is properly depressed. If not, your vehicle will not start. Once you have adjusted the interlock switch to the desired position, you simply turn the locknut in the opposite direction to once again tighten it.
Replacing the clutch interlock switch is very inexpensive. Most can be purchased for around $20 or less depending on the specific model that you need and the region in which you live. Most automotive parts stores and many online retailers offer these products and they can easily and quickly be installed. You should ensure that you know the proper procedure for replacing the interlock switch before you begin. Once again, if you install the switch incorrectly your vehicle will likely not start. If you are unsure of just how to properly install a replacement interlock switch, you can likely have it installed at your local auto repair garage for a very nominal fee.