How to Get your First RC Car without Pain, Worries, and Regrets
Similar to investing in a real vehicle, searching for a great Radio Controlled vehicle requires investigation, cost comparing as well as an assessment of your personal requirements. Even though just about all RC’s have a similar components-transmitter, receiver, powerplant, and power source-they differ extensively in dimensions, type, in addition to a level of difficulty.
The initial, most significant determination to make is whether an electric or a nitro car meets your requirements. Nitro cars are typically quicker and much more powerful, however, their particular engines demand a great deal of upkeep along with tuning. Electric cars, alternatively, don’t operate quite as fast, however, they’re less difficult for novices and operate significantly less noisy.
The second thing is, as soon as you’ve made the decision on whether an electric or a nitro car is ideal for you, you’ll want to make a choice between a car which is geared up to run straight out of the package and a kit that you will construct completely from scratch. Ready to run vehicles happen to be much simpler for newbies anxious to get to the competition, however, the construct your own kits provide you with a greater comprehension of precisely how RC’s operate simply because you assemble it from the insides out. In the event that you’re undecided, remember the fact that the majority of ready to run packages also contain complete directions if you happen to desire to disassemble your personal RC or perhaps substitute a few of its components.
After that, you might want to determine precisely where you’ll be operating the vehicle. Just as if you wouldn’t purchase a fuel-guzzling truck if you reside in the downtown area and have a very extensive commute, you’ll need to make certain you acquire the particular RC that matches any type of driving you’ll be going after. On-road RC’s are designed with regard to speed, therefore if it’s racing and road running you are interested in, you’ll need to stay with these types of lighter weight, quicker vehicles. In the event that you would like to practice on tough surfaces along with jumps, the more rugged off-road RC’s are in all likelihood ideal for you.
The final thing to decide on will be the size and type of RC vehicle you’d like. The most desired category of vehicles happen to be 1/10th scale, however, you can also get bigger 1/8 scale as well as more compact mini and micro-sized cars. Moreover, the good thing is that you simply get to determine exactly what style of Radio controlled vehicle you’d like best there happen to be cars, trucks, buggies, boats, planes in addition to helicopters from which to choose.
Remote Controlled Cars – Types
The toys which are targeted as children’s toys are known as toy-grade remote control cars. These types of cars are typically charged by either rechargeable or regular batteries. Such cars are usually a good choice as a toy because the price is reasonable and they provide plenty of entertainment for the money.
In addition to these basic cars, there are also more expensive remote control cars which feature parts that are not only replaceable but interchangeable as well. These cars are known as hobby-grade remote control cars. Although there is nothing precluding a beginner from getting started with these types of cars, they are generally geared for those individuals that have some experience, especially the build your own kits.
While both grades of vehicles are based on the premise, the difference in performance between the two can be nothing short of astonishing. The most basic remote control cars are capable of traveling one or two miles per hours. They can usually be directed to move backward or forward. These cars typically do not have any steering capabilities. The more expensive, higher-end remote control cars are vastly different. These vehicles feature complex engines as well as shocks and even customized paint jobs.
Beyond the fact that hobby-grade remote control cars are generally more responsive as well as faster, there is also the advantage of being able to customize the cars, which is often the draw for many adults. It is widely believed that the ability to customize these cars is the single most important reason that the remote control hobby has blossomed in the way it has and remained so popular over the years.
Both types of remote control vehicles include not only cars but also trucks as well as airplanes, blimps, helicopters, airplanes, motorboats, submarines, robots, sailboats and even fantasy vehicles.
How to Buy Your First Remote Control Car
So, you are new to remote control cars and want to buy your first RC car kit? Great, just go ahead and follow our handy shopping list in question & answer format below. We provide you with all the knowledge you need to have to make the right purchase.
Selecting your very first remote control car is perhaps the most exciting part of your RC hobby. If you are burning to feel that awesome experience of driving remote control cars, well you should be prepared to feel the same adrenaline when driving a real car; only that there are no speed limits, and no serious injuries; just endless fun.
The right RC car can make your riding hobby an addictive one. RC cars can help you achieve amazing feats as you train to be an excellent driver. You can learn lots of skills from an RC vehicle as you understand its capabilities.
The numerous RC cars on the market are, however, confusing. We don’t want that to be a hindrance for you. For this reason, we decided to gather every information there is regarding the considerations to help you a good RC car that is in line with your needs. Here they are!
“Which RC Car Kit is Best for Me?”
To find the one kit out of the many remote control cars on the market which suits you best, go ahead and read the answers to some essential questions:
- Do you prefer off road or on road?
- Do you prefer electric or nitro gas?
- Do you prefer an RC car kit to assemble or a pre-assembled, RTR (ready-to-run) version?
