Preparing to Autocross – Tech Inspection

Autocross season is upon us and like many of you, I can’t wait to get out there! As we prepare for the new season I wanted to refresh everyone on some requirements, provide tips and recommendations, and inform you of some important changes.

As a participant in any Autocross event, you’ll need to present a valid driver’s license at check-in.

All helmets must be Snell and DOT rated at 2005 and above. M (motorcycle) and SA (special application) helmets are acceptable. Full-face helmets are recommended, with the visor down or removed. Remember that “flip-open” convertible helmets are not permitted. A limited number of helmets are available for rental the day of an event on a first come, first serve basis for $10.

Check-In. Get your car into grid and ready for tech inspections ASAP.
Once you’ve checked in, move your car into grid as soon as possible. Open the hood and remove all loose items from the car. This includes garage door openers, loose items in the trunk, coffee mugs, etc. Only the driver floor mat needs to be removed. Safety is always a priority at every event and loose items can become a danger when driving at high speeds around the course.

As a tip, having a place to keep your belongings makes the process move smoothly. Personally, I bring along a large plastic tub with a lid where I store my floor mats, loose items, additional vehicle fluids, etc. It keeps everything in a clean and easy to find place. It also protects them in the event that it rains.

The Tech Team and I will inspect every vehicle before an event begins. If your vehicle has passed inspection, you’ll receive a tech approval sticker on your windshield (at the top on the driver’s side), and your hood will be closed to visually indicate that inspection has been completed. We’ll often place items that should have been removed on the driver seat or outside the driver door. Please remove these items and store them someplace safe.

Please be advised that unless you’ve reached out to me directly about being late, your car MUST be in grid and ready for inspection before the drivers’ meeting. This means before you walk the course or do anything else. If it is not and we have to inspect it after the drivers’ meeting, you will forfeit one(1) of your morning practice runs.

Here are things we look for during our tech inspection:

Outside the car/under the hood:

  • Are lug nuts tightened?
  • Is there play in the wheel bearings?
  • Are tires in good condition and not corded? (driving on snow tires is not permitted)
  • Is the battery secured and safe? (use a proper harness, bungee cords are not acceptable)
  • Are class/number designations affixed correctly?
  • Are there visible leaks?
  • Are there two springs in the throttle linkage for carbureted cars? (An SCCA regulation)
  • Is the brake fluid reservoir at minimum levels?
  • Are all loose items secured/removed?

Inside the car and trunk:

  • Are seatbelts/harnesses secure?
  • Are any cameras secure?
  • Are the floor mats removed? (please remove both front and rear floor mats)
  • Have loose items been removed? (garage door openers, change, items in door pockets, floor jacks, etc.)
  • Is the helmet rated Snell and DOT 2005 or newer? (See above)
  • Does pressing the gas pedal give positive return?
  • Do the brakes pump up?

Please be mindful of these items as you prepare the night before an event. If your vehicle does not pass inspection, it won’t be allowed on the course. The Tech Team is there to help ensure a safe event, so please do your part to help the event run smoothly and efficiently.

Refer to the Autocross section of the chapter website for more information, or feel free to contact any member of the Autocross team with questions. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing everyone out this next season. See you soon!

– Fox Chung, Chief of Tech

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