Jumping a car is one of those really cool things you see people do easily in movies but is actually tricky to get right in real life. Most people won’t bother ever trying to get their car airborne, but if that’s something that you’re into or are looking to try out, then you can at least learn to do it correctly.
The folks at Team O’Neil Rally School are back with a new instructional video about jumping your car. Now, it goes without saying that you should only try this in safe places, as you don’t want to injure yourself or anyone else in case something goes wrong. Also keep in mind that if your car is stock, it probably hasn’t been fitted with the fortified components that rally cars have to deal with the added stress of jumping. Which means that you might cause some damage if you aren’t careful.
Once you account for and understand those factors, then you can get started.
Host Wyatt Knox breaks the jumps down into three categories: Small, big and jumps in corners. If you’re starting out with a small jump, just make sure that your car is settled beforehand and making sure to keep up acceleration through and over the jump. “The worst-case scenario is you chicken out at the last second and either brake-check or lift a little,” Knox reminds us. To keep your nose up in a jump, you do need that acceleration.
If you enter the jump while your car is bouncing, you probably won’t land straight or flat. That acceleration is important because you want to be accelerating as you go off the lip of the jump. If you start decelerating, either because you’ve braked or lifted off the throttle, your car will nosedive. To practice this, you’ll need to get good at building your speed and confidence up.
Knox notes that even if you take off smoothly, there might still be a little bouncing when you land. So it’s important to keep your eyes up, your reactions quick and your foot on the throttle to drive out of it.
Now, if you’re attempting big jumps in a pedestrian car and not a rally or race car, there might some trouble. While airborne, the wheel speed is going to skyrocket. Upon landing, the driveline goes through tremendous shock and things can snap and break. So a tip for production cars going off big jumps is to lift a little while in the air and then to start accelerating again when they land and drive out of the jump with some stability.
Corner jumps are tricky, but sometimes rally drivers do need to do them. You need to plan ahead and commit to a good line.
“Once your wheels are off the ground, you’ve got no steering, brakes, throttle—anything,” says Knox firmly. “So whatever you’d done up to that point, hopefully you’ve got it right. Get your speed checked, get the angle you need to, go off the jump as smoothly as you can on the throttle and be ready with corrective action when you land.”
If you’ve never jumped a car before, definitely start small. Learn to feel out your vehicle and build your comfort before taking on bigger and higher speed jumps. Good luck and be safe!