How to Do a Burnout?

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Burnouts are one of the most iconic forms showing off a car. What started out as a drag racing technique eventually became an art form and even a competition. You don’t have to be a motorhead to appreciate burnouts, however, you also don’t have to be a drag racer to do burnouts. In just a few minutes, you’ll know everything you need to know to impress the crowds and have some fun doing burnouts.

The Car

In order to start doing burnouts, you’ll need a car (duh!). There are three types of drivetrains in cars that you may have; rear wheel drive (RWD), front wheel drive (FWD), and all wheel drive (AWD). The best type of car for burnouts would be a rear wheel drive. These type of cars have strong drivetrains and are the easiest to initiate a burnout it. FWD cars can do burnouts, but they tend to be economy cars containing less power and weaker parts. AWD cars need to have massive amounts of power to do a burnout, and it won’t be the stationary burnout you may be familiar with.

There are also two transmissions types in cars: manual and automatic. Manuals are easier to start burnouts in because you can dump the clutch and easily slip the tires. Automatics need more power to start a burnout, but otherwise, the steps are similar. Be warned, no matter which car you have, there will always be a chance of breaking it so be careful!

The Tires

In day to day driving, you want new high-performance tires with good grip. When doing burnouts, you want the exact opposite. Cheaper tires are usually older, and that’s what you need. You should also look for tires that are hard rather than soft. Remember, you’re basically burning away the rubber on your tires when doing burnouts. A few good burnouts are all it takes to completely wear out a tire, so make sure you’re willing to kill the tires you use.

The Burnout

For this step by step guide on how to burnout, I’ll be using a rear wheel drive car and divide the guide into manual and automatic.

Manuals

  1. Push the clutch and shift into first gear
  2. Press on the gas and rev the engine at mid to high rpm
  3. Quickly release the clutch and push the gas pedal hard
  4. If you want the burnout to be stationary, as soon as you release the clutch move that foot to the brakes and slowly but firmly press
  5. Enjoy your burnout!

Automatics

  1. Put the transmission in the lowest gear you have, NOT DRIVE, in order to prevent shifting
  2. Push on the brake but not too hard
  3. Quickly push hard on the gas until the tires spin
  4. Once the tires start spinning, press hard on the brake
  5. Enjoy your burnout!

Even though I used a rear wheel drive as an example, these steps are exactly the same for front wheel drive cars. If you’re in an all wheel drive, the steps are the same, except you don’t brake after the tires start spinning, and therefore won’t be stationary.

Tip: If you’re having trouble getting the tires to spin, pour some water over them to reduce grip. You can also use car soap to get the same results. As a bonus, some liquids can help create smoke.

What to Watch Out For

Doing burnouts can be very dangerous if you’re not careful. Your car is going through tremendous stress and your tires are spinning at high speeds. If you keep these things in mind, you’ll have fun AND be safe.

-Burnouts can be illegal in some areas. Make sure you aren’t creating a public disturbance and aren’t on private property that isn’t yours.
-If you’re doing a stationary burnout, your engine isn’t getting any air and can overheat. Be sure not to burnout for too long.
-In a manual car, if the tires don’t spin you could be burning the clutch instead. Make sure the smoke you see is coming from the tires and not from your clutch
-Tires have a finite amount of rubber on them. If they run out of it, they will burst. Remember: if you hear a pop, be sure to stop.
-Most cars have open differentials. This means you might get one tire burnouts instead of the two or four that you want. Know your differential and always try to have an even amount of burn time on all tires that are spinning
-You’re going to be creating a ton of smoke and noise. Make sure any crowd nearby expects a burnout, and if not, make sure there are none. Also, make sure there’s no traffic nearby that you might blind with smoke
-Give your engine a chance to cool down often

Now you know enough to safely do a burnout. Have fun, stay safe, and kill some tires!