How to Roast Your Tires With a Manual Transmission

If you’ve always wondered how a three-pedal burnout works, let this video be your guide.

byKyle Cheromcha| UPDATED Mar 27, 2017 4:56 PM
How to Roast Your Tires With a Manual Transmission

Burnouts. The most mysterious and alluring of a car enthusiast's many strange rituals. Why do we do them? They look cool. What goes through someone's mind when each foot lands on a different pedal? This will look cool. And what happens when the car has a clutch and you can't just mash on the brake and the gas at the same time? Uh oh, I hope this looks cool. If that last question sounds like one you've asked before, take a look at the newest video from Engineering Explained to get a sense of how a burnout goes down with a manual transmission.

Of course, the humble burnout does have a legitimate reason to exist in the first place—its roots can be traced back to the world of drag racing as a quick pre-race method of raising the temperature of the tires to soften them and provide more grip. It's all about managing the throttle and brake pressure levels simultaneously to get the rear wheels spinning while keeping the car as close to stationary as possible, and with an automatic transmission it's a pretty basic trick.

In a car with a manual transmission, like Jason Fenske's internet-famous Honda S2000, it's a little more hands-on. Basically, you have to put it in first gear, keep the clutch depressed while you build up to the right RPM (this varies by car), then dump the clutch and stand on the brake to start the burnout dance. If your RPMS aren't quite there yet, the rear wheels won't be able to break traction and you'll stall, and if you just fling it up the redline every time you'll go through clutches like candy.

Fenske gives us a shot of his footwork overlaid on footage of two short burnouts and it's clearly a tricky balance. He then passes the car off to a fellow YouTuber who unloads a 7,000 RPM burnout that Fenkse records with the Flir T1K infrared camera from the brake temperature episode. The results show that even if is more complicated with a stick shift, the tires don't know the difference.