The Differences in a Stage 1 & Stage 2 Clutch

by Sam Grover
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Stage 1 and stage 2 are terms used by people who are interested in high-end auto upgrades. They apply to essentially any aftermarket add-on to a car, from a turbo to the valves to the intake manifold to the clutch.

The basic difference between stage 1 and 2 upgrades is that stage 1 is used in standard vehicles and does not require as much maintenance, while stage 2 is used for racing and takes a much greater toll on the engine

Ease of Use

A stage 1 clutch is easier to install and use than a stage 2 clutch. This is because stage 1 products are defined as products that can be directly installed without a negative effect on the engine and without the need for any other parts to compensate for it.

What this means is that the stage 1 clutch will improve torque and power, but it will improve them within the manufacturer's safety margins. A stage 1 clutch also does not wear your engine out as fast as a stage 2 clutch might, and it does not affect your car's street legality.

Finally, a stage 1 clutch is easier to shift than a stage 2 clutch. This is because stage 2 clutches are designed for more professional use, and they put more pressure on the engine by removing the features that allow the user more leeway in shifting.


Both stage 1 and 2 clutches increase the engine's capacity for power and torque. However, a stage 2 clutch does so to a far greater extent than a stage 1 clutch. The Spec stage 2 clutch, for example, can handle 411 foot-pounds of torque in a GTI, when the manufacturer's clutch had previously only been able to handle 300 foot-pounds of torque. This dramatically increases acceleration and ability to quickly climb hills, the purview of the lower gears.

Extra Parts

Stage 2 clutches require extra parts to make them compatible with the car. The Spec clutch mentioned above, for example, is too powerful for its car's original flywheel. If it was put in on its own, it would quickly destroy the flywheel by putting too much pressure on it. To install the Spec, the user also has to install a new, more durable flywheel that can handle the extra torque.

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