Below are some of the most common questions we receive about the products. If you have a question that is not answered, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or call us at 717-814-1700. If we do not have an answer immediately, we will get one!

This product is designed to help reduce the risk of spinal injury while also providing comfort for those sitting in their containment seat. Check out our analysis for further detail.

Use as much as you have room for. The more the better to absorb impact, but do not compromise headroom.

Testing has shown that the 3" bottom pad offers as much risk reduction possible for this product.

3" is best

2" is good

1" is better than nothing

We ship via UPS. Your shipping charges will be individually calculated based on your address. For dealers, we can do Receiver Billed Shipping using your established UPS account.

Many drivers do not have the headroom for a 3" pad. The 2" pad is what many drivers have used. It is more economical overall for the buyer. All Crash Pad Kits are made in a combination of 1/2" and 1" layers. This allows thickness adjustments anywhere from 1/2" to 3" in 1/2" increments. Use as much thickness as you can without sacrificing head clearance. If you purchase a kit having a 2" bottom and find you can tolerate more thickness, we offer a 1" bottom pad upgrade. The 2" and 3" bottoms use the same 4-way stretch upholstery - no need to purchase other upholstery. Remember, the thicker the Crash Pad, the more space and time to dissipate energy. 

A 20" Back Pad will provide better energy absorption and comfort for the T-vertebra. The 20" Back Pad will also push the driver slightly forward. If you do not want that feeling, we would recommend the 8" Lumbar. The 20" Back Pad is made of two 1/2" layers. We know of drivers that have taken the one layer and cut it in half - 1" thick at the lumbar, 1/2" thick at the T-vertebra. Much of it comes down to personal preference. 

812SAM Shock Absorbing Material is a high density, open cell proprietary material made for Crash Pad LLC.

Reducing thickness reduces the effectiveness of the Crash Pad's ability to reduce your risk of injury. You will bottom out sooner. The greater the thickness of the Crash Pad, the more time is consumed for the bottoming out event to occur.  More time is better - it lowers the peak G-forces your spine experiences. But we recognize that you may not have the recommended 3" roll cage headroom. And, if you cannot lower your seat, you may have to remove layers of material to get the recommended minimum headroom. A 3" bottom is best, 2" is good, 1" is better than nothing!

Yes, you can, and you likely will even with a Crash Pad.  We just want that bottoming out event to take more time to occur. During that "extra" time, the Crash Pad is absorbing and dissipating the energy that may cause an injury. Tests data shows that the forces to the spine are reduced during this "extra" time, making the bottoming less severe. 

Lower your seat. Remove spacers or lower the seat mounting bar or frame tabs. Get a tall cage option when you get a new chassis. Do not compromise minimum recommended headroom.

We can only tell you that there seems to be a consensus opinion that 3" is needed between the top of the helmet and the top of the roll cage. Typically, more is better. 

812SAM performed best over other material tested. Other materials may feel similar, but may not react the same in high speed impact. If it has not been tested properly you do not know if it will have the right properties. Some materials go solid, some collapse, and some rebound in high speed impact and can actually make an impact worse. 

NO - The spring type rebound of foam rubber will make the impact worse. If foam rubber is dense enough, at full compression, it rebounds and drives your spine up into your downward moving head. Upholstery type foam for cushions has little or no high-speed impact resistance in this application. 

Other materials will take up space that could be used for layers of 812SAM. Other materials also will probably not be as effective in absorbing impact forces. 

Mainly because it tested best. The reasons it tested best are many:

It compresses with even resistance throughout the compression.

It supports static weight without collapse. 

It has uniform compression characteristics in high speed compression.

It does not rebound, but does return to original capability quickly. 

It is simple, reasonable and light weight for the application. 

Spinal forces were measured in an anatomical dummy, helmeted, 5 point belted to an aluminum seat and drop impacted at a vertical sled test facility. Simple "drop a weight on the material" type tests and tests without typical preloading do not correlate to the full-scale dummy tests. The tests measured spinal forces in the dummy, instead of the impact response of the material. The tests showed what material was best to reduce the risk of spinal injury. That is what we are using. 

The Crash Pad uses a four-way stretch upholstery material that works in conjunction with the 812SAM material in high speed impact. 812SAM can be used under existing upholstery. However, we recommend that it should be covered so that it does not become saturated with dirt or water. Existing upholstery may be sufficient. There should be some venting capability so that air can escape from the SAM during an impact. Air escaping from the convoluted cell path of the SAM is its key to functionality. If the cell path is clogged with something other than air, the SAM will not function properly.  

A certain amount of preloading occurs when you sit on the Crash Pad. It performs just like a shock absorber on your car. It will compress until it equalizes your weight with an equal force from the 812SAM. Typically, the material will compress about 40% of its thickness when a 170-pound driver is seated and belted in. The remaining thickness is there to absorb impact forces during an incident.

Tighten your belts the same as you always have. The 812SAM will preload with your weight, belt tension, and posture. Measure headroom with your helmet on and belts tight. If you have room, add more layers of 812SAM. If you have someone pull your belts super tight, you may want more layers of 812SAM to create more compressible space if there is excessive preload. 

