RC cars can get really expensive. They can cost anywhere between a few hundred, to thousands of dollars. It’s not like we buy RC cars to display them as a showpiece. We race with them, parts break, drive them over all sorts of smooth and rough terrains, yet the RC car might break in some sort of way. If you are new to the world of RC cars and ready to buy your first one, it is natural for you to wonder if RC cars break easily.
RC cars don’t break easily when the vehicle is driven appropriately, avoiding crashes, and a regular maintenance routine is kept. Glow plugs and gears usually need replacing regularly. Well maintained shocks lessen harsh impact on other parts. Choose a brand with a large selection of spare parts at your disposal.
As you might imagine, that is not all of it. There is much more there is to know. Many RC car lovers sometimes make common mistakes that can be easily avoided to prolong the life of your beloved vehicle. Let’s talk about all these and also some common issues with RC cars.
How Long Do RC Cars Last?
If an RC car is used properly and no major mistakes are made when building it, it should last for a long time. A brushless RC car motor will last anywhere between 1000 to 3000 hours on average. A Nitro engine can last from 40 to 70 hours of run time.
Please see my related article on nitro engines here
That’s quite a range. Many people have a poor idea of RC car longevity as their only previous experience with RC cars were toy-grade RC cars. Enthusiast grade RCs are much different to toys having more advanced parts and build quality. Real RC cars are much different having more durability.
However, most people may feel that their car kicked the bucket sooner than expected. Chances are that it is most likely a cause of rough driving. It can also be because you are using poor quality components or overworking the mechanism.
All things mechanical do have a shelf life. I do not think RC cars break easily. You need to avoid the typical common mistakes most people make. And also buy quality components for your RC car. Very high-quality premium components can be expensive though. So, that is something to keep in mind.
Common Issues That Might Cause An RC Car to Not Work
Since RC cars have a lot of components that make up the package, there can be some common issues. Many people may forget to check for these when building their first RC cars. Hey, do not feel bad. Even experienced RC car enthusiasts sometimes overlook it. Here are some common issues to keep an eye out for.
Faulty or Wrong Battery Installation
Speaking of very obvious things, the batteries can be a cause of a lot of headaches. RC cars will need batteries to run properly. Actually, without batteries, they will not run at all.
Improper battery installation will not help your case here. The car will not run. Batteries are another common thing some people miss checking on.
If you installed the batteries correctly and still cannot seem to get the car working, it might be the batteries themselves. They may be too old or corroded. Time to replace them with new ones.
If you feel its time to replace the batteries on your RC car, you can check out a wide selection here, on Amazon
NiMH Or Lipo Battery?
Check to see if you are using a NiMH or a lipo battery for your RC car. Lipo batteries are more powerful than NiMH batteries. Make sure your RC car is set up to handle the extra power from a lipo battery. This could mean changing your gears and upgrading the motor.
Also, check you are using the correct type of charger for the type of battery that you are using.
If you have any doubts, visit your local hobby shop and get some expert advice
For more on Lipo batteries, you can visit my article here
Mis-aligned Transmitter and Frequencies
Okay, let’s get a bit technical. Misaligned transmitters and frequencies are another common problem. This is mostly faced by those who have multiple RC cars. It can be very easy to unintentionally misalign the frequencies and transmitter which can cause your RC car not to work.
To fix this, all you need to do is to make sure the transmitter and frequencies match and voila! You should be all good. You can check the bottom of the car or maybe near the battery compartment to check for the exact figures.
Sometimes the transmitter and frequencies might not match no matter what you try. Then you just need a new and correct transmitter.
The antenna for RC cars can either be telescoped on the car itself or the transmitter. Many people unnecessarily deal with bad signals when their antennas are not fully extended. This can lead to a poor signal.
And poor signals will naturally mean poor responsiveness of your RC car and the range will be reduced as well. If you feel like the responsiveness of your car is bad or the range seems lower than before, then check to see whether or not the antennas are fully extended.
Apart from the extension of the antenna, you also need to check if it is properly installed in the first place. Some antennas can get twisted up or be broken. This will also lead to handling and driving issues.
Other than that there could be issues with the antenna itself and you might need to replace it.
Antennas are quite cheap, you can see a selection here, on Amazon, to suit your needs.
A common problem with RC cars is they may not respond to all actions you make on the transmitter. For example, the car may move forward, but the wheels will not turn. This kind of unresponsiveness may be a sign of a bad servo.
You can try unplugging the servos and re-plugging them to see if that works or not. You can plug it into another receiver and then match the frequencies. If it is still not working it is time to replace the servos outright.
Steering problems are important problems that need to be fixed. The servo horn and servo may be faulty.
Try to buy RC cars from the most reputable brands like ARMA, Axial, Traxxas, Xray, etc. Being popular brands you’ll easily find damaged parts replacements for products of these brands.
As mentioned above, check to see if the brand of RC car that you are choosing has a large selection of spare parts and upgrades. Trust me, these are something that every RC enthusiast needs!
The most common reliable brands for spare parts and upgrades are: Traxxas, Arrma, Axial, Tamiya, to mention a few.
How to Keep RC Cars from Damage?
You can expand the life of your RC car by avoiding any of the following. If you avoid the following things that Im about to mention, you will keep your beloved RC car from damage. So, let’s get started.
Do Not Dunk It in Water
I know what you might be thinking. Why would anyone dunk their RC cars in water? Well, the thing is many RC cars advertise being waterproof. So, some users may mistake this and think that their car can be submerged. Submerging and waterproofing are not the same things.
Usually, when The RC car says “water-proof” on the box, it means you are ok to go through puddles, this doesn’t mean you can drive directly into a pond!
I highly recommend that any time your RC car gets wet, you check it afterwards and dry it off. There are metal parts that can rust easily if left unattended.
Also, when you are cleaning your car, do not use excessive amounts of water and/or submerge it in water. Clean it with care and follow the proper steps. This brings me to the next point.
The next thing to remember is the very fact that you need to clean the car with care. All RC cars are meant to be driven outdoors. They are robust and some come with high-quality motors and parts.
So, driving them outside is very fun. I get that. But that has the natural consequence of getting the car dirty as well. When it is time to clean the car, you need to make sure you remove any dirt that could impede any parts from functioning properly.
Routine Maintenance is a Must
If you are serious about prolonging the life of your RC car and want the best use from it, I highly encourage you to schedule routine maintenance. Whether the car is working properly or not, you will need to check up on the car to see if anything seems off. This may help you spot potential future pain points and take care of them early on.
Other things you need to keep in mind are not overusing lubricants, see my related article here, don’t over-tighten nuts and bolts.
Caution when using larger tires! This will put extra stress on the gears. If you use larger wheels, you need to adjust the gears as well.
Well, there you have it. If you do proper routine maintenance and do not make any mistakes like damaging the car while driving, it should last you for quite some time.
Remember that all mechanical things will eventually break. But they do not need to break prematurely.
I must add this, you have an awesome RC car at your disposal. You haven’t paid all this money so you can wrap it up in cotton wool.
Race it, bash it, jump it to your heart’s content. Have fun with your RC car. These things can take a pounding, just remember these will have an impact on the lifespan of your RC car.
I hope that you have found this article helpful. Please check out some of my other content to help you in this great hobby.