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There’s no mistaking the thrill of a burnout for true motoring enthusiasts. Keeping a car at a standstill whilst spinning the wheels until they smoke is one of the most spectacular motoring moves. You may have been told that it is not possible to do a burnout in an automatic car but that is not actually true!

Whether you call it a burnout, a power brake or a peel out, you may have done it to warm up your tires before a race or simply to show off your skills. The key to a good burnout is plenty of friction and there is no reason why this cannot be achieved in an automatic car. However, it is not safe or legal to perform it on a public highway and you need to exercise extreme caution because even a small error could lead to injury. If burning rubber just for the sheer hell of it is your thing, here’s how you can achieve it in an automatic car.

Before You Start

Some models of automatic car are more suited to burnouts than others. For example, the later Ford Mustang models have a dedicated driving mode that makes a burnout easy to execute.

Always check your car over to make sure that it is in good condition before you start. A burnout puts a lot of stress on a car and many are simply not up to it. You need a car with a high horsepower and street tires are the best option as they produce a lot of smoke.

You also need a safe location where no pedestrians or other road users could get injured. It needs to be free from obstacles so that your car (and you) do not get damaged.

Steps to Completing a Burnout

  • Step 1

Start your car with the key or push button but keep your left foot on the brake pedal. Make sure that your wheels are pointing forward but keep the handbrake on. Now move the selector to 1 (D) and release the handbrake.

  • Step 2

It’s now time to turn the traction control off. If you don’t do this, it is highly unlikely that your burnout will be unsuccessful. The problem with traction control is that the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) continually tries to gain traction and this gets in the way of you trying to execute a burnout.

  • Step 3

Now you need to press and hold both the brake and gas pedals as hard as you can. Rev up the engine and release the brake pedal slowly so that the tires burn. To stop the burnout, you simply release the gas pedal.

Top Tips for Doing a Burnout in an Automatic

Here are our top tips for executing a brilliant burnout that will not fail to impress. Once you know how to do a burnout, take a look at these to perfect your technique.

  • A gravel surface helps. If you can find a patch of loose gravel, it will greatly help your burnout but warn onlookers to stand clear because they could get peppered with small stones!
  • Wet tires are best. This is a situation where a bit of water can be very helpful. Wet tires perform better burnouts than dry tires because they are more slippery.
  • Perfect brake pads are a must. Give your brake pads the once over before you start. If they have any flaws, the burnout will not be as successful.
  • Diesel cars do great burnouts. Diesel cars have loads of low-down power and torque so those wheels will spin like crazy. The sound will be overpowering but you’ll have the best burnout of your life.
  • High horsepower. The higher the horsepower the better. If you are failing to do a burnout, it may be because you do not have enough horsepower to execute one.

Related Post: Best All Terrain Tires, Best All Season Tires and Best Snow & Winter Tires

What Can Go Wrong

Not all burnouts will go the way you planned. As well as learning how to do a burnout in an automatic car, it is important that you know what can go wrong.

The worse thing that can go wrong is that someone gets hurt so be sure to clear the area and choose somewhere off the public highway.  The second thing that can go wrong is that you get caught doing one where you shouldn’t. They are not legal on public roads.

There are also a few mechanical issues that commonly go wrong. Some drivers find that only one tire spins and this will be because you have an open differential. The power will only be reaching one wheel and that will be the one with least resistance. To overcome this, you need a Limited Slip Differential (LSD). You can fix this yourself by welding the spider gears together so that the wheels rotate at different speeds. However, when you take your car on the road you may notice increased vibrations and parking can be harder because of a “skipping” effect.

Several car parts can get damaged during a burnout. The most vulnerable are those parts that are already faulty or worn. This is why it’s important to give your car a quick check over before you start.

Tires take a lot of punishment during a burnout. Don’t be tempted to fit some cheap winter tires because this will end up costing you more money. This type of tire uses compound rubber which is soft and chunks can break off them. The cost-effective plan is to fit cheap or part worn tires.

Another costly fault is a damaged gearbox, clutch or differential. If you only do burnouts every now and again, this is less likely to be an issue but the more often you do them, the higher the risk!

The Last Word

Executing burnouts in an automatic car is not impossible but may take a bit of practice. You can optimize your chances of success by choosing the most appropriate vehicle and the most suitable surface.

Sources:

  1. How to Do a Burnout – WikiHow
  2. How do you do a burnout in an automatic transmission car? – Quora

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