Whether you own one hundred RC Cars or you're new to the hobby, we all want to get as much mileage out of our little cars as possible. RC Car stores will often handle maintenance for you, but RC aficionados often like to handle repairs themselves. This is a great way to save on costs and to control what parts you're using on your RC cars, but everyone makes mistakes. Make sure that your RC cars stay running for a long time by avoiding these five, common RC car maintenance mistakes:
- The Mistake: Dunking Your Car in Water
You don't play around, your RC car tackles dirt and mud; not some neat, clean race track. This is fine as long as the RC car was made for off-roading and you take proper care to clean it. Washing it indiscriminately, however, is not proper care. Water will degrade the paint if it's water-soluble, not to mention the way water will get trapped in the frame. Rust is the last thing you want!
The Solution: Clean with Care
Now, water can be a perfect solution for cleaning the body. But you should remove it from the chassis, clean it separately, and allow it to dry. Use denatured alcohol or a specialized cleaner sparingly to soften dirt that's caked onto the chassis, and remove it with a fine-tooth brush or towel. Compressed air is your best friend for blowing away grime without using water.
- The Mistake: Overusing Lubricants
Your RC cars are well-oiled machines - literally! Bearings, shocks, bushing - if it moves, you oil it and make sure it's running smooth. This is one of those cases of too much of a good thing. Excessive oil use will attract dust and dirt, which brings a range of negative effects. Dirt can clump up and disrupt normal operation for your RC cars, not to mention the extra wear on the parts.
The Solution: Moderation
Like steak, ice cream, and politics, lubricants are best in moderation. Only use as much as is needed to allow the parts to run smoothly, and only add more oil gradually. If parts need to be oiled, then oiling them once a month or so should be more than enough. If you don't run your RC cars that much, then even that could be excessive. Additionally, many modern RC cars use rubber-sealed parts that never need to be oiled.
- The Mistake: Over-Tightening Nuts and Screws
A first-time RC car owner often makes this key mistake while assembling their first kit, and it can be fatal. Screws that have been tightened too much can damage the frame or impair normal use. For instance, the car will struggle to run if you tighten the nuts on the wheels too much. The parts only need to be secured to each other, not paralyzed.
The Solution: Know When to Stop
When securing nuts, it's good practice to tighten mechanically until you feel more resistance and then see if you can tighten it just a bit with your bare fingers. 'Finger tight' is a guiding principle that has helped apprentice plumbers, mechanics, and new RC car owners. Screws need to be firm, but tightening them to the limit is never necessary or a good idea.
- The Mistake: Running with Damaged Parts
You're as fearless an RC car driver as there's ever been. You've danced around obstacle courses, conquered the tallest ramps and jumps, and outran dozens of excitable neighborhood pets. However, your cherished RC car took a nasty collision the other day. A few parts are banged up, but it's still running fine... right?
Not right - parts that are chipped, bent, or cracked are likely affecting the performance of your vehicle in ways you're not yet noticing. Additionally, they'll typically suffer accelerated wear and tear. Damage to parts of the suspension will get worse and worse during normal use until they break. The consequences will depend on precisely where your RC car is when the suspension finally gives out, but it hopefully won't happen during a race.
The Solution: Replace Damaged Parts
If it looks like your car is running fine, you might not want to shell out for the cost of replacement parts. However, unreliable parts might fail at the worst moment and force you to replace the whole car! Be proactive - when you take your car apart for routine maintenance, make sure the parts are all in good shape. If you notice signs of damage, such as uneven wear and tear, cracking, or bending, replace that part. On that note, make sure you're doing routine maintenance.
- The Mistake: Forgetting About Routine Maintenance
This sounds like an elementary issue, but you'd be surprised how many people underestimate the care they should provide their RC car. Components like spokes and differentials need to be examined and serviced from time to time.
The Solution: Schedule Routine Maintenance
If you're running your RC car regularly, running a thorough check-up once a month is a good idea. Check the fluid within the shocks and if the color is dark grey or brown, replace it with fresh fluid. Check out your driveshafts and see if they're in need of a thorough cleaning: get rid of hard-to-reach dirt by removing them from the car and wash theming down with cleaning solvent.
Absolute Hobbyz Has You Covered
Every new owner of an RC car should be prepared to take care of their new vehicles if they want to get the best value out of them. Whether you drive them on pavement or take them off-roading, an RC car is bound to suffer wear and tear and attract dirt. Routine, preventative maintenance will save you on time, tears, and money, but all parts break eventually. Whenever you need new RC car parts, look no further than our collection of replacement parts at absolute hobbyz. We have parts for popular gas-powered RC cars as well as electric models to help with your RC car maintenance.