O.K., let’s get started …
1) Do you prefer off road or on road?
You should know that RC cars are not the same since each has a particular function. There are two main categories namely on-road and off-road vehicles.
Off-road, remote control cars come with large tires, full-travel suspensions, high ground clearance, long shock absorbers. Off-road remote control cars can drive just about anywhere. They are designed for jumping and dirt racing in your backyard, on a dirt track, at the park, and just about anywhere.
Such a vehicle can move on rough and uneven surfaces such as gravel, glass or pavements. The make of such a car including the tiles can withstand these areas. Your first car should be an off-road model so that does not limit you to a particular area. It should be strong as you teach yourself how to control it. We will look at some of the vehicles under this category to help you have a better understanding.
Off-road remote control cars and trucks come with either two-wheel (2WD) or four-wheel (4WD) drive. 4WD trucks are easier to drive and can usually drive over just about anything!
Most off-road remote control cars and trucks are 1/10 scale (about 15″ long).
In recent years, RC Monster Trucks grew enormously in popularity. RC Monster Trucks are gigantic, they are the undisputed heroes. RC Monster Trucks stand for HUGE FUN!
Don’t think that off-road remote control cars and trucks are necessarily slower than the on-road kits. Speed mostly depends on the type of engine – nitro gas engine or electrical motor. Even off-road remote control cars and trucks can hit speeds of 60 mph.
Trucks look like traditional monster trucks. They would give you service when you use them for heavy off-roading. The only downside about an RC truck is that it is slow and can test your patience. You can use such an RC car in your yard.
If you have experienced riding a Buggy, you will find this opposite. It is not meant for the street. A truggy works better on an off-road.
Your drift RC car is perfect for handling corners. If you plan to ride your car to a place that is not straight, this would be a suitable choice. It is fitted with slick tires that don’t take time to maneuver turns. Some cars would give you problems as you try to control them around bent areas.
This is a hybrid of a street and an off-road RC car. If you want a remote control car that functions well on a flat surface, a buggy would be a suitable one. It comes with the right height to cope with off-roading without struggling. This would be perfect for your racing needs. You would, however, notice that a buggy takes its time while off-roading.
On-road remote control cars look like the real-life cars you see on streets and racetracks worldwide. These on-road cars can reach high speeds – nitro gas powered remote control cars can reach up to 60 mph. Actually, Joe MacGregor’s racing car hit a new track record of 87.41 mph at Thunderdrome VI, the world’s most popular oval race.
On-road remote control cars offer minimal suspensions, sleek, sophisticated looks, and high speed. On-road cars typically come with four-wheel drive (4WD). These cars are designed for racing on streets, parking lots, or any other flat paved surface.
These cars work well on smooth areas such as a carpeted area, asphalt or concrete surfaces. If you are looking for speed from your RC Vehicle, you should pick an on-road car. Let us look at some examples;
Streetcars give you unmatched performance on flat surfaces as well as paved ones. They are fast and can take corners effortlessly. This is not a car that you should use on rough terrain. You would be reducing its lifespan by trying in on an area that is not flat.
2) Do you prefer electric or nitro gas?
Electric Remote Control Cars And Trucks
Electric remote control cars and trucks are the most popular – and highly recommended – choice for beginners:
- fast speed – up to 60 mph
- quiet – MUCH quieter than nitro
- easy to afford – lower prices than gas remote control cars
- easy to maintain – EASIER than a nitro engine
- not as messy as nitro
- suitable for indoor racing – nitro requires wide open space
You can find more information and a selection of the most popular electric remote control cars and trucks here.
Some RC vehicles use electricity to power batteries. The type of cells your RC vehicle uses determines how long it runs. You will realize that manufacturers don’t use the same kind of battery for every RC car. Some of the conventional cells, however, include 9V as well as AA. Others use lithium-ion batteries. These charge fast and can retain the charge for extended periods to prevent interrupting your game
If you choose a powerful battery, you can race your vehicle at high speed and allow it to last on the game for long without needing a recharge. You can also get a battery charger that is strong so that you can avoid recharging issues while you play. We recommend that you get an electric-powered RC Vehicle for your first vehicle. It is reliable and requires less maintenance.
Nitro Gas Remote Control Cars And Trucks
Some of the RC cars are fitted with nitro motors and petrol to refuel your car when it is low. The engine of your remote control car may need both fuel and batteries to operate. Others also use gas as a source of fuel. Nitro engines use nitromethane while gas engines utilize gasoline.
Interest in nitro gas powered remote control cars and trucks has grown dramatically in recent years. Improvements in nitro gas engine technology have simplified tuning and maintenance. Today’s nitro remote control cars are much more reliable than the nitro kits from just a few years ago.
