How to Make RC Cars Faster

How to Make RC Cars Faster

There are a few ways to make your RC car go faster. Some require more work, expertise, and money, and some are simple tweaks that can make a small difference. In this article, we’ll be talking about electric RC cars, not nitro RC cars. Nitro RC cars are powered by fuel. An electric motor and battery pack power electric RC cars.

We’ll also be focusing on hobby-grade RC cars, and not toy-grade RC cars. Hobby-grade cars are more expensive, but you can change, upgrade, and customize the parts. Upgrading and changing parts can get expensive. Here are a few easy and inexpensive tweaks that may make a small difference in your speed.


Maintenance and lubrication are essential. A lot of hobbyists try to avoid getting certain parts of the car wet and take great care in finding the right grease or lubricant. Others believe that instead of using grease, lighter oil like WD-40 might actually help things run faster.

Along with lubrication, just cleaning all of the working parts and making sure gears and parts move properly can help keep things from slowing down unnecessarily. Another trick you can try is to shape and mold the brushes to the armature by connecting the electric motor to a 3-volt battery, and letting it run for a couple of hours. This can help change the shape of the brushes and reduce friction.

Upgrading Your Battery

Upgrading your battery can give your motor a boost. Li-Po batteries will provide you with more power than the older Ni-Mh or Ni-Cad batteries. Be sure you don’t overdo it. Also, make sure you run and charge the batteries correctly. A motor upgrade with an ESC system will allow you to run the most powerful batteries.

Changing the Gear Ratio

Your RC car will have a small and large gear. By changing the size of one or both of the gears, you’ll change the gear ratio. The small gear is called a pinion gear; the larger plastic gear is the spur gear. Getting a larger pinion gear and a smaller spur gear can give you faster top speed. You’ll also get slower acceleration.

Your motor could also run hotter. Before you make any changes, it’s important to think about what your main objective is, because there are give and takes with most modifications. If quicker acceleration is your goal, make your pinion gear smaller, and increase the size of the spur gear. Remember, there are give and takes. This may be the perfect solution for a short race, but not a long one. This is a modification you can experiment with and adjust your speed for your car.

Upgrading Those Tires

Get some high-quality tires designed for the type of racing you do. Large tires with grip can go faster, but they also add weight. Changing the gearing may be a better option than getting giant tires. But then, getting good tires with the right amount of grip for your car and racing surface makes a lot of sense.

Lightening the Weight

Look for lightweight parts made from aluminum or graphite. Change out whatever weighs down the chassis. Carbon components are also lightweight. Remember the battery upgrade? It turns out that faster Li-Po batteries also weigh less. Less weight can mean less traction. It’s a good idea to consider which performance-enhancing upgrades will apply best to your situation.

Upgrading Your Motor

The faster the motor, the faster the car. Brushless motors are faster than the brushed motors. They are more expensive, too, but you can get the quicker brushless motor and ESC system, along with a more powerful Li-Po battery for a considerable speed boost. The brushless motors also run longer and are more efficient.

The electronic speed controller (ESC) will also need to be changed, but this will help you accommodate those new faster batteries. You can use the older Ni-Mh or Ni-Cad batteries with your new motor, but it defeats the purpose of all of the trouble and expense. The Li-Po batteries are what give your new system that needed boost.

Not all of these solutions make sense for every car. It could be easier and cheaper to just upgrade the car. However, hopefully, these suggestions can help you make your car as fast as it needs to be.

How to Build RC Cars

How to Build RC Cars

Remote-controlled cars are perfect for makers. In the old days, remote control enthusiasts not only had to build their vehicles, but they even had to build the radio equipment. Things have come a long way, and there are tons of kits and premade vehicles you can buy. Technological advances have also made great strides in the industry.

An RC car is a great way to get started with a remote control hobby. Unlike flying an RC helicopter, most of us have experienced driving a car. Most of us also have the wide open spaces needed to drive an RC car.

If you want to build your own RC car, there’s quite a bit of pre-planning that goes into it. One of the many things you need to decide before you get started is the scale. Your options are 1/12, 1/10, and 1/8. 1/10 is the most popular.

You’ll also need to decide on a brushed motor or a brushless motor. Brushless motors are better, but they are more expensive. Most hobby cars can be customized, but when you build your own, everything is custom. This is part of the fun and part of the challenge.

One of the easiest ways to build your own RC car, without having to agonize over all of the parts, is to purchase a kit. With a kit, you get everything that goes together, and you can still upgrade and make changes down the line. This is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water, and find out what it is that you really like.

Even with the kit, you’ll have a lot of small parts, and it will take time to get everything put together properly. Having your own work area that’s well-lit and has a smooth surface will make your job so much easier. Having containers and holders for small parts is also a perfect idea. Keep in mind that screws that go into metal will loosen over time. If you want the one you build to last, use thread locking-glue on these screws.

