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Roadhacker: 10 Driving Tricks Any Self-Respecting Man Must Know

December 9, 2013

Have you spent your life wondering how to impress friends and females alike with your abounding manliness? Do you aspire to godlike worship? The Car Loan Warehouse aren’t just car finance experts, but car control experts too. Contained herein you’ll find driving tricks guaranteed to astound even the most hard-to-impress passengers and onlookers. These are quick and easy tips for instant payoff, so you can look like a legend when you demonstrate your new driving skills to your mates and whoever else is willing to watch.

Disclaimer: the Car Loan Warehouse will not be responsible for any damage to your car/clutch/transmission/tires/engine caused as a result of performing these tricks – these are just between you and us.


Things to try at home:

#1 Doughnuts

Make sure you’re driving a rear-wheel drive car, as you’ll need to be able to put the power down on the back wheels to get them spinning, and keep them spinning during the entire doughnut.

  1. Spin the wheels – it’s easier on the car to have a rolling start. Approach at low speed, first gear – pop the clutch out all the way and throw down some steering lock all the way to one side or the other.
  2. High revs – keep the revs high, or even foot to the floor if you have a limiter fitted. This will keep the wheels spinning as you complete the doughnut.
  3. If you plan to drive out of the spin, apply some counter-steer to stop it oversteering out, dab the clutch in to slow the wheelspin and gently cruise out.
  4. Or, alternatively, apply the brake to bring your doughnut to a stop and check out the damage to your tires!

#2 Shift Like a Racing Driver

Not really a driving manoeuvre, but certainly a different way to do things, there are a variety of shifts out there to be tried and tested, including clutchless shifting, speed shifting, power shifting and double clutching. Do not try any of these while attached to transmission or clutch – you’ll destroy them unless, for some reason, your family sedan has been fitted with racing parts.

–       Clutchless shift – Move the gear into neutral, let the revs drop to where they’d be in the lower gear and then slide it into gear as carefully as you can.

–       Speed shifting – Use the clutch, but don’t let the revs drop at all, and allow the engine to pull your transmission up to speed. This WILL break your clutch.

–       Power shifting – This is exactly the same as speed shifting, except that you stay full on the gas to accelerate the engine (revs) during the gear change, forcing the engine to, again, pull the transmission up to speed.

Double clutching – The best/safest way to shift. Shift into neutral to let out the clutch, put it back in and shift to the next gear. This spins the inside of the transmission up to speed, separate to the wheels, and puts less strain on the engine while saving power. This is better and more efficient than how you usually change gears.

#3 Left-Foot-Brake/Heel-to-Toe

If you want to drive like a real racing driver, hitting the apex of the turn at speed is a huge challenge, whilst accelerating is a very hard skill to master. This technique is for our readers with front wheel drive vehicles, and will help when it comes to dealing with that understeer. Left-foot-braking is exactly what it says on the tin – braking with the other foot – whereas heel-to-toeing is the same technique using your heal and toe, if you need to use the clutch as you corner.

  1. Approach a corner at speed (30-40 mph to practise) and as you turn in, you’ll feel the front wheels refusing to turn (understeer).
  2. As you turn, give the brake a little push – you’ll feel the force of the brake throwing your weight forward. It is this transfer of weight to the front that creates the grip, and the lack of weight over the rear causing it to kick out.
  3. Apply more throttle if the car begins to oversteer due to the increased grip over the front wheels.
  4. As you get more confident with this manoeuvre, you can manipulate the amount of oversteer or understeer by going back and forth between brake and throttle through the turn to get you pointing the direction you want to go.
  5. Power out of the turn by increasing throttle when you are exiting the turn – this increase in speed will help you stay straight, but be careful as too much will send you into a spin.

#4 Powerslide

If you’ve given LFB or heel-toeing a go, you’ll already have performed a few unwanted powerslides when you misjudged it and started sliding – now is your chance to become an expert in the field. Not so practical, but looks absolutely awesome!

  1. Approach the turn at speed and brake hard to shift the weight to the front of the car (the same principle as left-foot-braking shifts the grip to the front tires).
  2. As soon as you’ve shifted the weight to the front, turn hard and pull on the handbrake until the rear wheels should lock and start to slide out (if you have a FWD car you can use LFB to accelerate through the powerslide).
  3. When the car starts to slide, release the handbrake and countersteer through the turn.
  4. If you’re getting good at this, try powering out just as the car straightens up – this throwdown of power is sure to cause the car to lose grip, so be prepared to make on-the-fly steering adjustments when it goes wrong.

#5 J-Turn

This is the one where you’re reversing away from the bad guy and quickly spin the car around and carry on driving in one single move. The J-turn is a move overused in nearly every Hollywood car movie made – and you know why? Because it’s the pinnacle of the cool triangle (the other two corners being sound system and spoilers, obviously).

