Race Car Maintenance: An Essential Checklist

Race cars require plenty of maintenance. Formula One cars, for example, are some of the fastest cars in the world – reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (mph), and accelerating to 60 mph in under two seconds. Such power and speed naturally puts the car under a fair amount of pressure, wear, and tear. Regular maintenance is therefore key to ensure the car continues to perform optimally and doesn’t fail on the track.

Inspect the chassis

The chassis – also known as the survival cell – is the main structure of the car and essentially features as a safety feature (the chassis takes the entire load and protects against crashes). If you’re currently on a weekly racing schedule, you should commit to chassis maintenance at least once a week. First, you’ll need to remove and clean the car’s torsion bars, before inspecting the chassis. You can then grease the torsion bars and put them back in place. You’ll then be ready to inspect the shocks – are they damaged? Shocks typically leak at the seals. Both the shock adjusters and torsion bars should also be put back on their initial baseline settings – you don’t want to leave them on the settings used during the car’s last race.

Maintain the frame

Keeping the race car’s frame in excellent condition should be a top priority for any racer. So, inspect all aspects of your frame (including, bumpers and nerf) bars for any damage that may have occurred (perhaps even inadvertently) on the track. Keep an eye out for common issues like damaged welds, cracks, and broken tubes. If you spot any damage, you’ll need to get it fixed. A professional mechanic has the skills and equipment needed to make any upgrades and repairs. For example, an industrial torque wrench can assess and tighten the torque of bolts, screws, and nuts as needed. A torque wrench is a highly-precise and reliable tool, however, it’s important to tighten to the correct torque for the car, which is no problem for a professional.

Change the oil

You’ll also need to regularly replace your car’s filter and change the oil – in fact, the oil should be changed after every race. Lighter oils are great for racing practice, while thicker oils are best used for the real thing. Keep in mind, this type of oil change differs from the oil changes performed on regular cars. With race cars, the oil filter actually needs to be cut open with a special tool to ensure the insides are free from any metal. The presence of metal indicates there’s a problem in need of fixing. You should also check the gasket is in good condition, and not leaking. Even a small leak can develop into a bigger problem, so it’s important to seal any leaks found.

Comprehensive race car maintenance is essential to ensuring safety and peak performance. By inspecting the chassis, maintaining the frame, and changing the oil, you can better keep your race car in optimal condition.

Featured Photo by Jenda Kubeš