RC car maintenance

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Every vehicle requires regular maintenance. When it comes to radio-controled vehicles, the frequency of service will mainly depend on the type of vehicle, leisure or hobby, and what type of usage does the user have: racing, bashing, land, water etc.

RC car maintenance

Leisure vehicles are mostly designed for children use. They are sold ready-to-run and require little or no maintenance for normal usage.

Hobby vehicles on the other hand, designed for adult use, will require proper and regular maintenance. Regular servicing and inspection between runs will maintain optimal performance while increasing longevity and durability. Basic maintenance of an RC car includes cleaning, tightening the screws (crucial after the first few runs with a brand new car), checking the condition of the bearings and greasing them and replacing worn out or damaged components.

Cleaning of the car

View of front suspension for maintenance
View of front suspension on an Arrma Kraton

Maintenance of an RC car starts with the cleaning of the car after each use since dirt and water may cause the car to function improperly creating rust, friction and premature erosion of its parts. The preferred way of cleaning an RC car is to use compressed air either by using an air spray, a portable or a heavy duty blower. Compressed air will remove most dust and water and some blowers are even equiped with a broom to brush the car while compressed air ejects the dust particles.

When compressed air is not available using a soft brush and a cleaning cloth will remove excess dust and water. Never use greasy products since they will retain dust on the next run and may create even more damage than not cleaning the car. In case some dirt cannot be removed by normal cleaning, using a mild detergent and a toothbrush will help.

A special attention should be given to the cleaning of wheel bearings to remove any hay, dirt or grass that may have spun around the axles. Hay will sometimes get stuck between the rims and the outer wheel bearing, which may cause damage to the bearing and jam the drivetrain. It is recommended to remove the wheels of an RC car when cleaning it to make sure no hay got stuck around the bearings.

After-run maintenance

After each run, when possible, it is recommended to do a quick maintenance to:

  • Make sure that components are properly tightened and that no components are loose
  • Check the tightening of the screws on the servo arm, steering linkage, lower end of the shock absorbers, suspension arms and upper links. These specific screws are subject to spinning motion during runs and may come loose.
  • Check the condition of the bearings. Special care should be given to the amount of play in the bearings since excess play will result in wobbly wheels and tyres. Detection of increasing play after runs is a sign for worrn out bearings which may slow the spinning of the wheel when under weight, thus overloading the motor.
  • Properly clean and grease bearings (especially before and after driving in wet conditions) will extend the life span of bearings. Using a few drops of oil is sufficient to maintain bearrrings during a routine maintenance. Outer bearings are prone to wearing out fast and must be replaced with new ones as soon as excessive play is detected.
  • Check the condition of the drivetrain by wiggling the outdrive and look at the play between the bearings. Rolling the chassis on a flat surface will ensure the car rolls smoothly. Not considering the motor pinions noises, an RC car should always move freely without making any uncaracteristic sound.
  • Check proper function of the electronics specifically that all ESC and motor fans work (if present) and that wires arer undamaged. Prevent any wire from drooping and potentially getting in contact with the driveway, pinion gears or any moving part.
  • Clean the body using water and a sponge making sure to softly remove dirt and gravel first to prevent scratching.

In any case and in every maintenance of an RC car, it is recommended to use moderate tightening of the screws with a suitable tool. Over tightening will damage the threading of screws and prevent future removal.

Regular chassis, parts and body maintenance

An RC car is a complex piece of engineering which is submitted to enormous forces and stress. In order to allow for optimal performance and durabiliy, it is recommended to understand and maintain the different parts that compose an RC vehicle:

Chassis

The chassis of an RC car is the central component to which all other parts attach in one way or another. It's proper maintenance is key to the optimal performance of the vehicle.

Wheels and tyres

In RC, wheels and tyres connect the vehicle to the ground. Their choice and proper maintenance will decide on the overall performance of the vehicle.

  • Understanding RC wheels and tyres
  • Choosing wheels and tyres
  • Troubleshooting wheels and tyres issues
  • Wheels and tyres parts and maintenance
    • Wheels
    • Bearings
    • Tyres

Body

In RC, bodies are not only an easthetic part, they most importantly protect the chassis, the batteries and the electronics from damage. Choosing the right body and maintaining it properly will dramatically improve the durability and longevity of the car.

  • Understanding the RC body
  • Choosing the body
  • Troubleshooting body issues
  • Body parts and maintenance

Radio and receiver

Let's Talk RC car maintenance

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