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7 Top Tips for Maintaining and Replacing Your RC Car Suspension Components

7 Top Tips for Maintaining and Replacing Your RC Car Suspension Components

Great suspension is the secret behind a smooth, responsive RC car - just as it is with the car you’d drive to work or around a track.

Aside from impacting vehicle speed, the right suspension system can also enhance control and durability. Fail to acknowledge the importance of this system, and you’ll be stuck driving a car that just doesn’t feel satisfying to drive.

However, while it’s all well and good investing in a high-quality suspension system, it still won’t give you the level of performance you’re looking for unless you’re taking the time to properly maintain it and promptly replace it when necessary.

That’s what we’re covering in this guide - the seven crucial tips for maintaining and replacing your RC car suspension components. 

With these tips, you'll not only understand the key elements of your vehicle's suspension system and how they work together, but you'll also learn how to maximize your RC car's performance while extending the lifespan of its principal parts.

Let's get into it.

#1 - Familiarize Yourself with Suspension Components

Whether you're new to the realm of RC cars or a seasoned hobbyist, a deep understanding of the suspension components is crucial. When you know how it works, you know what it should and shouldn’t look like. Thus, you can make decisions to keep it running in tiptop condition.

Typically, an RC car's suspension system comprises key elements such as shocks, springs, and suspension arms. See the header image of this guide as a reference, just smaller and designed for an RC car.

The shocks, also known as dampers, absorb impact and help the tires maintain contact with the ground for optimal traction. Say you drive off a ledge; these take in the force of the impact so the rest of the car doesn't. Typically, these consist of an oil-filled cylinder and a piston.

Springs work hand-in-hand with the shocks. As shocks absorb hits, springs control the suspension's movement, allowing the car to bounce back to its normal state post-impact and continue driving as normal as possible.

Suspension arms hold the wheels and provide the up-and-down movement space needed when the car encounters a bump.

Understand these and you’ll know how to identify any potential problems with your RC car, usually when carrying out an inspection.

#2 - Regularly Inspect Your Suspension System

Establishing an inspection routine is key to the longevity of your RC car's suspension system.  How else are you going to find any potential damage, wear and tear, or faulty hardware after thrashing your car around a track?

As with everything in life, prevention is always better than cure, and checking your car over early could save you from seriously damaging your car, which may lead to expensive repair bills when they escalate.

Here's what to look for during your suspension inspection:

  • Bent or damaged arms: Keep an eye out for any bending or deformation in the suspension arms, as they directly affect the car's handling and stability.
  • Worn shock absorbers: Check the shocks for leakage or damage, as this may indicate worn seals or damage to the piston and body, necessitating repair or replacement for efficient performance.

Also, stay alert for any other irregularities. 

Uneven tire wear, for instance, or an unresponsive vehicle may signify an underlying suspension-related issue. The sooner you detect and address these problems, the better supported your RC car will be on the track.

#3 - Clean and Lubricate Suspension Components

Keeping your RC car's suspension components clean and well-lubricated ensures they function effectively. This is the maintenance side of things you need to be aware of.

Regardless of whether your car’s in storage or being raced around, dust, dirt, and grime buildup slows down the suspension movement, reducing your car's performance and risks damaging it.

Therefore, after each run and during your inspections, use a brush to remove loose debris, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

For deep cleaning, carefully disassemble the components. Use nitro cleaner or isopropyl alcohol for plastic parts and mild detergent for metal parts. Dry everything thoroughly after cleaning to prevent corrosion.

You’ll also want to apply lubrication, which reduces friction to ensure components move smoothly for optimal suspension performance. Silicone lubricants work well for most plastic and metal RC parts, but always check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific model.

Remember, over-lubricating can attract dust and other debris, causing premature wear. Apply just enough to create a thin, protective layer. 

#4 - Adjust Suspension for Different Terrain and Driving Styles

You’ve probably heard of hard and soft suspension and how driving on a grass track is far different than driving on tarmac. It’s true, just like a traditional car, so to ensure your car drives right, you should adapt your suspension system depending on the terrain.