To get started, put your axles together first. Secure the gears in the back axle using a non-electric screwdriver. The reason you want to avoid an electric screwdriver is that it may strip the gears. Once you have your axles together, you can move on to the shocks. These will support the chassis and attach to your wheels. The shocks will need to be filled with shock oil. Attach the shocks to the axle with your screwdriver.

Now, it’s time to attach the servos, the battery, and the electric motor. In case you’re wondering what a servo is, it’s the transmitter for the signal that tells your car which way to turn. These will be attached to the front axle. The electric motor goes on the back axle, and is attached to the gears. Meanwhile, the battery sits on top of the chassis and has attached wires.

You’ll clip the body of your car onto the top of the chassis. You can remove the body by removing the clips. This will be necessary for checking the battery, and for routine maintenance like cleaning and lubricating.

If you’re building your remote-controlled car without using a kit, the steps are about the same. You just need to take the time to find compatible components. Choose the scale you want, and start adding all of the best components.

One of the things you’ll need to get is a remote control. You can’t operate your RC car without a controller. Your remote control will come with a receiver. You’ll plug your servos and your motor controllers into this receiver. You can’t plug a servo into your receiver unless you get one. You’ll need a servo for steering your vehicle.

You’ll need a battery pack and charger. Li-Po costs more. But then, it gives you more speed and performance. You’ll also need an electronic speed controller. The ESC passes battery power to your brushless motor. You can get a less expensive brushed motor, and you won’t need an ESC. You really need to weigh the cost versus your desired performance.

You’ll also need an RC gear differential with wheel shafts that connect to your wheels. When you build your own RC car, you also get to completely customize the type, size, and color of your wheels and tires. Your chassis will often include the differential and the wheels. Another fun thing you get to choose is the body. You get to decide on the color, style, and material.

We only touched on building electric RC cars. If you’re interested in fuel-powered RC cars like a nitro, the steps are similar. You’ll just need different components. Building your own car is a great way to really understand this hobby.

Can RC Cars Go in Snow?

Can RC Cars Go in Snow?

A lot of people ask if they can drive their RC car in the snow. The answer to this is yes, but take a few cautions first. Brushless motors don’t like getting wet, so use a car that has a brushed motor. You could also waterproof your existing ESC with silicone sealant or purchase a waterproof ESC. You’ll also need to protect the receiver from water by encasing it in rubber.

Another option is just to get a car that has waterproof electronics. You can often find snow-specific RC cars that aren’t only waterproof, but also have the right kind of tires to get that extra traction you need in the slippery snow.

One more thing to keep in mind is that plastic becomes more brittle. Be careful about crashes and other damage to your plastic parts. The cold weather can also make grease and lubrication thicker. You may want to use thinner oil for lubrication during the colder months. As we said earlier, a lot of electric models feature waterproof electronics, so you don’t have to worry about a homemade waterproofing job.

Also, waterproof isn’t rustproof. Be sure to dry your car after use, and don’t submerge it for cleaning. It’s a good idea to use something like WD-40 on bearings, axles, and other parts that can rust. This will act as a rust inhibitor.

If you’re using a car that has a fuel-powered Nitro engine, electronics aren’t as big of a deal. You still need to worry about rust, metal parts, and any existing electronics that are on your Nitro vehicle. You might want to warm your engine at room temperature before trying to start it in the snow.

If you’re going to run a Nitro engine when it’s cold, that engine will require a break in period. You don’t want to wear out the engine pistons or other fragile moving parts. Whether you’re running an electric or a fuel-powered RC car, what you really need to be concerned with is moisture and cold.

If you find a way to keep your car safe from the damage of water and warm enough to run properly, you can have hours of fun driving an RC car in the snow. It’s not only a great way to be outside and get a break from indoor heated air, but it’s also just a fun way to blow off steam.

What a waterproof RC car really gives you is water-resistant speed control, receiver case, and a sealed servo. You’ll still need routine maintenance if you’re going to expose your RC car to moisture, the elements, and snow.

The waterproof receiver usually consists of a box that helps to keep water out. This box needs to be checked periodically to make sure it’s actually doing its job. There should also be a sealant where the wires enter the box. You can check this sealant, and even reinforce it with some silicone. In addition, you can use a balloon to protect components. Just be sure that no water is trapped inside after use.

You’ll also need to look out for rust on the connectors of your waterproof controls. Check the battery terminals, the on/off switch, and any other exposed metal surfaces. A lot of ESCs have a rubber cover over the on/off switch. Make sure that no moisture is trapped inside it.

The battery cells are completely contained and waterproof. What you need to watch out for is moisture and rust on the solder tabs that connect the cells together. The common sense approach is to check your batteries and keep water out of them as much as possible. If water does get in, do your best to remove any remaining moisture.

Rust is really the enemy of all of the metal parts on your RC car. After having your fun in the snow, make sure that your car is completely dried out, and that there’s no moisture remaining that can damage the sensitive parts. Using a compressed air can also help dry out the parts.

You can drive your RC car in the snow, but common sense, along with extra precautions and additional maintenance are required to enable you to drive it in the snow more than once.