How to Build a Drift Car

Wrench Tool I get asked often “How to build a drift car?” Here is a short overview on how to make your car drift ready.

Since most of the cars you guys will be tuning have higher miles, they need a little love. The first thing I would suggest is making sure the car is in good running condition. Make sure all the belts are good, check all the fluids, and change the oil. If the air filter is dirty replace it.

Next, check the brakes. Make sure brake pads have life left and the rotors are not too worn. Since you will be using the e-brake to initiate drifts and to correct drift angle once the car is sliding sideways, you need to make sure the rear brake pads are in good condition. Otherwise, you will have a hard time getting the rear wheels to lock up when you pull the e-brake. If they are worn out go to Napa, Auto Zone, or Oreilly’s and buy the brake parts you need - most of these auto parts stores have lifetime replacement policies.

So now your car is running like new. If you have the money buy a set of coilover struts, if not, get a set of springs. You can also get strut bars on eBay for cheap. Now your suspension is tighter. I would get used to this before doing any more suspension modifications.

Now if this is your second car, or you don’t do much street driving, I’d strip out everything you can except the driver’s seat! Get a heat gun and a putty knife and remove all the sound deadening material - like 50+ pounds on a S13 Silvia.

Next thing I would suggest is getting a bucket seat. You can get a decent one for under $200 plus the mounts and everything else for about $70. You don’t need harnesses right away, but I’d recommend them. This will help keep you planted in the turns while drifting instead of fighting to hold on.

The most essential modification for any drift car is going to be a Limited Slip Differential, or LSD. These are expensive but sometimes you can find used ones. If it’s used, get it rebuilt! A cheap alternative to buying a LSD, popular with the drifting community, is welding the spider gears together in the factory differential and using the stock axels.

Now your car is ready to drift! Spend the rest of the money on tires because you’re going to need them! A good place to get cheap tires for drifting is a used tire shop.

Of course there is any number of additional modifications you could make to increase the performance of your drift car but this overview is meant as an informative starting point for drivers interested in drifting.

Good Cars for a Budget Drift Car Project:

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