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The Burning Question: Can Automatic Cars Burnout?

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tire burnout wheel burning rubber transmission clutch

While most people see cars as simple transportation from point A to point B, there are some things that cars can do which fly in the face of practicality–but are admittedly quite awesome.

Burning rubber, peeling out, burnout–whatever you may call it, it’s a time-honored tradition and a rite of passage for motorheads. There’s nothing as invigorating as smelling and feeling those tires spin underneath the car as you kick up clouds of smoke.

But, traditionally, it’s assumed that this is something only cars with manual transmissions can do.¬†Is it possible for someone driving an automatic transmission car to burn rubber?

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Ways to Burnout with an Automatic Transmission

Many automotive discussion boards online discuss and debate this very question; whether or not it’s possible to rev the car and spin the wheels without tearing up the transmission. The majority of car enthusiasts say that it’s not possible without shredding the car from the inside; only manual cars give you the necessary clutch control and torque at low engine levels.

With enough digging, you’ll discover that there are in fact two ways to burn out in an automatic car.

  1. Put the car in Neutral, rev it up to at least 4500 RPM, and throw it into Drive. This method typically works but it’s also guaranteed you’ll wind up calling a tow truck because the transmission’s fallen apart.
  2. Put the car in drive and slam on the gas, followed quickly by the brake pedal. Stomp on both at the same time,¬†holding down the brakes enough that the front brakes catch but the back ones don’t–what insiders call a “brake stand.” This allows the back tires to spin while the front tires keep the car stationary. Get the revs up to 2,500-3,000 RPM and release the brakes to peel out. This method doesn’t always work, but it is safer on the car.

Either way though, there’s a high probability that you’ll tear up the brakes, transmission, tires, and axles–it’s not an action that your car is designed to handle. There’s a reason YouTube is filled with videos of people ruining their cars through failed burnouts.

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