NO. It turns out from testing the preload that occurs with a flat pad works better in high speed impact. Contoured material actually performed much worse due to the places where it was thinner. These protruding butt areas had the highest preload and raised the whole body to create a greater overall compression space. 

The outer covering is very tough and smooth. It can be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth. Velcro loops on the back side can be washed or gently brushed. 812SAM is an open cell material that can absorb water like a sponge. The dense cell structure can be cleaned like a sponge by washing and squeezing the water out. DO NOT use a high-pressure washer. DO NOT lay the SAM over an acute angle object while saturated with water - it may tear. Do the cleaning on a flat surface and expel the water with a pipe-like object. 812SAM should be used fully dry. 

It is based on how you assemble it. Seats have angles and curves. If you wrap the flaps while the face of the pad is on a curve or angle, it will tighten the covering. It will be smooth when placed in a curved or angled seat bottom or back. There are a couple of tricks.

1. Fold the pad (face down) over the edge of the workbench while wrapping the flaps to take out the slack on the front surface for an angle fit where needed.

2. Place the pad (face down) over a tire while wrapping the flaps to take out the slack on the front surface for curved fit.

You can do the same with the lumbar or tall back pieces. 

No. We wondered about this but found that it actually connected our butt to the car better by conforming and filling the gaps. It eliminates seat bottom movement. You are referring to the 'seat of the pants feel' that we are calling Cheek Technology - it is as good as any data acquisition system. Some drivers tell us their Cheek Technology is actually better with a Crash Pad.

Not recommended. The lumbar/back is very important to the impact absorbing function for a couple reasons.

1. The lumbar or back pad moves your tailbone further forward into the bottom pad material so it is not at the back edge and the bottom pad can do its job.

2. The pelvis and lower back tends to rotate and roll during a nose dive impact. The back pads are helpful in absorbing the forces applied to the lumbar in such an event.

Yes. We have stuffed a layer or two of 812SAM in the "rib cage wings" of our seats, under existing upholstery, and for knee protection. Intuitively, it makes sense. However, head/helmet impact is different because there is no preload and helmets contain a different kind of shock absorption material. 812SAM has not been tested in comparison to other established headrest materials for effectiveness in headrest and rollbar applications. We cannot make any recommendation on its use on headrests or rollbar locations.

We have used 3M 777 spray adhesive to bond 812SAM to other surfaces and materials. You can glue layers together, but it is not necessary. 812SAM has enough surface friction that layers stay in place and gluing is not usually necessary. Additionally, gluing 812SAM to another surface complicates the cleaning process.

Not recommended. The material will tear if it does not have a covering. If it gets ragged, its performance will also deteriorate. Uncovered 812SAM will get dirt and water in it, which definitely degrades its performance. 812SAM should always have a vented covering to protect from contamination.

Apparently not. The material density (measured as weight in pounds per cubic foot of a material) is commonly used as a way to compare the energy absorbing properties of these types of material. However, a number of materials with identical density, from the same material family, can range from being very soft, to soft, to firm. When tested, each of those materials had a different high-speed impact response that ranged from worst to best. Other materials that had radically different densities had favorable responses, but were ranked lower than the best. We found that comparing materials by comparing the manufacturing specifications does little to know how they will reduce the risk of spinal injury in a holistic and realistic model testing method. 

1. You can also have spinal injury by being hit on top of the helmet during a crash, driving your head down onto your spine. It stands to reason that having compressible material and compression space at the bottom of the spine can be helpful in reducing the risk of spinal injury (untested). This crash scenario supports the reason for sufficient roll cage headroom. 

2. Spinal injuries have also occurred in sprints, midgets, etc. when the center section of the rear end, W-link, or brake rotor have impacted the bottom or lower back of the seat in a crash. It stands to reason that having some compressible space between you and the impacting part can be very helpful in reducing the risk of spinal injury (untested). This crash scenario supports the reason for having protection bars, plates, or cables between the seat and the rear end. 

The seat manufacturers are concerned with making a strong seat that is non-deformable and supports the driver's weight in a crash. Many years ago, seats could bend and deform in a crash and there were no shoulder supports or headrests. Drivers would impact parts of the car in the cockpit and get hurt. 

Design advancement to the containment seat stopped that from happening by providing support for the driver and removing the space to thrash around in a crash. The containment seat is one of the most important improvements to reduce driver injuries in a crash in recent years. Its effectiveness has made it a standard component of most race cars today. It has helped in every direction of applied force on the driver, except for down into the bottom of the seat. Earlier conventional thinking pointed at the driveline as the culprit for spinal injuries. The 'out of the box' analysis of an original partner concluded otherwise. This conclusion led to the development of The Crash Pad as an accessory designed to work with the containment seat to reduce the risk of spinal compression injury in a crash. 

Contact us with any other questions, concerns, or comments through email at [email protected] or by phone at 717-814-1700.