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What tires make the most smoke?

When performing burnouts or drifting, the goal is often to produce as much tire smoke as possible. This dramatic effect comes from deliberately spinning the rear tires at high speeds, causing the rubber to overheat and decompose into smoke. But not all tires are equally capable of generating thick, long-lasting smoke clouds. Certain tire types and compounds are better suited for smoke production than others.

Tire Design Factors That Affect Smoke

Several key tire design characteristics determine how much smoke a tire can generate:

  • Tread compound – The actual rubber formulation used in the tire tread greatly affects smoke output. Softer compounds with more natural rubber content tend to produce more smoke.
  • Tread depth – Deeper tread depths provide more rubber to be consumed for smoke generation before the tire carcass is exposed.
  • Tread pattern – Luggy, open tread patterns allow more airflow to reach the spinning tread surface, heating and decomposing more rubber.
  • Reinforcement design – Stiffer sidewalls and belt packages resist deforming as the tread distorts, keeping more rubber in contact with the road surface.
  • Aspect ratio – Lower aspect ratio tires have shorter, stiffer sidewalls favorable for burnouts.
  • Rim width – Wider rims position more tread flush to the road for increased smoke-producing contact patch.

Keeping these criteria in mind, let’s look at some specific tire models known for producing extreme smoke during burnout competitions and drifting events.

High Smoke Street/Sport Tires

While not designed specifically for smoke generation, these conventional street and sport tires can produce impressive smoke clouds when abused:

  • BFGoodrich G-Force T/A Drag Radial – Wide and sticky drag radial designed for traction at the strip.
  • Toyo Proxes T1R – Maximum grip summer tire with an extra soft compound.
  • Nitto NT555 G2 – Ultra high performance summer tire with a soft triple polymer tread.
  • Falken Azenis RT615K+ – Drift tire with reinforced sidewalls and a sticky compound.

These tires are affordable, widely available, and street legal. But their tradeoff is shorter life spans when used repeatedly for burnouts and drifting.

Specialized Smoke Tires

For dedicated smoke production, specialized tire models are available. These have design optimizations specifically for burnouts and drifting:

  • M&H Racemaster – Front runners with extra soft rubber compounds and luggy treads.
  • Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S – Made for the drag strip with a molded-in slick strip for spinning.
  • Nitto NT05R – Reinforced drift tire with a race compound tread.
  • Hoosier Quick Time Pro D.O.T. – Legal for street use but optimized for smoke shows.

These tires are the go-to choices for smoke enthusiasts. But they come at a premium cost and wear out quickly with regular abuse.

Other Tire Options

Beyond normal tire models, there are a few other options that can enable extreme smoke generation:

  • Slicks – Tires without tread patterns maximize contact for maximum smoke.
  • Wrinkle wall slicks – These add extra sidewall flex for a wider tire footprint.
  • Wheel spacers – Increasing track width enhances smoke potential.
  • Lower pressures – Dropping air pressure enlarges the tire’s contact patch.

While not street legal, slicks, wheel spacers, and low pressures can help dedicated drift and burnout cars churn out smoke. But tires may overheat and fail quickly under these conditions.

Comparing Top Smoke Tire Models

To highlight differences between normal and specialized smoke tires, here is a comparison table:

Tire Model Type Intended Use Smoke Rating
BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KD Summer UHP Performance street driving 7/10
Nitto NT05R Reinforced drift tire Drifting events 9/10
M&H Racemaster Drag slick Burnout competitions 10/10
Hoosier Quick Time Pro DOT-approved slick Street and strip use 9/10

As shown, the specialized smoke tires rate higher for smoke production thanks to their purpose-built designs. The M&H Racemaster is the ultimate smoke tire, engineered specifically for burnouts.

Installation Considerations

Putting smoke-optimized tires on your vehicle calls for some special preparations:

  • Have sufficient power and rear wheel traction to spin tires at high speeds.
  • Upgrade to wider wheels if needed to properly fit wider smoke tires.
  • Adjust alignment and suspension settings for best traction off the line.
  • Reinforce driveline components to handle the abuse of smoking tires.
  • Select tires sized appropriately for the vehicle weight and power output.

Proper smoke tire sizing, wheel widths, alignment settings, drivetrain upgrades, and chassis reinforcements help ensure full smoke potential and prevent mechanical damage.

Operating Precautions

When intentionally spinning tires at speed to generate smoke, follow these precautions:

  • Begin burnouts at low speeds to gradually heat tires.
  • Monitor temperatures to avoid excessively overheating tires.
  • Allow tires to cool completely between burnouts to maximize smoke.
  • Increase burnout durations gradually as tires warm up.
  • Avoid burning through to tire cords/belts by monitoring smoke color.
  • Have fire extinguishers nearby when performing burnouts.
  • Wear protective clothing in case of tire failure.

Exercising caution helps get the most smoke production from tires while reducing the chances of catastrophic tire failure or fire.

Legalities of Smoke Shows

While impressive, intentionally burning out tires on public roads is illegal in many places. Know the laws in your area, and only perform smoke generation in controlled environments like these:

  • Closed courses and tracks
  • Organized, legal burnout competitions
  • Private property with the owner’s consent
  • Driveway or empty parking lots with sufficient space and visibility

Limiting burnouts and drifting to legal, safe conditions reduces risks to yourself and others. Work with law enforcement to find acceptable venues for your smoke show antics.


With the right tires, vehicle setup, precautions and locations, incredible smoke screen burnouts are possible. Specialized smoke tires built specifically for drag racing and drifting produce the most dramatic, long-lasting smoke compared to normal street and sport tires. But any tire can be turned into a smoke machine given sufficient power, wheel traction and conditions safe for extreme slip angles. Just be responsible when pursuing tire-shredding smoke shows.