Seven Ways You Are Destroying Your RC Car
Radio control cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed, and over time they all wear out, but are you making it worse? How quickly an RC car wears out depends on how much care you put into them. That’s why we want to tell you the seven ways people prematurely destroy their RC cars and how to stop it.
1. Driving Underwater
We all love driving radio control cars, but there is one place that you should never go, and that is underwater. Although plenty of RC vehicles claim to be “waterproof,” RC cars are not meant to be submerged or driven underwater. While waterproof electronics protect against splashes and quick dips through a puddle or stream, underwater use can damage them.
The electronics aren’t the only items at risk of failure. All the metal parts in your car, like the screws, hinge pins, axles, driveshafts, transmission parts, and those oil-lubricated bearings, are at risk of corrosion, rust, and complete failure over time.
Even your tires are at risk of failure in water because water will get inside the tire through the vent holes. It’ll get your foam inserts wet, which will stay moist, turn moldy, eventually break down and destroy a perfectly good set of tires. You can remedy this by covering up the wheels’ vent holes with some tape to prevent grime and water from getting inside.
2. Leaving your Car Wet & Dirty
The next way people are destroying their RC cars is by not properly cleaning and drying them after they get wet or muddy. We know now we shouldn’t submerge our RC car in water, but it can get a little wet if it’s waterproof, right? You bet it can! It’s okay to get a waterproof RC car a little wet, but only if you clean and dry it afterward.
Extending the life of your RC car or truck is simple. First, remove the tires and peel the tape off the vent holes to allow them to ventilate. Soft towels and Q-Tips can do the bulk of the drying, while a can of air or an air compressor can blow moisture out of all the tight spots. This will help prevent rust or corrosion on metal parts and keep things running smoothly.
It’s also a good idea to inspect a few of your ball bearings. They may have gotten gritty or need to be re-lubricated with “bearing” specific oil. And don’t forget about the two bearings in your motor.
There is a delicate balance between bottom-end torque and top-end speed when it comes to electric motors. In pursuing higher speeds, you can easily end up over-gearing your car and over-heating your motor.
As soon as you start messing with your gearing and get the balance off, it’s going to add stress and strain to your motor and speed controller, which will cause excessive heat and potentially destroy them. Most motors have a temperature rating of 160 to 170°F (71-77°C)—don’t let it get over 170°. To avoid overheating, you can add fans or a heat sink to your system, or you can try gearing back down to keep your temperatures in the safe zone.
The other common way people are over gearing their vehicles and not even realizing it is by adding larger diameter tires. Larger diameter tires have a similar effect as gearing up on your pinion gear. So if you want to use larger diameter tires, you will probably have to compensate by gearing down on your pinion gear.
Checking the motor’s temperature is the most effective way to keep from burning it out. You could do the risky touch test by placing your finger on the motor. If you can leave it on the motor for three seconds, you’re within the safe temperature zone. But we don’t recommend that. The best and safest way to check your temps is just to get a temp gun. They are generally inexpensive, super convenient, and avoid 1st-degree burns.
4. Improper Steering
If your servo isn’t correctly adjusted, you may be damaging it every time you turn. Therefore, setting the End Point Adjustment (EPA) of a new servo is extremely important, as it ensures the servo isn’t trying to oversteer.
With RTR cars, the EPA is usually already set. However, if you upgrade your servo or make some steering adjustments, you’ll need to reset your servos EPA.
Click below to watch our in-depth video on End Point Adjustments.
5. Drivetrain Binding
A sure way to destroy your RC is by using it with a bound drivetrain. Meaning your drivetrain has a lot of friction or resistance in it, and it’s not rolling smoothly. All that resistance is extra work for your motor and speed control, adding stress, strain, and more heat. So every once in a while, depending on how often you drive, you’ll want to inspect your drivetrain.
An easy way to do this is to take the pinion gear off your motor and give everything a spin. Look closely at your driveshafts and make sure everything is clean and in good condition. Bent driveshafts, dirty bearings, and debris can cause binding, making things harder on your motor. Not to mention a clean car is a fast car!
6. Leaving Fuel in Your Car
If you are running a nitro car and leaving fuel to sit in the gas tank and fuel lines, then you’re destroying your car. Nitromethane pulls moisture out of the air, and that moisture can end up in your engine, causing rust. So after you’re done running your car, you’ll want to dump out any remaining fuel from the tank. Then start the engine back up a couple of times to burn any remaining fuel. Pro-Tip: You can use a bit of After Run Oil to further protect against rust and corrosion.
Two more ways to destroy a nitro car are using dirty air filters. This is a quick way to get dirt and grime inside your carburetor and engine—use a fresh and clean air filter every time you drive. The other way is by using ripped exhaust gaskets—avoid a terrible engine tune by replacing the gaskets regularly.
7. Deferred Maintenance
Last but not least is the seventh way you’re destroying your RC car, and it’s by not giving it regular service maintenance. RC cars are just like real cars—they need to be maintained and serviced regularly.
Love it or hate it, regular maintenance is part of the hobby. Depending on how often you drive, you need to make sure everything is in working shape in somewhat regular intervals.
Regular maintenance includes things like:
- Checking on drivetrain binding as we explained in number five.
- Ensuring the tires are firmly glued to the wheels.
- Make sure the steering assembly moves freely.
- Replacing/refilling shock oil.
- Going through all the screws and nuts and making sure they are nice and tight.
- Cleaning and maintaining differentials.
- Make sure the suspension is not bound up. Click below for an in-depth video on suspension binding.