When your car is dirty, you get it washed, but what about your RC car?
These remote-controlled machines run on electricity, so you’ll need to be extra careful when learning how to clean RC cars.
This way, you’ll have no hesitation when it comes to testing out the best RC cars on different tracks.
What Are Radio-Controlled Cars?
Radio or remote-controlled cars are small model vehicles that you can control from a distance through a specialized remote or transmitter.
These RC cars use various power sources.
The electric versions come with small but powerful rechargeable batteries.
It also uses either a brushed or brushless electric motor—the latter being more efficient and powerful but expensive and harder to maintain.
Then, there are fuel-powered RC or nitro cars.
These RC cars use a glow plug or a small internal combustion engine energized by a unique mixture of chemicals and oil.
Electric RC cars are more versatile as well as easier to upgrade and work with between the two.
How To Clean RC Car
Cleaning your RC car after every run ensures that your precious remote-controlled vehicle is always in peak condition.
Regular maintenance is equally important; thus, checking for damages while cleaning is necessary.
You can repair or even prevent further damage through proper care and maintenance.
The problem is, cleaning them after speeding through on- and off-road tracks might be challenging for RC car owners.
Fortunately, with enough patience combined with the correct tools, anyone can go through the cleaning process with ease.
Here’s how you can clean your remote-controlled cars the right way:
To make cleaning easier and effective, here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning RC cars with impressive results.
RC car hobbyists must make it a habit to clean their vehicles right after a spin and before storing them.
To start, make sure you have the following essential cleaning tools: a brush or a toothbrush, sponge, microfiber cloth, a can of compressed air, polish, and all-purpose cleaner.
Step 1: Remove the Batteries
Before doing any cleaning-related process, ensure you disconnect the RC car from its power source.
Doing this will prevent any short circuit issues with your model car’s electrical connections.
Step 2: Clean the Bearings, Chassis, and Electrical Wirings
Using a brush and compressed air, remove loose debris and dirt from the bearings, chassis, and electrical wirings.
Getting rid of dirt and loose debris will prevent them from getting stuck between the gears, which can cause rapid wear and tear.
They can also weaken the engine’s cooling efficiency, which may result in overheating.
Step 3: Remove and Clean the Tires
After removing all the loose dirt and debris, it is now time to carefully remove the tires for thorough cleaning.
When doing this, remember to cover the breathing holes in each tire to prevent water from seeping inside.
Using a toothbrush, scrub away the mud and any stuck debris on the tires. Then, rinse them with water using the low-pressure hose.
Too much debris and mud on the tires can decrease the car’s stability, causing vibrations because of weight imbalance on the four wheels.
After cleaning the tires, proceed to the RC car’s steering and suspension to remove dirt and debris.
Step 4: Spray with General Cleaner
If you have a waterproof remote-controlled car, you can clean it with a mixture of warm water and detergent.
Spray the warm water-detergent solution to the RC car’s bearings, chassis, suspension, and wheels to soften hardened mud or dirt.
Thoroughly clean your remote-controlled car with a toothbrush to ensure you remove all the stuck-on dirt.
For non-waterproof RC cars, start by removing dirt and debris from the chassis with alcohol wipes or denatured alcohol.
Dip a toothbrush in denatured alcohol or any general cleaner to clean the corners and nooks.
Step 5: Let the Car Dry
After cleaning, dry your RC car under the sun to get rid of excess moisture on the electric components and the chassis.
You can also speed up the process by using a low-pressure air blower to remove excess water.
Wiping the RC car with a soft cloth is another way of removing moisture.
Step 6: Look for Rusting Signs
Sometimes, old remote-controlled cars would show signs of rusting.
Check the vehicle after it has dried up to ensure that everything is okay.
You can use anti-rust sprays, such as WD-40 or other rust inhibitors, to remove early signs of rusting, especially on exposed parts like bearings and metal caps.
After spraying with the chemical, allow the model car to dry completely before reassembling.
Step 7: Clean the Shell
Bodies of remote-controlled cars are mostly made of highly durable plastic.
As such, you can clean it with a general cleaning solution.
Use a soft brush to remove any stuck-on dirt or debris on the plastic body while doing your best not to scratch it.
Next, wipe it down with a soft, dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.
One way to protect the plastic body is to cover it with a good and shiny quality polish readily available in the market.
Step 8: Lubricate Joints and Moving Parts
Cleaning would often wash away the lubricants from the RC car’s moving parts and joints.
In case it’s true, most instruction manuals recommend lubricating the drive train and suspension components properly.
Step 9: Reassemble
Once everything is completely dry, start reassembling your remote-controlled vehicle.
Deep Cleaning and Maintenance
Basic cleaning is essential to prevent your RC car’s components from rusting.
In addition to basic care, though, your car may require occasional deep cleaning and maintenance.
That said, RC car owners should have these essential tools for this purpose:
- Glow plug wrench (sometimes included in the RC car kit)
- Screwdrivers of different sizes
- Different oils for air filters and maintenance
- All-purpose grease for joints and ball bearings
- Screw-locking varnish
Here are the various ways of cleaning and maintaining the essential parts of your RC car.
1. Chassis Maintenance
We have made it clear that cleaning the RC car is vital to prolonging its lifespan and excellent performance after every run.
Using a brush or toothbrush will help you reach all of the model car’s elements to remove dirt and debris.
Check the car for breaks or cracks and ensure that all moving parts perform their essential functions.
Remember to closely look at all the screws, checking for loose ones so that you can tighten or replace them as needed.
This is one reason why it is vital to always have extra screws on hand at all times.
On the other hand, the screw-locking varnish will help prevent them from loosening.
Most manufacturers would mention or recommend a safe varnish for their RC cars in the user’s manual, so you don’t have to try different brands.
Perform all the needed repairs if you find even minor damage on the car’s chassis.
Doing this will eliminate the risk of having any significant issues on your next run.
Differentials, engine parts, shock absorbers, and suspension rods are some parts that need special attention.
2. Air Filter Maintenance
Maintaining the air filter is vital in protecting the engine from different abrasive dirt particles, like sand grains and dust.
Thus, it would be best if you clean it after each ride, along with regular maintenance, to extend the life of your RC car’s engine.
Disassembling the air filter is necessary so that you can thoroughly clean the individual parts.
Clean the outer layer under running water before allowing it to dry completely.
However, keep in mind that the inner foam layer of an air filter requires a different cleaning process.
First, rinse it with some oil and let it dry. Then, apply an even layer of air filter oil on the foam before putting it inside a plastic bag.
3. Proper Care for Engine
You can protect the engine after every run by treating it with some post-run oil.
To do this, empty the fuel pipes and tank first.
Next, remove the engine glow plug and the air filter and then put a drop of post-run oil in the fuel carburetor.
You can distribute the single drop of post-run oil by doing a dry run of the engine.
After the engine test run, screw the glow plug back before reattaching the air filter.
4. Batteries, Gear, and More
Accumulators and batteries are other RC car elements that require your special care and attention.
For safety reasons, you will want to check these components before going on a ride.
Also, the gears on your RC car require regular adjustments to ensure they are functioning as they should.
If there is a broken or missing gear while you are out on a spin, it is crucial to stop and do the necessary repairs or replacements.
Clean RC Car = Better Performance
Knowing how to clean RC cars properly will help you prolong their lifespan while ensuring excellent performance.
The key lies in cleaning them after every ride, a habit that all RC car enthusiasts should adopt.
After all, a well-maintained RC car ensures an overall smoother performance that will never fail in giving you the adrenaline rush you’re craving.