We’ve all seen them, the clouds of white smoke coming out from the backs of sports-cars before a race. That familiar sight immediately fills viewers with anticipation, indicating that something exciting is about to take place.
It could even tempt you to try it out for yourself, but should you? And is it bad to do a burnout on your offroad vehicle?
The Short Answer
While there are ways to do a burnout without ultimately compromising your automobile, it’s still harmful to perform one on an offroad vehicle. Since those cars aren’t designed to withstand extended burnouts, this easily puts a lot of stress on the car engine and transmission. Not to mention, burnouts are considered illegal in certain areas.
The Dangers of Doing a Burnout on an Offroad Vehicle
1. Worn-Out Tires
When you perform a burnout, you’re quickly spinning your vehicle’s wheels while your ride stays in place. While it’s pretty unlikely for your tires to suffer any harm from the first try, over time, burnouts can shred away at them.
Ultimately, this causes your tire tread to be worn down to the indicator bars, which are small rubber bars that are cut off at the lowest safety point in your tire tread. Once your tread is worn down to these bars, your tires need to be immediately replaced.
Worn-out tires have a poor grip on the road and make it harder for you to control your car. They also pose the danger of a sudden blowout, as the rubber is more in contact with the road.
2. Overheated Transmission
Whether your transmission is automatic or manual, burnouts are one of the quickest ways to ruin your transmission. Of course, not all transmissions are built equal, so some can withstand burnouts to a certain degree.
One of the most common problems that you could face is an overheated transmission. Doing burnouts puts an unnecessary amount of strain on it, which could cause it to overheat. Eventually, this excessive heat could start a chain of transmission problems such as ruptured seals, delayed clutch engagement, and much more.
3. Toxic Pollutants
One of the biggest misconceptions about burnouts is that the produced white clouds of smoke are just that; “smoke”. Yet, if you were to set fire to a rubber tire, it’d burn up into black smoke, so why do tires create white smoke during burnouts?
It turns out that the excessive heat from the friction between the tires and the pavement results in the melting of the rubber tread; thus, the tire’s oil and chemicals are vaporized then condensed to form the white smoke that we see.
Ingesting these chemicals fills your lungs with toxic pollutants, and they’re hazardous for the environment.
Why Drag Racers Perform Burnouts
Burnouts are performed all the time in drag races, so how come those cars aren’t harmed? After all, racers must ensure that their automobiles are in the best shape possible, as that’s a huge factor that goes into winning the race. So, it wouldn’t make sense for them to do something that harms their cars right before every race, right?
Well, that’s because, in drag races, burnouts actually serve a huge purpose. You see, tires need to have the best grip possible so that they don’t lose traction control. Also, the speed at which a car powers up drastically affects that car’s chances of crossing the finish line first.
So when racers perform burnouts, they help warm up car tires and clear them of any particles stuck onto the rubber.
How Drag Racers (Safely) Perform Burnouts
Now that you know why burnouts are necessary for drag racing, the question is: how are they done without causing all the problems mentioned above?
First, it’s important to mention that drag racers are professionals who spend years training to ensure that they stay out of harm’s way. Still, accidents happen on the race track.
If a driver doesn’t perform the burnout well, their car tires could get stuck on the track when running down it. That’s why drivers first drive their car through a light pool of water. Afterward, they run their tires quickly (while their vehicle is in place, of course) to get rid of debris stuck to them.
All things considered, we do have a small confession to make. We think burnouts are cool, but everything has a time and place. Compromising your own health and that of those around you, as well as damaging your vehicle, is simply not a fair price to pay for performing a car stunt.
Make sure to drive your offroad vehicles safely, and keep the tricks on the race tracks!