Tricks to Keep Your RC Car in Shape

So you’ve got the RC car of your dreams, congratulations! Now you’ve taken it out for a few spins and the fun is never-ending, right? It’s all fun and games at first, but eventually, with time, all things begin to degrade. But, don’t despair, with just a few little tricks, you can prolong the life of your RC vehicle by many years.

Since you invest precious hard-earned money into your RC cars, you need to treat it like a normal vehicle at times. Except unlike normal vehicles, you don’t need to spend a thousand dollars when you have a scratch.

Here are some basic tips for you to follow to help you maintain your RC:


The very first thing you need to do is grab yourself a set of tools. Your RC should come with some already, but it won’t be enough for the long haul. The tools you’ll likely need are:

  • 4-way wrench (for the wheels and glow plug)
  • Allen wrenches (assortment of sizes)
  • U-joint wrench
  • Exacto knife
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Screwdrivers

You don’t need all these tools at first, but eventually, you should get around to having a handy tool kit.

Clean It Up!

You don’t need to do these techniques every time you run, but I would say once a week at least or more. When you’re done racing, make sure you wait for the engine to cool down so you can touch it. These tips only about to RC nitro cars since electric RC cars require little maintenance and their motors can be replaced easily.

So the first thing you do when you come home is to remove the body case of your RC. First, make sure you check to see any damage or messes made when you were out for the day. If there are dirt, rocks, and debris stuck into the main base plate of your RC, get a damp cloth and wipe it down till you remove all the grime. Also, go around tightening screws and checking for anything that has come loose or seems damaged.

Nitro Engine Tips

Next thing you need to do is remove the glow plug. It’s located directly inside the cylinder head on the engine. Pour a few drops of “After-Run Oil” into the glowing hole, turning over the crank a few revolutions so that the inside of the cylinder walls get coated well. Among other reasons, this will ensure that moisture keeps out of the engine, and so that it doesn’t rust up.

Next thing you want to do is drain the fuel tank completely because if you leave the fuel in when storing your RC, it will allow condensation to occur and might contaminate your fuel. Your engine can’t have water in it. I would recommend buying an in-line fuel filter. It attaches to your fuel and vacuum lines, and its purpose is to filter out dirt, water, and other harmful particles from entering your engine.

After you’ve done the above, pull your engine from the chassis. You’ll probably notice excess fuel and other stuff have collected itself on to the bottom of the engine and around the chassis/engine mounts. Give it a good wipe down especially when driving RC trucks.

Recommended Vehicle Upgrades

Air Filter

One thing I recommend is getting an aftermarket air filter. The air filter allows your engine to breathe better, which enables it to reach higher speeds and gives your fuel a better burn. Stock air filters just simply don’t cut it, and a bigger air filter equals more surface area.

Soaking your air filter in “air cleaner oil” before putting it to use is recommended. This will keep out dust and other particles which will otherwise stick to the oil. Make sure to squeeze out any excess oil before putting it back on the engine. At the end of the race day, you’ll want to clean out your air filter by soaking it in a cleaning solvent to remove the dirt and oil from it. When you want to go back and race, soak it with the air cleaner oil again (squeezing out the excess).

Stock Bushings

Replace your stock bushings with metal or rubber ball bearings. Ball bearings are easy to install, and provide better rotation, less friction and also keep out dirt and debris a lot better. They also last a lot longer than bushings since bushings are plastic and wear down both themselves and your driveshaft very easily.


Depending on if you’re running nitro or electric, most RC car batteries for your vehicle come in stock 7.2 v, rated at 1400mAh (milliamp hours). I recommend buying some higher quality batteries, such as some 1700mAhs, which will last you a lot longer on the track. Also, carrying extra charged batteries, and having a good battery charger on hand will do wonders for you.

If you follow these small quick tips, it should be enough to keep your RC kicking for a few extra years. For additional information, I recommend browsing RC forums for more advice that’s specific to the make and model of your RC. Happy racing!


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