By on November 29, 2013

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of burnouts, well, unless you’re warming up your tires in preparation for a 1/4 mile run on a dragstrip. Sure, it’s nice to spin your tires once and a while, just to reassure yourself that the car has enough power to break the driving wheels loose if you need to do it, but just spinning your wheels to make big plumes of smokes seems to me to be, well, just spinning your wheels. I’m no fan of drifting, but at least all the wheelslip in drifting competitions has a point. It’s one thing if the smoky burnouts are in celebration of a race win, though to be honest, those got old a long time ago, about as spontaneous as Vettel or Schumacher spraying champagne after a F1 win from pole to pole, but turning your tires into rubber smoke while going nowhere just strikes me as pointless and wasteful.

Burnouts are also not without risk. Tires can catch fire, or explode, damaging bodywork or mechanical components. Actually, the owner of this Corvette with what appears to be a supercharger sticking through the hood probably wished his tires had caught fire and exploded, instead of his car catching fire and exploding while doing a burnout at a 2010 car show. From where the fire seems to have started, it’s possible that an overheated transmission or leaking transmission fluid was the cause. Whatever the cause, something keeps feeding the flames, the fuel pump, transmission fluid or engine oil. Of course, once the conflagration spread far enough, all three of those fluids, along with the Corvette’s plastic body panels, were involved.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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28 Comments on “Now This Is A Burnout!...”

  • avatar

    I agree with Ronnie about burnouts. Completely useless. But they are consistent with our current “Look at me!”, “Look at me!” culture. What began those many years ago as a little ‘dance’ in the end zone has become an epidemic in not only sports, but life in general.

    Look at me, folks! I just destroyed $500 worth of tires just so you would look at me. Sigh.

  • avatar

    To make matters worse, they’re trying to put out a liquid/grease fire with water. That’s only gonna spread the fire. LOL.

    • 0 avatar

      Without a fire extinguisher on hand, it looked like he would have been better off waiting for it to burn itself out. I thought he was going to push the fire all the way to the trees on the side of the road.

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts exactly. To make matters worse it took place at a public event and the organisers clearly didn’t have any sort of effective emergency plan in place; the chap.wielding the hose obviously isn’t properly clothed, trained or equipped for fighting a burning-liquid fire.

      I don’t mean to come over all ‘elf ‘n’ safety but incompetence like that fills graveyards.

  • avatar

    Even when I was a kid, I thought “burnouts” were dumb. The tires were so poor in those days,you could do a burnout with a slant six Valient.

    I had to scrape the cash up to buy junk yard tires. No way I was doing any burnouts. Not that it an option, when your driving a six cylinder 62 Pontiac.

    I remember a kid in school doing a burnout, with his Moms 71 Fury, must of been a 383. His Mom must of heard about it. I think he had to take the bus for a year.

    • 0 avatar


      Even when I was a preteen I’d see a burnout and sarcastically say, “you’re my hero.”

      I’ve seen videos of kids basically chaining a car down and doing burn outs until it explodes – for fun.

      I certainly didn’t grow up poor but I don’t see this as cool – just plain stupid and wasteful. Guess I’m getting old.

    • 0 avatar

      I grew up when the stupid-expensive Air Jordans first came to market, and kids would deliberately puncture the air bladders because they thought it was cool. They justified it saying “If I don’t like it, I’ll just get my parents to buy me another pair.”

  • avatar
    Spanish Inquisition

    Burning out in a straight line? Do you even know how to chuck a proper hectic skid?

    (do youtube links show up properly? watch?v=L2bGp86GJGI)

  • avatar

    YOU PEOPLE just don’t understand.

    It’s the one way I can show you how powerful my 6.4-L HEMIs are without getting a speeding ticket.

    Burnouts also prove one fact: NOTHING BEATS RWD.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re so right about RWD.

      The day we all fell about laughing outside the high school while waiting for the school bus, was when Dave came out, hopped into his Dad’s Rambler Ambassador 330, revved the living rats**t out of the engine in Park, then engaged the Flash-O-Matic drive.

      The car performed just like a bucking bronco, leaping about like a frenzied kangaroo, showing its torque-tube drive, squirelling all over the road, the tires howling, then chirping until the wheels finally caught up with the 90lb 4500 rpm flywheel.

      I bet your burnouts are just as adolescent. Can we come and watch for a belly laugh?

  • avatar

    Yes, doing burnouts is stupid and a waste of money but I still enjoy the occasional burnout and tire chirp into the next gear. I don’t understand how you can be a car guy and not appreciate a burnout or two. Guess I’m still a punk at heart.

    Now get those damn kids off my lawn!

  • avatar

    Donuts and slides in an empty snow-covered parking lot, yes.

    Hell no.

  • avatar

    Snicker .

    What a bunch of idiots .

    Glad no one was burned ! .


  • avatar

    I guess if it was a Tesla Model S we could just blame the Lithium Ion Battery and call it good…
    Also… “I am going to stand on the gas peddle until something explodes…” K, your money not mine, whatever.

  • avatar

    It’ll click on a video claiming 1,000 HP, but the smoking burnout proves nothing (good). I’d rather see the highest speed which it can still break the tires loose, from a roll.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve never had a car that could do an honest burnout; FWD doesn’t count. I enjoy watching other people’s burnouts at their foolish expense.

    And I’m no firefighter, but that bloke doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Burnouts are great at someone else expense and in a controlled environment.

    Maybe TTAC can do an article on the Summer Nats in Canberra (Australia) starting the 4th Jan. It’s our premier ‘Hot Rod’ event.

    Heaps of burnouts (whether you agree or not), pretty girls and fantastic cars on display.

    A little piece of a Mitsubishi Sigma with a lot of engine.×400.jpg

    A flamin’ Commodore or as the Holden haters call them Commode.

    Interesting article on the Summer Nats to entice visitors.

    A massive burnout

    • 0 avatar

      Worth a look at the aussie burnout comps. We don’t do ’em static like you yankies do. Boring!!

      Have a look at something like this:

      The Holden One Tonner that starts at 5:12 is cool.

  • avatar

    It looks like Corvette owner was doing this sh*t on a city street. I hope the insurance company gets a copy of the video, the local police press the appropriate charges and fire department sends him a bill for their services.

  • avatar

    You think that Corvette one is bad?

    Go to YouTube and check out “F250 Powerstroke Blows Up”. Some moron completely destroys a perfectly good-running late model F250 showing off, doing donuts and whatnot.

  • avatar

    This TTAC story inspired me to make a video today. Bought new tires. RSA2 245/45/20.

  • avatar

    So long as I’m not buying the tires its all good. Beats most football games I watch and is probably cheaper to go see in person even if I am buying the tires. Alas, my wife’s 4cyl Tucson will not light em’ up and I am told my Frontier has a marginal rear diff so burnouts are not happening in the Kirk Household unless I am driving one of my kid’s RC cars or racing him on the X-Box.

    This was once considered a proper sendoff for tires about to be replaced. I can honestly say that I know weather or not most vehicles I have driven will light em’ up to include an HMWVV (Uparmored no, soft skin with upgraded engine, yes, Buffalo Mine Detection Vehicle, NO, Husky Mine Detection Vehicle, Yes if in low range with diffs unlocked, The Land Cruiser pictured above – Not even on a snow covered road). Hey 18 hour missions require some entertainment not involving stuff going boom.

  • avatar

    One of my favorite burnout fail videos is the Corvette owner who doesn’t realize he’s toasting his clutch, not his tires. And the cameraman doesn’t know enough to stop him. The expression on the guy’s face when he finally realizes it (and probably how much it’s going to cost) is priceless.

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