Why Does Only One Tire Spin When I Burnout – Detail Guide

Why does only 1 tire spin

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Most drivers need to burnout for different purposes; mostly, it’s to get noticed and appreciated by the bystanders to flaunt their driving skills and flamboyant car models.

Sometimes a good burnout is needed when a car has to race, and it’s a game-changer as the process heat up the tires, making them soft and providing a better grip on the road to race. Whatever the reason, why does only one tire spin when I burnout?

Burnout is not an ordinary job; it demands a lot of expertise and professionalism to execute it safely and properly.

Burnout utilizes the technique of applying the emergency brakes along with a constant supply of acceleration that will put pressure on the rear wheel to spin.

At the same time, spinning the wheel releases a lot of smoke and get heat-up. The question arises that, at times, why does only one tire spin when I burnout?

Why does only 1 tire spin

There are many reasons for the lack of spinning of one tire, mainly because of the open differential. There are situations when you can’t avoid getting stuck in mud or sand or on uneven surfaces that bring tires at different levels and lead the car towards burnout; with only one tire spinning, the vehicle can’t get out of that situation.


Before getting to the problem’s solution, get acquainted with some important terminology related to these activities.

What is traction?

Traction in vehicles is the contact area between the tie and the road; the larger the contact area, the larger the traction, and a lesser contact area leads to lesser friction and lesser traction.

Traction plays a pivotal role in curves and uneven surfaces as it indicates which tire has less friction and requires more torque for an effective and smooth drive.

What is Differential?

This differential is the main cause of the spinning of one wheel during burnout.

The differential is the speed and power a tire can attain while taking a turn. In such situations, the tire towards the outer circumference of the curve needs lesser speed, while the one towards the inner side of the curve will exert more force and speed to take a tight turn without compromising the tire life.

One Tire Spins Because of the Open Differential

The open differential is the most common differential that is usually present in vehicles.

The open differential provides an equal amount of torque to both the tires, like it will provide 50% torque to one tire and the other 50 % to another.

Why does only 1 tire spin

But in situations where only one tire spins when you burnout, it’s because one tire is receiving the same torque but is facing more friction, like if stuck in the mud, while the other is also receiving the same torque but due to less friction is moving at a higher rate and getting a higher spin than the other.

Locked Differential  

The locked differential is when the torque is distributed equally, and even in turns, it will be moving both tires at the same speed, so one tire towards the outer side of the curve will slip and drag some distance as it requires more speed than the other. And it won’t be a good option for curves as its grip on the road is not good.

However, in situations like when you burnout, if one tire is facing more friction and the other is spinning free, a 100% torque will be provided to the one that is stuck and facing friction to make it rotate first, while the other tire will come to rest until the stuck one moves.

Limited Slip Differential (LSD)

The Limited Slip Differential ensures that the power delivered to the wheel with traction to enjoy a certain amount of power, while the slipping wheel gets more power until they both get the same control and start spinning at the same rate.

LSD will solve the problem of one tire spinning during burnout as it will spin both tires equally with the same power. LSD even gives better control while driving through curves as well.

Positraction Differential for Spinning Both Wheels while Burnout

Positraction is a differential similar to the limited spin differential, which has advanced technology for detecting and dividing the power and torque according to the wheels’ traction.

Positraction ensures that the one with less traction will get more torque to achieve the same spin or speed.

With this differential function installed in your car, you can have both tires spin while burning out your vehicle.


To make your car perform at its best, it would be a good idea to decide on the best differential for your vehicle.

Why does only one tire spin when I burnout? One tire spinning is because of an open differential that can be easily ruled out by having a limited-slip differential or getting a Positraction differential that will provide the required torque to both tires to spin according to their requirement.

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