How to Peel Out With an Automatic Transmission

by Joe Lebkuecher

Ah, the seductive squeal of tires breaking loose on pavement. To peel out with an automatic transmission for the first time is akin to a first kiss: sloppy, poorly executed, but never forgotten. Sadly, most new cars lack the horsepower to achieve the burnout, and it's all but impossible with an all-wheel drive; but with some finesse and the right vehicle, smoke and burnt rubber will ensue.

Step 1

Preload the transmission. Hold your foot firmly on the brake, place the gearshift in "Drive," and rev the engine to 1,500 to 2,000 rpm for about 15 seconds. This will prime the tranny for the torque release to come.

Step 2

Release pressure on the brake as you increase throttle. You will find a point where the tires begin to break traction while the front brakes still hold the vehicle back. This is the key point in peeling out, and will come easier with practice. You may continue to hold at this stage, keeping your vehicle relatively stationary as long as desired (or until you blow your tires).

Step 3

Continue to increase throttle as you completely release the brake. Be sure to maintain directional control, especially in a vehicle with excessive power or a light rear end (like a pickup truck).

Continue pouring on the power. You may be able to "chirp second" if conditions permit. This is your bonus peel out: you slightly break traction as the automatic transmission shifts up. This phenomenon is believed to attract members of the opposite sex without fail.

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