How to Build Your Own Nitro RC Car

Most people who take up the challenge of building an RC car on their own choose an electric model. Why? Because it’s a lot easier to build. But for those who are familiar with the art of assembling an RC car, a nitro or gas-powered model can turn out to be a fun challenge.

Nitro RC cars have more power, they run faster and are much more impressive.


  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • RC car kit
  • Hobby knife
  • Hardware trays
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Nitro engine
  • Thread lock
  • Soap
  • Calipers
  • Grease
  • WD-40

The first step is to buy the materials for you ABC (Aluminum Brass Chrome) or ABN (Aluminum Brass Nickel) nitro engine. ABC ones have an aluminum piston and brass cylinder, while the internal plating of the cylinder is made of chrome. It’s lightweight, not too pricey and it lasts long. In ABN models, the internal plating of the cylinder is made of nickel, a material that wears down faster.

Before assembling the car kit, go over the instructions. Get organized by writing down things you’ll need to remember, like screw sizes, and putting them on separate hardware trays. Don’t force or tighten the screws too much. Rubbing the threads of the screws with a bit of soap can help prevent stripping. When you work with metal components or nuts, it’s best if you use liquid thread lock. This way, the screws won’t become loose.

Don’t rush. Pay attention and take your time when you’re working with parts that require certain sizes or lengths. Make your measurements with calipers, mark the cut then measure again. Fit every part into its place, before gluing or securing it. Take your time in sanding down the edges, making sure they fit perfectly.

Moving parts – like pivots, swings, spins and such – should be well greased. You can also use a light lubricant, such as WD-40. This will make everything run smoothly.

Read the manual and assemble the receiver box. Find a spot for it and make sure it’s not close to a moving or hot part, especially the nitro engine. Otherwise, there might be interference between the receiver and the remote. Fill the receiver box with foam to add insulation.

Before starting on painting your car, draw the design you want on a sheet of paper. You can make templates. Wash the parts you’re going to paint with warm soapy water. This will help remove dirt particles or oil. To protect the paint, finish with glossy or matte varnish.

Assemble your components. Make sure every part is tightly attached to the chassis. In time, the vibrations will cause these parts to loosen. After assembling these components, attach the body to the chassis and add the external details, such as the spoilers.

Fill the engine with fuel and take your new nitro RC car for a test run. If you’re satisfied with the results, drain the fuel and clean the car before storing it.


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