Tech is a part of every SCCA Solo event and to make your morning a little easier, I’ve put together my tips to make Tech easy.
There are two purposes for Tech; Safety & Identification.
The main reason for inspecting a vehicle is to make certain that it is ready for the demands of running a Solo event and that the driver, passenger, and other attendees are not in an danger of a failure. The secondary reason for tech is to check that the number and class are clearly identified on the vehicle.
Most regions have a Chief of Tech. This Chief is in charge of Tech and will generally have a few other volunteers to help during the event morning. The Chief is responsible for making sure that the vehicle and helmet meet the latest SCCA rules and guidelines. If the Chief has any concerns they will be discussed with the driver and the Chief Safety Stewart.
Some regions will have an annual Tech option. This is generally reserved for SCCA members and is either performed at the first event or a special Tech day. An annual tech inspection saves time throughout the season as the Tech’d vehicle and helmet will have a sticker affixed showing that they’ve been checked. Just because a car has gone through annual Tech does not mean that it won’t be exempt for being checked at events during the season. These vehicles will be randomly spot checked – so be prepared.
Tips To Make Tech Easier
1. If you are an SCCA member go through the annual Tech process. This will make your event mornings a little less stressful. Plus you’re helping the event staff make their mornings a little easier too.
2. Check your vehicle yourself or ask a friend to help. Do this at least a few weeks prior to the season starting and then follow my 6 Steps To Maintaining Your Solo/AutoX Car during the season.
What to check?
- Battery – Make sure the battery tie down / hold down is secure and that the terminals are tight.
- Fluid Leaks – Leaking fluids will fail your car. Fluids that leak from your vehicle pose a safety concern for other competitors and could lead to failure on the cause or worse yet, fire. If you spot leaks have a qualified mechanic repair them.
- Lug Nuts – Believe it or not I have seen a car or two arrive with missing lug nuts. It you swap wheels and tires for events make sure that you arrive to Tech with the wheels and tires you intend to run with. Torque those lug nuts too!
- Loose Steering & Suspension Components – Wheel bearings, tie rod ends, strut/shock mounts, and stabilizer bar components must all be tight. Any looseness is grounds for failing.
- Tire Condition – old or damaged tires are a sure disaster for running Solo. Make sure your tires are in good shape. They should not be older than six years and should not have any dry rot present.
- Throttle Cable – If your vehicle is equipped with a throttle cable, it must be free of any restrictions and must return to it’s original position when the pedal is released. Vehicles with electric throttle control must also have a pedal that returns to it’s original position.
- Brakes – Your brake fluid reservoir must be full of clean brake fluid. The pedal must have a solid feel and no lines should be leaking. No mechanical brake components should be broken or missing parts.
3. Inspect your helmet. First, make sure your helmet is not damaged or extremely worn. Second, make sure that it meets the current season’s requirements. Every year the SCCA publishes the Required Helmet Certification Decals document. Refer to it to make sure you are good to go.
4. Remove loose objects. Some people like to do this the night before an event. Go though your car and remove any loose objects from the passenger compartment and the trunk. Items like sunglasses, garage door openers, radar detectors will become projectiles while driving through the course. In the trunk or hatch area take time to remove any loose items and check the spare tire area to make sure that the tire and tools are secure. Obviously, some items need to remain in your car and those can be removed at the event and secured in a tote at your paddock spot. It’s also a good idea to remove your driver’s side floor mat. If it slides around it could interfere with your pedal operation.
5. Check the SCCA Solo Rule Book for your vehicle to confirm your class. If you are in a category, check any specific safety or vehicle requirements you may have for that category.
6. Have your class and car number clearly identified on both sides of your vehicle. If you will be a regular participant in Solo events consider investing in
a set of magnetic numbers. First timer? Contrasting painter’s tape or large numbers and letters printed out on paper will work too.
7. Present your vehicle and yourself ready to go. When you roll up to Tech make sure you have everything ready. If you change wheels and tires, have them mounted and the lug nuts torqued. Using a Go Pro? Have it mounted. Open your hood and trunk. Be ready to answer questions. The individual performing inspecting your car may have to ask questions about your car. Be polite and courteous.
Remember, the Tech process is not there to give you a hard time – it is intended to help make you and the event safe.