Apart from the tires, if I pull off quickly and I wheel spin, do I cause any damage to the internals of the car?

Obviously I don't mean reving it to 4k+ and then dumping the clutch, I mean speeding off from idle speed.

2003 Opel Agila 1.2

6 Answers 6


The short answer is probably not, but you are creating undue hardship on the internals that will likely lead them to fail earlier than they would otherwise.

When you drive your car, you are putting wear and tear on basically everything. Driving your car harder (accelerating quickly, stopping abruptly) just adds to the wear you are putting on it. Even just flooring the accelerator from idle puts a lot of strain on everything from the engine to the transmission to the axles (and potentially a differential for RWD and AWD vehicles). Your car is built to handle a lot of pressure and doing this once in a while is not going to cause major damage, but parts will eventually wear out.

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    I agree with what you have here. Just one comment for you ... you do realize even front wheel drive vehicles have a differential? ;-) +1 for a good answer. Jul 27, 2015 at 18:47
  • Thanks! Is it still called a differential for front-wheel drive, front-engine vehicles? I was under the impression that the CV axle was designed to provide the same benefits of a differential. Jul 27, 2015 at 19:38
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    Completely different parts. The differential is located within the transaxle. The drive axles connect into the differential (through the transaxle housing). Constant Velocity (CV) joints are part of the drive axles. The CV joints provide a means for constant torque from the transmission through to the drive wheels, even when the drive wheels are turned. The differential located within the transaxle works just like any other differential, which means it allows the wheels to spin at different speeds without damage to the drive train. It is just bound up within the confines of the transaxle. Jul 27, 2015 at 20:46
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    Wheel hop can occur when spinning the wheels, which falls into your answer of normal wear and tear, as it's similar to driving down a washboard dirt road, but it can be severe enough to break suspension components. Mar 3, 2016 at 0:19
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    I destroyed an engine mount from wheel hop. Likely wasn't in the best condition in the first place.
    – rpmerf
    Mar 3, 2016 at 13:35

In theory, the harder you accelerate or decelerate(brake), the more you put stress on the different parts.

Most stressed parts when accelerating, in this order:

  1. Gearbox gears
  2. Crankshaft
  3. Fly bearings
  4. Piston rings etc etc.

Most stressed parts when braking:

  1. Forks and the rubber buffers
  2. Wheel hub
  3. Tires

Attempting to produce wheelspin may also result in a burnt-out clutch if the tyres have more grip than expected - your clutch will slip and burn instead.

  • Not all cars, especially cars these days, have clutches
    – Zaid
    Jul 28, 2015 at 7:23
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    Most cars have at least one clutch, the modern DSG gearbox that Volkswagen uses has two. Automatic cars have a torque converter which does the job of a clutch. This is typically even more expensive to replace than a clutch. Jul 28, 2015 at 8:11

If your wheels are spinning, then don't worry. From the engine and transmission's perspective there's no difference between the wheels spinning or turning normally. The problem comes in when the wheels don't spin and you feel a dull thud instead. That means you're shocking your transmission, which will damage it.

When tuners increase the performance of your car, they will always turn down or fool the traction control (if your car has it) so that the wheels spin easier. This is in an attempt to minimise the increased stress on the transmission.

BTW, your car has a Getrag transmission. Those are some pretty solid transmissions that can handle much more than they're rated for.

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    Good answer, but I disagree with 'always' in your second paragraph. Most tuners (including mine) do not mess with traction control systems(TCS), as most TCSs can be disabled at the press of a button. Some makes retain yaw control via active braking (looking at you, Mercedes), but there is usually some over-complicated procedure you can fumble through to disable it (though it usually kills ABS and ESC too). Furthermore, I wouldn't want anyone to mess with my TCS. On the rare occasion I turn my TCS on, you can bet your bacon I want it shutting down any and all wheel spin. Mar 3, 2016 at 15:55

The spinning actually puts relatively little stress on your drivetrain. The initial surge of power that breaks the wheels loose is the biggest shock to your drivetrain. Once you're spinning, it's easy to maintain and not very stressful.

Incidentally, wheel hop is the killer. During wheel hop, your wheels break and then regain traction repeatedly, which sends shocks down your drivetrain. This kills transmissions, rear ends, etc. Whatever is weakest.

All of the above comes with the caveat that every car is different and some cars will be a lot closer to their limits than others, even at stock power. And some parts of the drivetrain will be weaker than others. So one car might be fine with a thousand burnouts, another car might toast the clutch on the first burnout, another car might blow up the rear end while yet another might rip apart the transmission. Obviously, the stickier your tires, the stickier the road surface and the more power you are sending through the drivetrain, the more stress you will inflict on everything.


Yes you are putting more wear and tear on your car if you drive like a race car driver.

There is a reason granny's old garage kept car retains the most value. She drove it nice and so its has had an easy life.
Driving your car like your a cop on the other hand is like driving your car into the ground. There is a reason cops get new cars every 5 years. They don't know how to drive haha... They ruin their cars and need more maintenance than the average car

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    I realize you are probably being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but the reason cop cars need replaced more often is because there is more demand put on the cars (yes, they drive them like they stole them). The reason isn't because they are bad drivers, it's because we are bad drivers. They are just trying to keep up with our idiocy. Jul 27, 2015 at 20:49
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    We are all citizens and deserve the same and equal amount of respect no? Unless you are saying you better than me? Then good day to you sir. P.S. I have personally witnessed many wrecks that were literally caused by law enforcement cutting off cars on the freeway in Oklahoma. I once saw a cop cut through the median/ grass and literally fly in front of a group of cars before crashing on the side of the highway. He then fled the scene of his own wreck to try and catch up to a speeder. Leaving the cars piling up. I was so happy when they installed the fence down the middle of the freeway Jul 27, 2015 at 21:04
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    I was trying to be nice in saying most of what you have said is either opinion or conjecture. Please understand that the SE model is for fact, backed up by reference. If you have questions about how to write a good answer, please read (or reread) the Tour and the many links in the Help Center. Again, I'm not trying to be disagreeable with you, just trying to help you fit in with the SE model. If you like, you can always comment in The Pitstop. Jul 27, 2015 at 21:45
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    To demonstrate the point that I think @Paulster2 was trying to make, consider a rally or race car. These typically last a handful of events before needing a complete rebuild. If you watch most rally cars, they're serviced at the end of every stage and usually subject to a major overhaul each evening. Don't treat your road car like a race car and expect it to last is I think the point that is trying to be made. Jul 28, 2015 at 8:14

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