Top 7 Things To Check Before Hitting The Dyno

The chassis dynamometer, or dyno for short, is a tool utilized to measure power from a vehicle. While some use this for bragging rights, this device is best reserved for tuning or testing new combinations in a safe and practical environment. Instead of inserting variables to produce a time-slip, one can simply strap their car on the dyno to see real-time results in a controlled setup.

This process is rather simple, but the billing is based around a scheduled session. This means when things go awry, it can become extremely stressful and expectedly costly. Nothing is more frustrating than getting mid-way through a dyno session and realizing you didn’t have enough fuel or forgot to change the spark plugs before arriving. To eliminate these common errors, here are some helpful hints that can make your dyno day roll a lot smoother.


Plenty In The Tank For The Dyno

This should be obvious knowledge, but make sure you have plenty of fuel in your tank before arriving. Vehicles on the dyno tend to burn through fuel at a quicker rate than seen on the street. While the difference between fuel consumption on a Mustang dyno or a Dynojet is nominal, it still equates to more fuel than is consumed during daily driving. If you’re using race gas, make sure to load up those extra pails of fuel just in case. Nothing is worse than a smooth tuning process ending early due to lack of fuel.

Safety Second

As you watch your car spin the rollers at a high rate of speed, the last thing you want to have happen is a mechanical failure. There are entire YouTube channels devoted to dyno fails, and it’s the last place you want your car to be featured. In addition to checking your tires for wear and that the driveshaft yokes are tight at both ends, make sure you don’t have any leaks. Curing these leaks is extremely important to avoid any fluids that might ignite when in contact with hot engine bay components, like your headers.

Spark One Up

Spark plugs make up one of the four main things an engine needs to run properly. Bad fuel injectors or poorly designed fuel maps will eventually make a set of spark plugs give up the ghost. When trying to tune around a poor spark condition, you’ll see a decrease in power. You can eliminate this fear by making sure you have a fresh set of plugs installed. Be sure to check the heat range chart to make sure you’re getting the correct plug for your application first.


Oftentimes forgotten about, the spark plugs can have serious adverse effects on horsepower numbers when they have not been changed over time.

Charged With Battery

Most electronics such as fuel pumps, injectors, and ECUs have a preferred amount of voltage they wish to receive in order to work properly. Before scheduling dyno time, make sure that your charging system is up to par. After all, you want to make sure your money is going to tuning and not chasing electrical gremlins. Since batteries are the textbook definition of Murphy’s Law, swap out that four-year-old battery for a fresh one. 


When your alternator cannot keep up with the power demands, it’s time for the battery to step up. Optima batteries have long since been heralded as the battery of choice for performance-minded enthusiasts.

Keep A Cool Head On The Dyno

While the dyno has a lot of perks, there are still a few drawbacks. For instance, the amount of air that is blowing into your car’s engine bay on the dyno is a lot less than it would receive while driving. This means you’ll want to put a heavy focus on your cooling system. Replacing your coolant with Peak Performance antifreeze coolant and inspecting your fans are two great ways to prevent overheating on the dyno. If the factory fans are not pushing air out quickly enough, it might be time to convert to an electric SPAL unit.

Changing For Performance

Oil is the lubricant that keeps our engines running healthy. It’s safe to say most enthusiasts change their oil religiously, but to ensure your engine is fully ready before hitting the rollers, make sure to change the oil beforehand. This is the perfect time to make the switch to a performance oil like Torco SR-1 that is designed with high-RPM in mind.’

Not just for lubrication, the Torco SR-1 oil provides key features for anti-wear, but can also increase performance on the dyno.

The SR-1 series from Torco was developed for what most dyno operators see frequently: high-performance street cars. The oil not only provides the proper anti-wear properties that your engine needs, but the highly advanced, 100-percent synthetic oil and additive package is intended to increase output by up to 3 percent.

Pumping Fuel For Dyno Numbers

Maxing out your fuel pump or running out of injector is a commonplace excuse to hear on the dyno. These thresholds of the fuel system are what tuners try to avoid getting too close to. Making sure your car is equipped with the proper fuel pump(s) and injectors requires planning ahead and seeking counsel from the tuner and the manufacturer of the fuel pump and injectors. This will address any concerns of maxing out the injector’s duty cycle or the fuel pump’s abilities, and potentially entering a lean condition. Making sure you have an adequate supply of fuel flowing to your engine can also allow your tuner to provide a more aggressive tune without fear.

Money Spent Is Money Saved

Spending money to save money might seem like trying to cut your hair to let it to grow longer, but since the dyno is billed by the hour, and there are quite a few things that can go wrong, checking out these key components can ensure money is not wasted. So, before you book a dyno appointment, make sure you have covered all your bases and can have an enjoyable day of optimizing your vehicle’s performance.

Article Sources

About the author

James Elkins

Born into a household of motorsport lovers, James learned that wrenching takes priority over broken skin and damaged nerves. Passions include fixing previous owners’ mistakes, writing, and driving.
Read My Articles

Blue Oval Muscle in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from FordMuscle, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes