How To Do a Burnout in a Mustang

Mach 1 doing a burnout at the Roush Burnout contest #am2014

Whether you wish to engage in an all-out, tire-shredding fiesta or a more civilized tire warming bonanza, here are some tips and tricks for an impressive burnout. So… you want to create a smoke show, but not the kind your neighbor’s 1993 Chevrolet diesel makes as it clacks to life every morning. We’re after something more impressive, with greater meaning; the epitome of man and Mustang – a ground shaking, sight obscuring burnout.

It’s your turn at the tree and you want to impress all the fans, while also needing to warm up those massive Mickey Thompson tires. A track worker sprays down the water box and motions you forward. You creep in, prepared to give everyone the burnout of the century. You drop the hammer, the tires chirp and all of a sudden you are 50 feet past the staging line. The fans are tearing up, but not from the smoke. What happened?

How to do Burnouts in a Manual Mustang7

  1. Have a powerful car. A Mustang is more than adequate.
  2. Turn off traction control (if equipped)
  3. Clutch disengaged, rev the engine to 4000-5000 RPM.
  4. If you are able, lightly press the brake pedal via the heal-toe method as the engine revs.
  5. Drop the clutch.
  6. The rear tires should now be spinning.
  7. To prevent the car from moving forward, keep (or immediately apply) pressure on the brake pedal with your left foot (which is no longer on the clutch). The engine is powerful enough to overcome the rear brakes. However, it is unnecessary to pin the brakes. Light to moderate pressure should be sufficient. Some cars may require no braking – the tires are happy to spin all day!
  8. Modulate the throttle as necessary to maintain the burnout and avoid bouncing off the rev limiter.

That’s it, 8 easy steps to a well choreographed burnout!

How to do Burnouts in a Automatic MustangBlack 2015 Mustang GT Burnout

  1. Have powerful car. A Mustang is more than adequate.
  2. Turn off traction control (if equipped).
  3. With your left foot, hold the car with the brake.
  4. With your right foot, floor the throttle.
  5. The car may move a few feet, keep brake pressure applied to prevent the car from moving further but not enough to slow down the spinning tires.
  6. Modulate the throttle as necessary to keep the wheels churning.

Are Burnouts Burning out My Brakes

The key step to any smoky burnout is to make sure the car is not moving forward. As listed, this is done by lightly holding the brakes. The pressure on the front brakes should prevent the car from moving, and the engine has enough power to overcome the same pressure that is applied to the rear brakes. However, we’re essentially driving over the brakes which will build up quite a bit of heat and accelerate brake wear. For the occasional burnout, this isn’t a big deal. Frequent flyers, on the other hand, will want to invest in a line lock.

A line lock kit, when engaged, is a device that will lock only one set of brakes. In this instance, since the Mustang is a rear-wheel drive car, the line lock is installed such that when active, it will hold the front brakes independently, leaving the rear brakes open and the tire spinning freely. Now you can channel your inner John Force and smoke out the stands at your next drag night!


  1. 14 mustang The rpms only go up to 2,000 and traction is off. Tires wont spin. I’ve head that you take your rev limiter off which im not sure the best way to do and im not sure if its illegal or not. Please help.


    1. Hey Chris,

      If the RPMS are only going up to 2,000 you will need to adjust your rev limiter. Adjusting your rev limiter is legal and will allow you to get those tires spinning.


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