Tech Inspection

Regardless of whether the event organizer conducts a tech inspection, the instructor should always inspect the car they are getting in prior to going on track. This essay covers items I check and what I am looking for.

Roll Bar / Cage Padding

If the car is equipped with a roll bar, I ensure that any bars that my helmet can come into contact with are padded. A car with factory 3 point seat belts will need more padding than a car with race 5 or 6 point belts.

I usually do not require bottom bars that legs can come into contact to be padded, however I do point this out and strongly recommend the driver pads them.

Some drivers object to adding padding at the event. I absolutely require padding for possible helmet contact areas on my side of the car. If the driver does not want to pad their side, that is their call.

Seat Belts

Factory 3 point seat belts must have good tension and must stay locked. A common issue with Miatas is the factory belts get caught on the roll bar and may not tension all the way; this is usually not acceptable.

A 4 point harness must have anti-submarine provision in order for me to get in the car. Some do and some don't. In any event I will recommend the driver install a 5 or 6 point harness with the anti-submarine strap.

A 5 or 6 point harness must have the belts wrapped around the adjusters correctly. I usually repair this on the spot for lap and shoulder belts; sub belt is generally not easily accessible for this repair.


The seat must have a functioning headrest. Most do but some vintage cars don't have acceptable headrests.

The seat must not move while I am in the car, though some play is acceptable in sliders.

Brake Pads And Rotors

Next I look at brake pads and rotors. Brake pads should have a good amount of material left; rotors should not show any signs of cracking.


Lastly I inspect the tires to know how much grip to expect from the car. I look for signs of damage or unusual wear on the tires, which is very rare.