How to properly tech a used car for the track

Sponsored by
Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Volkswagen Golf GTI project car
Feb 13, 2024 | Volkswagen, track day, Volkswagen Golf GTI

We zeroed in on our ideal Volkswagen Golf GTI–a 2017 Sport with a DSG transmission–and successfully purchased one from Carvana. Time for the race track, right?

Not so fast. Before we take any used car on track, we give it a thorough tech inspection.

The reality is this: Even in a fairly modern, fairly safe, fairly slow car like this …

This content is available for GRM+ members and Grassroots Motorsports magazine subscribers only.

You can read it for free in 115 days or subscribe to GRM+ to read right now.

Subscribe now

Already a member?

Login to read

Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
More like this
Comments
GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
12/5/22 9:07 p.m.

I had never thought about auto-locking doors being a problem on track. Even my IROC's alarm does that even though I swapped over to a manual. When it's in neutral the car thinks it's in park so when I select a gear they lock shorty thereafter. Hmm

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
12/5/22 9:25 p.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Yeah, it's a super common feature and I'm surprised people don't talk about it more. Theoretically your window is open for HPDE so a locked door wouldn't be the end of the world, but why make it harder for workers to reach you? It's usually easy to turn off in the settings menu.

And yes, in theory most modern cars will unlock if a crash is detected, but I'd rather not rely on them to detect the crash and have 12v power to unlock doors. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/6/22 1:36 p.m.

I'd add that most/all of this can apply to a car primarily used for street, too.

Just bought a new/used car? Can you easily remove the wheels, or are they rusted in place? I'd rather find out in the garage than on the side of the highway. 

Good info here. 

audiguy
audiguy New Reader
2/15/23 3:48 p.m.

Looking forward to this project car build.  Will you corner scale the car in an upcoming segment?  

cyow5
cyow5 Reader
2/13/24 10:55 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

I'd add that most/all of this can apply to a car primarily used for street, too.

Just bought a new/used car? Can you easily remove the wheels, or are they rusted in place? I'd rather find out in the garage than on the side of the highway. 

Good info here. 

Since they bumped the article, I figured I'd echo this comment. A few years ago I had bought a JCW Clubman, and it had one of those bazillion point dealer inspections. In Virginia, where I lived, I had to pass state inspections to register it, and that's when they caught a low brake pad. Turns out the dealer only checked the pads that were visible from the outside with the wheels on and missed the stuck caliper. It also taught me to never rely on brake pad wear sensors when they are only on one pad on two corners. There are still 6 pads that can wear prematurely and need to be checked, so two sensors is nearly useless. 

A little brake grease and the caliper never seized again, and I had nice even brake pad wear for the rest of my ownership. I just don't assume the pads wear evenly any more...

 

GCrites
GCrites Dork
2/13/24 8:16 p.m.

Rusty rotors made 1 pad wear much faster than the others on my Civic. It was gone while the other pads on the same axle still had 7mm.

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/13/24 8:50 p.m.

Why did you replace the wheel bolts instead of just wire wheeling them?

Growl_R
Growl_R New Reader
2/13/24 9:24 p.m.

The higher the dry boiling point of brake fluid, the better. 

The higher the WET boiling point, the BEST! 

Motul RBF600 FTW!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
2/13/24 9:43 p.m.

In reply to BA5 :

I wire-wheeled one and discovered how much metal was missing, then replaced them. Seemed stupid to go on track with  missing threads when replacing them only cost a few bucks. 

theruleslawyer
theruleslawyer New Reader
2/13/24 11:09 p.m.
BA5 said:

Why did you replace the wheel bolts instead of just wire wheeling them?

Bolts/studs are a wear item and pretty cheap. You should be replacing them every year or two depending on your track schedule. If I'm buying a high mileage car, I might as well replace them so I know the service life. Same idea as fluids really.

You'll need to log in to post.

Sponsored by

GRM Ad Dept

Our Preferred Partners
8SdWFrnK3YnVqcOlKmOdiMwbVcbGBrrHwoypLR7M1q0xOZak2dWh65ThczupT1G3