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9 Essential Maintenance Tips to Keep Your RC Car Running Smoothly

9 Essential Maintenance Tips to Keep Your RC Car Running Smoothly

For RC enthusiasts, few things beat the thrill of driving your customized radio-controlled car at top speeds across challenging terrain. The excitement of pushing these miniature marvels of engineering to their limits is second to none.

However, like every kind of machine, RC cars require proper maintenance and care to stay in top condition. Neglect the key maintenance tasks they need, and there's no doubt you'll soon end up with a busted RC that spends more time on the repair bench than out on the track or trail.

Fortunately, maintenance doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming, especially when you know what you're doing.

This guide reveals nine must-know maintenance tips that every RC owner should follow. From inspecting vital parts to proper storage, these best practices for preserving your RC car will help you avoid costly repairs and downtime. 

Let's get right into it.

#1 - Check and Replace Worn Parts

First and foremost, when parts of your RC car gets worn, replace them with newer ones to avoid damage.

Zipping around the track or climbing rocky hills puts a lot of stress on your RC car's components. Over time, this creates the general wear and tear we all expect from our cars.

However, the trick is to find the best time to switch. Replace your parts too early, and you’ll be throwing away perfectly good parts that still have usage in them. Leave the parts too long, they can hinder your car's performance and may even damage your car in the event of a crash.

Your best bet is to routinely inspect your car and replace worn parts using your own judgment. You can do this by giving your car a thorough look-over before and after each use. 

Check the tires for bald spots or cracks, examine the belts and gears for damage or stripped teeth, inspect the shocks and arms for leaks or looseness. 

It takes just a few minutes but can save you a lot of money in the long term.

#2 - Clean After Each Use

Nothing deteriorates an RC car's performance faster than a thick layer of grime inside and out. Dirt, dust, mud, and debris will rapidly build up both externally and internally as you drive your car. 

However, a thorough clean is sure to sort things out and keep your car components fresh.

Start by wiping down the exterior with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt build-up. Then use a small brush to dislodge debris packed into crevices and financials. Pay extra attention to cleaning mud and gunk off the chassis, as this adds unnecessary weight.

Next, open up the shell and inspect critical components like the motors, electronics, gears, and drivetrain for any lubricant residue, metal shavings, or environmental debris. Use cotton swabs and cleaning solvent to safely remove built-up grime.

Cleaning lets you spot worn parts early and prevents gritty dirt from acting like sandpaper inside the chassis. Trapped pollutants can grind away metal powertrain components and clog sensitive electronics.

You may even want to finish up with compressed air to blast away any final debris. 

#3 - Use Proper Lubrication

Lubrication is the lifeblood of any RC car. 

Moving parts like gears, drive shafts, and bearings need slick lubricant to prevent friction and wear.

In addition to lubricating your car parts regularly, make sure you use lubricants explicitly designed for RC cars, like lightweight silicone-based oils and greases. 

These maintain viscosity across a wide temperature range. General-purpose lubricants are too thick and sticky, attracting dirt and gunking up mechanisms.

Apply just a tiny drop or two of RC oil to critical parts like axles, suspension joints, steering linkages, and drivetrain components. Use a toothpick to spread grease onto the gears. 

Just make sure you don't over-lubricate, as excess oil will spray out at high RPMs.

#4 - Check for Loose Parts

The intense vibrations generated by RC cars can shake loose even the tightest screws, bolts, and fittings over time. That's why frequently checking for loose parts is necessary to prevent mechanical failure.

Give your car a hard shake and visual inspection before and after each use. Gently rock the vehicle back and forth, feeling for any sloppiness indicating loose hardware. Also, listen for any rattling noises as you shake the car.

Visually inspect suspension arms, shock towers, chassis braces, and other components for any obvious looseness. Examine the gears, pins, driveshafts, and motor mount for signs of loosening as well.

Make sure you use the appropriate size hex wrench to tighten any loose screws or bolts, being careful not to over-tighten. For continuously loose parts, use thread-locker glue to help secure the hardware.