Do not use this move to quickly exit parking spaces. Even though it would accumulate some serious points with your friends, it will wreck your car and probably a few others’ too, so practise in a large open place. There are a couple of ways to do a J-turn, but we’re going to cover the one which works with any car, and can be done without locking either set of wheels.

  1. Start by reversing at about 25mph, keeping the car going straight. Take your foot off the power so that the weight is transferred to the rear wheels.
  2. Half a second later (when the car wants to pivot on the back wheels), throw the wheel around almost a full turn one way or the other.
  3. As the car is almost sideways, double clutch into first gear – and, while the front is spinning, start to pull the wheel back around to face the direction you’re wanting to exit.
  4. If you performed it correctly, the front of the car should slide round gracefully and you’ll already be in first to accelerate out of the turn when your car is facing forward.

#6 Handbrake Turn

If you’ve ever hung around a supermarket cat park at night, you’ll have seen your fair share of boy racers skidding around, but you’re here to learn how to join them – so grab a cone (lamp posts really hurt when they fall on you) and let’s get down to it…

  1. Start towards your corner cone in first gear and reach your hand across the wheel in the opposite direction you’re turning.
  2. As you approach your cone, pull the wheel hard in the direction you want to turn, simultaneously dipping the clutch and pulling the handbrake (hold that button).
  3. As the back end spins around the corner (with that hand still holding the handbrake in place), pull the wheel back around so that the tires point straight.
  4. Release the handbrake as your car starts to lose momentum, holding that button until it’s off or you’ll activate the ratchet mechanism and your wheels will fully lock.
  5. Release the clutch and apply throttle as you exit to pull out of the turn and straighten out – if the back end kicks out, you’ll need to countersteer to correct this.

#7 Bootleg Turn

The bootleg turn – named after the bootleggers who pioneered the turn, escaping the clutches of the law – is basically just a forward facing J-turn, utilising the handbrake to quickly spin you around onto the other lane, facing the opposite way for a quick getaway. This can be especially useful if you come across a roadblock in your daily commute.

  1. Accelerate to about 60mph on your empty road and pick a spot to perform your bootleg turn.
  2. Pull the handbrake and turn in the direction of the oncoming lane, releasing the button so that the brakes lock.
  3. Almost as soon as you’ve pulled the handbrake on – as soon as the brakes lock – release the handbrake, keeping the wheel turned in the direction you’re turning.
  4. Once the car is facing the opposite direction (hopefully not on the roof or in the gutter), straighten out the wheel and apply the accelerator to make your clean getaway.

#8 Scandinavian Flick

This cornering move is very much like a powerslide, except that you turn the opposite way (whaaaaat?!) to the way you’re going and then turn hard into the turn to throw the back end out around the bend without slowing the car – just like a real rally driver would do around a hairpin turn. This move is best for dirt/gravel roads (where you won’t have much traction) to get the rear out using the front wheels.

  1. Approach the corner, aiming your turn a bit wider than the racing line – you’ll need this extra space to perform the flick, so get your braking out of the way before the turn.
  2. Turn briefly to the outside of the turn – feathering the brake lightly if needed – to reduce understeer. This should be over very quickly, as we don’t want to travel in that direction, just transfer the weight to the inside wheels.
  3. Almost immediately, turn sharply into the corner – this quick weight transfer to the outside should cause the rear to lose grip and slide out, allowing you to corner much more quickly and tightly than you should be able to in such a turn.
  4. As you pass the apex, reduce the amount of steering lock and slowly add throttle to accelerate smoothly out of the corner.

#9 Skiing

These last two are more like honourable mentions. We do not recommend anyone try these as they’re only for professionals. Skiing is the act of cruising on two wheels – left or right side – and balancing the car to drive along, balanced on just the two wheels. This is often performed using a ramp to lift the sides of the car into the move, but a 4×4 with a high centre of gravity can do this by simply turning sharply at speed and countering it before the vehicle rolls/flips.

#10 Wheelie

Possibly the coolest and most difficult of our driving tricks is the wheelie. To perform this trick, you’d require a car with so much torque that simply throwing down enough power from a standstill causes the whole car to pivot on the back wheels as it starts moving, creating a wheelie until it ceases to accelerate and the front wheels have the chance to fall back to the ground – leaving you feeling like Vin Diesel circa the Fast and the Furious.

Good luck in your quest for greatness – and drive safe. Check out Roadhacker part 2 here.

If you did happen to write off your dad’s Jag trying to ski on two wheels (we said those last two were only for pros!), maybe you should send him to our Jaguar finance page since the insurance won’t pay out for your crazy road hacking antics!

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.