What is a Wet Clutch in ATV?

When you first start learning about ATV you quickly realize there is a lot of slang and phrases that you have never heard before. This can leave you searching endlessly, high and low for answers. Our site aims to provide answers to all of your ATV questions, all in one place. 

One of the things that trips ATV newbies up is wet clutch. You may be wondering “what the hell is a wet clutch?”, or “why is my clutch wet?”. Trust us, you are not the first person to wonder this and you won’t be the last. 

Luckily for you, you have us to guide you through all of your wet clutch-related worries. In this article, we are going to be exploring the notion of a wet clutch, addressing what a wet clutch is, and letting you know how you can tell if your ATV has one. 

What is a wet clutch in ATV?

A wet clutch literally does what it says on the tin. It is a clutch that is wet, also known as lubricated.

This wetness or lubrication comes from the engine oil. The whole clutch system runs by using friction plates and steel plates which are woven together when the clutch is pressed. This is what makes the vehicle able to go. 

These plates are squeezed together by a pressure plate. The oil bath is used to get the whole system covered in oil, increasing the friction between the plates and contributing to the holding power of the clutch lever when you are out riding.

This means that the vehicle can stay running even when the plates are disengaged. The plates will also be cooler when in use, allowing you to use the vehicle easier. 

They are widely used in a variety of vehicles such as motorcycles, dirt bikes, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). In a more simple explanation, you can simply view the wet clutch as a clutch system that has been lubricated with engine oil as opposed to being dry.

Some models may well have a dry clutch, and that is fine too. Some people prefer one or the other. There is no real right or wrong.  

What is the benefit of a wet clutch? 

The benefit of a wet clutch is that it will provide more versatility when you are riding. Wet clutches are great for people who use their ATVs often, as they can handle a lot of use than a dry clutch.

The purpose of the lubrication on the wet clutch is to cool the plates faster. This will, in turn, provide a larger friction zone, making the clutch easier to operate and the overall vehicle easier to use. 

Keeping your clutch cool is very important given that clutches in a wet clutch vehicle have multiple plates. All of these plates running at once have the tendency to get very hot, resulting in a more difficult ride and a lot of noise. The lubrication that a wet clutch can provide drowns out this noise and lessens it completely. 

Another benefit of having a wet clutch is that your engine will be less susceptible to wear and tear. The lubrication a wet clutch provides means that the clutch and the plates themselves are more versatile, sturdy, and can handle a lot more than a dry clutch. This will be preferable to someone who really puts their vehicle through it, and rides often! 

Overall, a wet clutch should last longer than its dry counterparts, and should hopefully require less upkeep and maintenance. 

Does my ATV have a wet clutch?

Figuring out if your ATV is a wet or dry clutch should be easy, as you should be told by the place you purchase your ATV or by the manufacturer.

If you buy your ATV second-hand, then we recommend that you ensure you ask the seller whether it is a wet or dry clutch vehicle before buying. If the owner does not know you could always call or email the manufacturer, quoting the make and model of the ATV in question. 

Your clutch system will be within your engine, behind one of the pulleys. If you are experienced at taking apart ATV engines, you can check for yourself to see if your clutch is wet or dry.

You will be able to tell by the presence of oil and an oil sump. However, we recommend that you take your ATV to a professional if you want to get this checked by someone who knows what they are doing.

This is especially important if you have no experience with taking apart your ATV engines and do not really know what you are looking for. 

A professional mechanic who has experience with ATVs will be able to tell you for sure whether your ATV has a wet clutch or a dry clutch.