Nitro remote control cars and trucks are fast, loud and exciting. Besides that, gas remote control cars and trucks give you:
great acceleration, high top speed – SUPERIOR to electric: 60+ mph
long run time – just stop, fuel, race
realistic sound, smell, and smoke
We recommend gas remote control cars for the advanced hobbyist.
3) Do you prefer an RC car kit to assemble or a pre-assembled RTR (ready-to-run) version?
Ready to run or building a kit
As a beginner, you probably don’t have the skills to assemble the different parts of a vehicle and make it complete. That is why you need one that is ready to run (RTR). This model is already assembled for you to start playing as soon as you take it out of the box.
Ensure that your RTR model comes with batteries, a remote and a decent charger. If you remote is universal such that you can use it on different cars, it is a bonus. A ready to run a vehicle is easy to control as you learn the mechanics of how it operates. Some of the companies that manufacture these vehicles are Traxxas, Losi, and Vaterra.
When you have gained enough experience, you can now build your own kit. From this experience, you can repair broken parts instead of buying another remote control car altogether. There is also a lot of satisfaction in making your kit from scratch and finally driving it.
Pre-Assembled RTR (Ready-To-Run) Kit
Ready-to-run (RTR) kits are completely or mostly pre-built right out of the box. Although mostly popular with nitro cars, electric RTR kits are also available. Prices are not much higher than for the unassembled kits – sometimes even lower. Choose a pre-assembled RTR RC car if you immediately want to get started racing. You can get started in less than an hour with an RTR model. Just plug in the batteries or fill up the fuel.
RTR kits have been increasing in popularity during the last years.
RTR kits are good for beginners of the RC car hobby, rather than the serious RC car racer who is after winning the next NORCCA World Cup.
Kit To Assemble
Choose the kit if you want to assemble your RC car yourself. You build the RC car up from the delivered parts, using your own tools. Assembling the kit by yourself is typically not as hard as it sounds because of easy-to-understand instruction manuals and easy-to-build kits. Actually, building your own model provides you with a deeper understanding of remote control cars.
Additional tips on getting your first RC car
The numbers when it comes to picking the right size may be confusing. Know that when the denominator is big, it represents a small size RC car. For instance, the 1/10 scale sized car is larger than 1/16 scale. There are different vehicles according to size like 1/5 or 1/64.
Choose the size of your car according to its purpose. For example, a small RC car is better for racing while a big RC car can run well through a lawn. Your first vehicle should be middle-sized such as 1/10 if you have enough space to store it. Such a scale is not too large to control or too small to move extremely fast.
We can recommend a 1/10 scale for you as you begin since it is easy to use anywhere and the accessories are easy to get. You can also operate it from a desk, and it does not occupy lots of room.
Focus on the performance of your RC car in terms of the handling rather than the speed for first-time use. Don’t take a car that runs too fast if you have not learned the skills of controlling its speed. You don’t want to break some parts or crash your vehicle right? Choose a remote control car that is easy to handle so that you can move it at your own pace.
The drive type of your vehicle determines its performance. It can either be a 2-wheel-drive (2WD) or 4-wheel-drive (4WD). 4WD cars give you better performance since they are easy to drive and can handle off-road driving. We highly recommend this to you as you begin.
2WD vehicles, on the other hand, maybe affordable, but they are hard to operate and need skilled drivers. The maintenance of such a car is easy.
Brushed or brushless motor?
Your remote control car may either use a brushed or brushless motor. If you see the sign BL on your motor, it merely means that the motor is brushless. You may be wondering what the difference is.
A brushed motor makes your RC car slower than using a brushless one. Most cheap remote control cars are fitted with a brushed motor. Some of them are toy grade models. The manufacturer calculates the rating of a brushed motor by its turns or revolutions.
When the turns of your brushed motor are low, the engine operates fast. You can disassemble some brushed motors while in other cases you have to replace them as a whole. They are not the best for your RC car.
Brushless motors, on the other hand, are long-lasting, fast and utilize battery power efficiently. Remote control cars that are fitted with brushless motors may not be as cheap as brushed motor ones. The KV ratings of brushless motors are high. In some cases, it does not automatically translate to better RC cars. For instance, heavy RC trucks utilize a lot of power from a brushless motor.
What do you need an RC vehicle for? The purpose determines the kind of options you need for your car. For instance, if you need an RC vehicle for combat needs, you should check if it can shoot explosives and bullets. For your racing needs, you don’t need one that has firing options.
To achieve your racing needs, you can check out from your local store the kind of RC cars that are being raced from your area. Feel free to get a popular car that is being raced by others. You can get help from other racers in the initial set up.
Ensure that you choose realistic features from an RC car. For instance, sounds and the emission of smoke from a remote control car would add thrill to your game. It should not, however, be too loud to disturb your neighbors. You can adjust the location you intend to play in to absorb noise through the walls. Check if your vehicle has a recoil system that enables it to emit smoke.
