NOTE: These and similar techniques are generally not recommended because they place a great load on drivetrain components and can result in transmission damage.
Burnouts are quite easy to achieve in a front-wheel drive car; all one has to do is hold the parking brake (or "e-brakes") and accelerate. Since power is transferred to the front wheels only and the parking brake keeps the rear wheels still, the front wheels spin harshly against the surface while the car remains stationary, creating tyre smoke. (Both front wheels may not spin if the car does not have a limited slip differential, however.)
Burnouts in rear wheel drive cars generally require more practice, the driver having to "feather" the brakes while keeping the accelerator ("gas") pedal pressed with the car in gear. At a certain point of balance, the front brakes will prevent the car from moving forward while the rear brakes will have insufficient grip to keep the wheels from spinning, since engine power is transferred to the rear wheels only.
It is possible to make rear-wheel drive burnouts easier by installing "line locks", devices which allow fluid pressure on the front brakes to be maintained while releasing the pedal to free the rear breaks. This is especially useful in a manual transmission vehicle, in which it can be quite difficult to manipulate the clutch, brake and gas pedals simultaneously. Line locks also reduce wear to the rear brakes, a common problem otherwise.
Burnouts are most difficult to perform in four-wheel drive cars, since all four wheels are given power and 4WDs generally have better initial traction (the engine weight being directly over the drive wheels). Additionally, it requires significantly more powerful engines to break all four tyres loose at the same time, and the tyres will spin for only a short while before all four gain traction.
Another burnout technique is one known as the "rollback", aimed at cars with insufficient power to perform a burnout from a standing-still position. It involves putting the car into reverse, reversing at a higher speed than normal and then quickly putting the car into first gear and hitting the accelerator. A variant of this is to reverse at an angle which will result in two distinctive skidmarks once the car pushes forward.