What do I need to do to my car before my 1st event?

From Trackpedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Nothing really... at least not what you might think.

When just getting started, or even if its your 3rd, 4th, sometime 5th event... the main things to do to your car are simple, everyday maintenance items, with just a touch of some added attention relative to high-speed performance driving. Stack 11:42, 22 December 2006 (PST)

Don't worry about the Mods!!

A major theme you'll find prevalent throughout most of the track event community is that when just starting out, there is not much need in adding a bunch of go-fast goodies before you even get on track. In fact most can be counter productive if you don't know what you're doing with them. Having said that, here a few upgrades that will help ensure you have a good time and a complete weekend

  1. Brake Fluid - At the very minimum, make sure you have fresh brake fluid before heading out for any track event. Most brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it will absorb water. This happens over time, and the absorbtion of water into the brake fluid will lower the boiling point of the fluid. Most will recommend completly flushing the brake system with fresh (unopened) brake fluid every six months. When you open a can of brake fluid, write the date on the can. The water absorbtion starts when opened - don't use fluid older than six months for a track car. Some suggest replacing the current fluid with a synthetic fluid with a higher wet boiling temperature. Before you change the type of brake fluid, verify that the fluid is compatible with your brake system. Upgrading to a higher-boiling point fluid will help reduce the chance of you losing the performance of your braking system by introducing air into the lines from the fluid boiling. If you've ever experienced the 'pedal to the floor' pucker moment on a mountain road, thats why. Some of these include (but are by no means limited to)
  1. Brake Pads - Simliar to fluids, pads make a huge difference in whether or not you make it through the entire weekend without worrying about stopping. There are too many pads and differences to list here, but there are plenty of brake pad threads on just about any automotive forum on the internet, including this one. When starting out, remember, you don't want to have to wait for your brake pads to heat up, so better to start on an intermediate or dual purpose compound starting out (this also let you change the pads before the event, not AT the event). Also, be sure to follow the manufacturer's suggestions on bedding them in. Here are some of the more popular ones:

Other than those two... everything else you can leave as is for your first few events. However, you do need to make sure that that as-is is track-worthy:

  1. Make sure you have fresh fluids throughout
    • Oil
    • Brake fluid
    • Transmission Fluid
    • Coolant
  2. Make sure all the rubber parts are in good shape
    • Steering and suspension bushings
    • Motor and transmission mounts
    • Pedal pads (betcha didn't think of that one huh?)
    • Hoses - including fuel, vacuum, brake, clutch, etc
    • Tires - make sure there is no abnormal wear or especially any cords showing. Don't worry too much about tread... most would recommend not driving on either brand new tires, or tires you're ready to throw out.
    • Exhaust mounts (HA! Gotcha on that one too huh?)
  3. Make sure the hard parts are in good shape
    • Body panels - both the obvious sheet metal, but also any fender linings, undercarrige panels under the car that could conceivable come off
    • Hard lines for fuel
  4. Make sure the interior is cleaned out
    • There's nothing worse than going into that first deep braking zone and having all your trash and coins go flying into the floorboard under your feet.
    • Pull up the floormats - some of us know 1st hand the kind of problems floormats can cause. Even if you don't see how, err on the side of safety and pull them out.
    • Same goes for trunk areas - there aren't many more disconcerting sounds than something rolling around in your trunk or in the floorboard as you're going through the climbing esses at VIR
  5. Make sure the nut behind the wheel is on good and tight!
    • Well, yeah, that nut... but also the one driving the car. Don't go out partying the night before a big weekend... some even say abstain from alcohol for a whole week leading up to an event, gets all the toxins out. You want to be well nourished and above all well hydrated. Even during the cooler months, you'll be exerting a lot of energy. Your brain needs to be in top shape, so get lots of rest. You'll be doing a LOT of concentration out there. Absorbing tons of new and different information, using senses you may not have known were there!! (There really IS something to that whole seat of the pants thing.)