Illustration for article titled How To Do A Burnout Without Blowing Up Your Clutch

Car people! Hear me now and remember me later: Too many clutches have suffered at the hands of untrained hoons. The carnage must stop, and I will teach you how. Onward, to knowledge!


A burnout is one of the simplest things you can do with a car, but because our culture eschews even the mere perception of risk, too few hooning skills are passed down from father to son. This must stop. If Ray can learn, then anyone can — and today, you are all my children. But first, watch this:

What Ray, the young man in this poor Golf, and most of America does wrong has to do with clutch takeup — almost everyone lets the left pedal out too slowly. Braking is important and an excess of engine rpm is key, but the trick to the whole thing is the clutch release.


Now, lest you think poorly of our fearless leader, Ray wasn't as bad as this dope. He at least understood that he needed to release the clutch quickly. The problem lies in the fact that most people overthink it: You have to send power to the drive wheels quick enough to break traction without moving the car forward. Most of the time, simply raising your left leg as fast as you can won't do it.

Fortunately, God gave clutches return springs and enough room to the left of the clutch pedal to fit a human foot. Instead of raising the clutch, just slide your left foot off the depressed pedal and allow it to pop up naturally. Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to learn.

Of course, if you're to avoid stalling the car, you'll also need some revs. Plenty should be enough. (If it's not enough, try Too Much. Whatever it is, just make your right foot heavy.) To arrest forward momentum, try a dab of brake — your left foot is good for this — and remember that you may have to steer to keep the car pointed in the right direction. If you have a front-wheel-drive car, a bit of handbrake can stand in for your left foot. If you're trying this repeatedly and can't get the hang of it, you may catch a whiff of a musky, brackish odor coming from your transmission. This is your clutch overheating. If you smell this, drive normally for a bit and let things cool off.

There. Go forth into the world and pass on the gospel. Burn thy tires with the fire of a thousand suns and let hoonage ring throughout the land. Just be careful to stay away from nonbelievers. They tend to call the cops. Pricks.

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