How to Prepare Your Car for the Track

Click Here to Begin Taking your car to the track is an absolute pleasure. However, every time you do so, you put it through a lot of stress. In order to have a safe and fun track day, there are a few things you should do to prepare your car. Always remember that you go through your components quicker when you push your car to its limit on the track, which means you burn your engine oil faster, go through your tires quicker, and even destroying your brake pads a lot sooner. To have the safest and most fun experience at the track, you have to do some preparation and inspections so you don’t have any surprises there. Read on to learn how to prepare your car for a day on the track.

How to Prepare Your Car for the Track

Click Here to Begin

Taking your car to the track is an absolute pleasure. However, every time you do so, you put it through a lot of stress. In order to have a safe and fun track day, there are a few things you should do to prepare your car. Always remember that you go through your components quicker when you push your car to its limit on the track, which means you burn your engine oil faster, go through your tires quicker, and even destroying your brake pads a lot sooner. To have the safest and most fun experience at the track, you have to do some preparation and inspections so you don’t have any surprises there. Read on to learn how to prepare your car for a day on the track.

Tires

Having good tires is an important recipe for a good day on the track. Most enthusiasts take their tires off after track and install their road tires; however, some drivers choose to use performance road tires on the track. So if your track tires are sitting in the garage, make sure to pack them or install them before going to the track. If you choose to use the tires that are already on your car, make sure to inspect them to ensure they can withstand the heat, speed, and friction you are about to put them through. The minimum legal thickness for tires is 2/32” deep; however, track use is a bit more extreme than road use, so you may want to have deeper thread than 2/32 inches. The last thing you want is to have a blown tire while you’re racing. Also check the tire pressure on your tires to ensure they are as recommended. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your specific cars on the placard located in the driver’s doorjamb.

Fluid Check

As we’ve mentioned above, you will put your car through a lot of stress, so it’s important that all your fluids are in great shape. Always start by checking the engine oil on your car. If you race your car often, then you should be replacing the engine oil every 3,000 miles, and not 5,000 miles like the regular daily drivers. If the fluid is low, make sure to top it off. Low engine fluid doesn’t necessary mean you have a leak; racecars tend to burn engine oil much faster than regular cars.

Check your coolant level. The most important thing on a hot track day is to keep your engine cool. Make sure your coolant is bright green colored and is full. It is not a bad idea to take some coolant with you to the track in case you need extra.

Check the brake fluid. The brake fluid is crucially important, especially when you want to stop, which happens often. If the fluid is too dark, too thick, or too low, then you need to replace it or top it off. If you race your car often, you should be replacing the brake fluid every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Nothing takes more beatings than a racecar’s transmission. The transmission is a source of a lot of the fun you have on the track, especially when you push your RPM to the highest point possible before kicking it into the next gear. With such fun your transmission starts burning the fluid more. The transmission’s fluid is critical to the health of its internal components, as it keeps all the gears lubricated. Some vehicles are equipped with a transmission dipstick, which is located on the right side of the engine. If yours isn’t equipped with one, then locate the fill plug on the transmission’s pan, on the bottom of the car. Remove the fill plug and use your finger to feel the fluid, it should be right there. If the fluid is dark brown, then it’s time to replace it.

Check Parts

Now comes a general check-up that you should do before finally going into the track. First, check the brake pads to ensure it has enough thickness to it. The minimum legal thickness for brake pads is one millimeter; however, on the track, you don’t want to be too close to the minimum, because you will need as much brakes as you can get.

Check the suspension parts of your car. Make sure your shocks are in good shape. If you see any oil leaks going down your shocks, it means they need replacement. The last thing you want is a bouncy shock as you’re taking a hard corner. Check the coil springs for any cracks or rust spots. Having solid suspension system plays a huge role in your safety.

Use a flashlight to check for any leaks. If you have a tiny small leak, it could expand when you put your engine through the ringer. So take a minute to check the bottom of your engine, around the oil pan, the bottom of your transmission, around the transmission pan, under your radiator, and by your brake calipers to check for any brake leaks at the brake line connections.

Eliminate Distractions

Finally, remove anything that you don’t need from your car. If you like to have a big flower dangling from your rearview mirror when you drive to work, you definitely don’t want it dangling around when you’re racing. Anything just floating around the car could be a huge distraction when you’re taking hard turns.

Remove any unnecessary weight in your car. Believe it or not any little weight makes a tremendous difference, especially when you’re drag racing. So keep the grocery shopping till after the track, and not before.

Write a list for yourself or even print this guide out to remind yourself of the important steps and preparations you need to take before going to the track. Not forgetting anything and not having any mechanical or safety issues on the track can make the track much more fun.

Pro Tip

Take extra fluid with you, especially coolant and engine oil, as racecars tend to burn those faster.

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