This can not only improve the longevity of your car, but will dramatically improve performance. 

Here are a few adjustment tips:

  • Spring Tension: Looser springs offer better grip on rough terrain, while stiffer springs suit smoother surfaces.
  • Shock Oil: Thicker oil slows suspension movement, improving handling on high-speed tracks. Lighter oil lets the suspension react faster, which can be beneficial on bumpy tracks.
  • Suspension Geometry: Altering the angle of the suspension arms affects handling. Lowering the inner mount typically offers improved response and higher cornering speed.

Remember, every adjustment influences the car's behavior. Experiment carefully, make one change at a time, and observe the effects to fine-tune your vehicle perfectly. 

And don’t forget to have fun with it - this is what being an RC car owner is all about!

#5 - Replace Worn or Damaged Suspension Components ASAP

One of the most unavoided aspects of having an RC car is that the parts are going to experience wear and tear and will need repairing and replacing at some point. There’s really nothing you can do about it.

However, to ensure you maintain performance and keep your passion cost-effective, proactiveness is key.

This means replacing compromised parts in a timely fashion that not only prevents potential performance drops but also guards against unnecessary wear or damage to other components.

Keep a lookout for common signs of wear, such as:

  • Leaking shock absorbers, indicating worn seals or internal damage
  • Bent or cracked suspension arms affect handling
  • Compromised bearings render the suspension less efficient
  • Invest in high-quality replacements,
  • Always keep spare parts handy for swift repair, but when possible, consider upgrading to more durable or high-performance components. 

Upgraded parts often withstand wear and tear better, boosting your vehicle's overall performance while reducing the frequency of necessary replacements.

#6 - Upgrade Suspension Components for Enhanced Performance

While we’re on the subject of upgrading, it’s worth noting that the best way to get increased performance from your car is to simply get a better part.

Enhanced parts boost performance and increase durability, making your vehicle better equipped for challenging races. 

Here are some upgrade suggestions:

  • Shock Absorbers: Upgrade to aluminum-bodied shocks, as they generally have better heat dissipation, leading to consistent performance throughout the race.
  • Suspension Arms: Many aftermarket options, like carbon fiber or CNC-machined aluminum arms, provide increased rigidity and durability over stock variants.
  • Springs: Performance-grade springs with various stiffness levels ensure optimum setup for specific terrains, enhancing traction and handling.

Consider your driving style, racing environment, and budget when selecting upgrades. It is important to strike the right balance among these factors and avoid over-investing in unnecessary modifications. 

Remember, targeted improvements will yield the best results for a truly outsized impact on your RC car's performance.

#7 - Test and Fine-tune Your Suspension Setup

And that’s pretty much it.

Follow these tips and you’ll see a huge leap in the performance of your RC car, as well as how it handles. However, you need to remember that you drive your car your way, and the set up one driver has may not be the set up that works best for you.

Even if you have the same car.

The best bit about being an RC car owner is the fact that your ride is your own, and this means being creative, thinking outside the box, and understanding that fine-tuning your RC car's suspension is a dynamic process

After every modification or replacement, it's essential to test drive your vehicle to evaluate the changes. If not, you're never going to know if you did it right or not, and this risks causing damage to your ride.

You only need to test for a few minutes, but note how your RC car handles different surfaces, turns, and speeds. Check the car's balance and responsiveness. If the car doesn't handle as expected, you may need to return to your workspace for tweaks.

Adjustments may include altering spring tension, changing the shock oil, or repositioning the suspension arms. 

After each alteration, test drive again. 

Repeat this cycle until you balance your driving style and environment perfectly. This continual refining ensures your RC car is in optimal racing condition.

Conclusion

Keeping your RC car running smoothly requires diligent suspension maintenance, and it simply takes a bit of care and attention from you to ensure your RC suspension is ready to roll at all times and will continue to perform for years to come.

Follow these tips to boost your RC car's lifespan, handling, and reliability. 

And for high-quality suspension parts, turn to Bezgar.com

Our selection of shocks, arms, springs, and more will take your vehicle's performance to the next level!

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