As you look for the best RC vehicle, you will come across different RC car brands. The brand can also help you determine the quality and performance of your vehicle. Some of the brands have made a reputation for themselves in the market of RC cars.
Tamiya vehicles are considered as one of the best-infrared vehicles in the market. It contains beautiful features that are easy to handle as a beginner. The only downside of this brand is that it does not sell its products online.
You can also consider Heng Long which is also known to produce high-quality cars. The price may not be very friendly for everyone. They charge their vehicles highly due to their unique hulls and features. You can also access the TaiGen brand from your local store instead of online buying.
The body of your vehicle
This is also a factor that you cannot ignore. Either plastic or metal makes remote control cars. Both materials have their cons and pros. Metallic cars are long-lasting but expensive due to the materials used in their construction. They move slower because they are more substantial than plastic vehicles. As a beginner, we would advise you to choose this type because you want a car that is easy to control and moves as per your pace.
Plastic RC cars, on the other hand, may not be long-lasting but they are cheap. They also move fast since they don’t have a lot of weight to slow them down. These are suitable for racing though they could crash if you lack good controlling skills. If you choose a high-quality plastic car, it will not break easily, but you don’t want such a risk do you?
You can customize both body types. If you need a racing car, you would want to distinguish it easily from the rest. You can do this by getting additional stickers and paints to add a unique design. It makes it easy to spot your RC vehicle during a race.
If you don’t need more expenses of getting stickers and paints, you can look for a design that comes with a unique look, color or paint for easy identification.
Once you have understood the basics of buying a remote control car, you can check out these other tips.
We have mentioned that you will have to pay more for a brushless motor RC vehicle. This does not mean that you go higher than your budget to get the best RC vehicle. Sometimes, the most expensive type is not the best.
If you get the cheapest RC car, you might end up with poor quality. Such types sometimes need lots of accessories that may end up costing you more than choosing a complete set that requires no additional features. Lots of repairs from the cheapest vehicles can also translate to more money expenses due to less durability.
We, therefore, advise you to conduct some research to find the features that you are looking for in your RC vehicle and gauge them with the budget. Don’t take the cheapest vehicle but compare prices and durability.
Since a remote controls your vehicle, it should be comfortable enough to use. Start by familiarizing yourself with the functions as well as the button placements. Choose one that does not have complicated controls on the remote.
The range in which you can control your vehicle using the remote is also essential. It should not be too short such that it limits you to riding on short distances. A racing RC car should have a wide remote range of operation using the remote control.
Make use of the local shop
Though online buying is easy, we believe that your local shop is better than online. This is because you can get additional information from a dealer who is ready to answer your questions as a beginner. Sometimes online retails may not always be there for you.
Your local shop can also advise you on the best cars that are popular and give you an illustration of how it works before you can purchase it. Check out Connecticut in Rc Hobbies which has knowledgeable personnel as well as inventory.
No matter how good your RC car is, it may need some replacement once in a while. When you are looking for your first car, check if you can access the parts easily from when you intend to buy it. Your local shop should be able to provide accessories if you need them to fix broken pieces. It will reduce the stress of looking for spare parts for long.
The ease of use
As a first-timer, you don’t want an RC vehicle that looks too complex to operate, maintain or make repairs. That is why you should do a test if your local store allows it to determine if the Remote control car is user-friendly. Some of them come with instructions to help you disassemble and assemble your car if you want to upgrade it. Check if there are guidelines to simplify the work.
In most cases, a ready to run vehicle does not need additional details. Don’t assume this instead, check if your remote control car is complete or needs other items that add to your expenses. If you know that your vehicle is complete, you will not use extra money.
The capability of an upgrade
You may be new to RC vehicles, but you can learn a lot about your car within no time. It is essential to choose one that does not limit you to the same make. Utilizing the same features for years is boring. With numerous innovations being developed on a daily basis. You need a car that is open to improvements. Get a model that is long-lasting and easy to upgrade.
These tips, tricks, questions, and their answers should help you pick your first RC car or RC truck. The more you play with your RC car, the more you learn about your new remote control cars hobby. If your interests change at some time and you want to try out another type of RC vehicle, add another RC car or truck to your collection. Many remote control cars hobbyists have several remote control cars and trucks in their collection:
- On-road remote control cars for serious competition racing
- RC Monster Trucks for climbing the hills and crushing other cars
- RC off-road buggies for backyard jumping and dirt racing
- Stadium trucks for racing or backyard bashing
No matter which remote control cars kit you pick, always remember: RC racing is FUN, HUGE FUN! We wish you all the best as you get your first RC car and enjoyable driving experience.