#5 - Clean and Protect Electronics

The sensitive electronic components like the receiver, servo motors, speed control, and onboard computer are the brains of your RC car. Keeping the electronics clean, dry, and protected is critical for reliability.

Compressed air routinely blows out dust and debris from electronic enclosures and circuit boards. Check for any corroded connections or damaged wires, too. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently clean any dirt or oxidation off contacts.

If your car gets wet, immediately detach the battery and dry out the electronics with compressed air. Allow components to fully air dry before reconnecting power. Trapped moisture can rapidly damage circuits and sensitive servo motors.

Consider covering exposed circuit boards with dielectric grease or silicone conformal coating. This protective layer repels dirt and water for improved durability in wet conditions.

Store your RC car with the shell on indoors, away from dirt, moisture, and temperature extremes that can damage electronics. With clean and protected electronics, your vehicle will operate consistently race after race, even in demanding conditions.

#6 - Check Battery Health

The rechargeable battery pack provides the power that drives your RC car to electrifying speeds. That's why monitoring battery health and adequately caring for your batteries is essential.

Examine battery packs before and after each use for any signs of damage, such as cracked cases, leaking fluid, or corroded terminals. Also, check for swelling, which indicates failing lithium-ion cells. Damaged or swollen packs must be appropriately disposed of.

Use the appropriate charger for your battery type and follow the manual's charging guidelines. Overcharging batteries can damage cells or cause overheating. Store batteries at room temperature and around 40% charge state for maximum longevity.

Performance will suffer as batteries age. Pay attention to shortened runtimes after a full charge, which signals fading batteries. Completely discharge, then fully recharge older packs once per month to help maintain capacity.

#7 - Adjust Gear Mesh

Achieving proper gear mesh keeps your RC car's transmission running smoothly for maximum efficiency and acceleration, but general vibrations can throw off gear alignment over time, making periodic adjustments critical.

Consult your user manual for the manufacturer's procedure for accessing and adjusting the gear mesh. Typically, you'll loosen the motor mount screws, use shims to tweak spacing, then re-tighten the motor.

The goal is to have the pinion and spur gears just barely touching without binding when rotated by hand. Too loose, and the gears clatter under load. Too tight, and excess friction will prematurely wear the teeth.

#8 - Balance Wheels and Tires

At top speeds, an out-of-balance wheel and tire combo can cause vibrations that hamper handling and strain the drivetrain. Periodically balancing your RC's wheels keeps things running smoothly.

Carefully clean the tires and wheels to remove any dirt or debris first. Then, spin each wheel slowly and look for any wobbling motion indicating imbalance. Mark the light spot on the tire that consistently points up when the wheel stops.

For minor balancing, attach small self-adhesive wheel weights opposite the light spot on the rim to counterbalance. Heavier weights may be needed on larger monster truck tires.

Alternatively, detach the tires and pack modeling clay into the cavity behind the light spot on the rim before re-mounting the tire. This also helps absorb noise and vibration.

#9 - Store Properly Between Uses

Proper storage of your RC car is vital for its longevity and performance. Store it in an excellent, dry, well-ventilated space away from sunlight and extreme temperatures to prevent damage and deterioration.

Before storing, ensure a thorough cleaning to remove any dirt or grime. Also, remove the batteries and drain fuel from nitro-powered models to avoid leaks, residue build-up, and battery drain.

Consider lifting your car off its wheels or removing them to prevent deformities from long-term weight bearing. Protect your car further from dust and pollutants with a cover or storage bag.

Also, keep necessary tools, cleaning supplies, and spare parts nearby for efficient maintenance and repair needs. Proper storage benefits both the lifespan of your RC car and its performance, keeping it race-ready for your next high-speed adventure.

Wrapping Up

In short, taking good care of your RC car pays dividends. By following these essential maintenance tips, you'll extend its lifespan and enjoy enhanced performance and reliability.

Now go give your Bezgar RC car some TLC - it's waiting for you! Proper maintenance will allow you to reap the full benefits of its engineering and have countless hours of adrenaline-pumping fun.

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