I’ve always had a need for speed, and that even extends to my hobbies. I was curious how I could make an rc car go faster, but without changing out the motor.
Whether you have an rc car with one of the old style brushed motors, or one of the newer brushless electric motors, or even a nitro powered motor, read on below to find out how to make it go faster.
If you are about to buy an rc car, go for one with a brushless motor – they have a much higher power output for the weight, and require much less maintenance.
In summary, here’s what you need to do to make your RC car go faster with the same motor:
- Switch Out Your RC Car’s Tires
- Upgrade The Batteries
- Adjust The Gear Ratios
- Change the Wheel bearings
- Ditch The Weight
- Practise Your Technique
For more on how to make your rc car go faster with the same motor, read on below:
- 1. Switching Out Your RC Car’s Tires
- 2. Install Ceramic Ball Bearings in the Wheels
- 3. Upgrade the Batteries of Your RC Car
- 4. Adjust the Gear Ratio of Your RC Car
- 5. Upgrade The Speed Controller
- 6. Reduce The Weight of Your RC Car
- 7. Practise Your Technique and Learn How to Work The RC Car
1. Switching Out Your RC Car’s Tires
A bad pairing of tires and the surface they run on can be the biggest reason for low speed in RC cars. So, switching out your RC car’s tires, alternating between different sets, according to the terrain you’re driving on is a great way to maximise speed.
For example, slicks are the way to go if you’re driving on tarmac or road, whereas full spikes are a better bet for slipper grass or muddy terrains.
Here are typical slicks for a 1/10 rc car; more details here.
Smooth tires will not do you any favours on surfaces where you’ll find it hard to get traction, like indoor tiling. If you’re playing on carpet, you should opt for mini pin tires. These will give your tires some much needed grip and control.
Alternatively, mini spikes are a perfect choice for an all-round good grip and performance on multiple surfaces and are, by far, the most common and popular choice.
When you are changing out your tires, make sure you do not skimp on low end, low quality and cheap ones. By using high quality tires, you will definitely increase the traction you get, and consequently the speed. Premium ones will glide across those tricky corners all that better, and much faster than normal ones.
Good tires can last anywhere between 3-5 months. Cheap tires are not as sturdy or durable, and will not only mean poor traction for your RC cars, but also, in the end, you will end up spending more money in the long run when you have to keep replacing the cheap ones that keep getting worn out.
2. Install Ceramic Ball Bearings in the Wheels
Changing out your steel wheel bearings for ceramic will give you less rolling resistance and an increase in speed.
3. Upgrade the Batteries of Your RC Car
Sometimes, upgrading your motor might just not be an option at the moment, but that shouldn’t come in the way of your quest for speed, should it? So, how to make your RC car go faster with the same motor?
You change or upgrade the batteries, of course.
Li-Po vs Ni-Mh Batteries
Li-Po batteries, or Lithium polymer batteries are a popular choice, when upgrading your batteries from a nickel-metal hydride battery (Ni-Mh). Most ready-to-run RC cars usually come equipped with a Ni Mh battery pack. Heavier than Lithium batteries, their voltage will decrease steadily and rapidly once the package is discharged, which means that your car will gradually run slower once you start driving it.
Ni-Mh batteries are also heavier.
Lithium batteries are lighter than the Ni-Mh batteries and have the ability to maintain the voltage longer than the latter. These batteries will deliver steady voltage for a major part of your drive, but towards the end of its capacity, it will drop off rather quickly.
Lithium batteries are however costlier than the nickel batteries, but like we read before, they last longer and save you some money in the long run by not forcing you to keep replenishing your stash of batteries often.
If your RC car already has a Li-Po battery and you are still looking to increase the speed, then you might consider upgrading from a 2-cell lithium battery to a three-cell one. The 3-cell battery pack will definitely offer you an increase voltage output and subsequently, more power, which could be up to a third more, and hence speed.
But, remember that the 3-cell batteries weigh more, and your RC car will need a steady hand to control the power it packs. Don’t crash your car in the process if you’re new to handling that level of power from your RC car.
If you want to know more about batteries, and how to make your rc car run for longer, check out this post, here.
4. Adjust the Gear Ratio of Your RC Car
What is gear ratio?
A gear ratio is merely the number of teeth or grooves that one gear, the pinion gear has, divided by the number of teeth that its counterpart, the spur gear, has. They play a huge role in giving you much better control of speed and also torque.
Adjusting the gear ratio is the cheapest way to increase the speed of your RC. By upgrading your pinion and spur gears, you can have much better acceleration and speed.
The Pinion Gear
The pinion gear is usually made from aluminium, steel or titanium, is directly attached to your motor and comes in different pitches and sizes. The rule of thumb is that the more teeth your pinion gear has, the faster your RC car will go.
If you’re upgrading your pinion gear, remember not to increase the teeth by too many at once, but instead one or two at a time. Otherwise, your car will heat up.
Here’s a set of pinion gears for a 1/10 RC Car, such as the Traxxas Redcat Tamiya Losi Arrma RC car. It provides an option of being able to change your gear ratio for different track conditions. More details can be found on Amazon, here.
The Spur Gear
The spur gear is the larger plastic gear turned by the pinion gear and adjusting this will either increase the top speed and quicker acceleration, but will be less noticeable than what you’ll see when you adjust your pinion gear.
When you decrease the size of the spur gear, you get higher top speed, but less acceleration and when you increase the size, you will have faster acceleration but with a lower top speed. This is why you will need to replace or upgrade both the pinion gear and the spur gear for the best of both worlds.
Here’s a typical spur and pinion set, compatible with Redcat Lightning EP Drift, Lightning EPX PRO, Sandstorm, Sandstorm TK, Tsunami EPX, Volcano Epx/epx PRO, Vortex Epx/epx PRO 1/10 Scale RC Trucks and other rc cars. More details can be found here.
5. Upgrade The Speed Controller
Want 5 to 10 mph more out of your rc car? You might be able to adjust the timing of your motor to make it go faster, by adjusting the speed control.
Speed controllers sit between the battery and the motor, and regulate the amount of current being pushed through to the motor, and hence speed control. They can be either mechanical, or electronic speed controllers, the latter having features to easily advance the timing of the motor electronically, and, as speed contollers go, respond faster to demands from the motor.
Speed controllers can make an rc car a lot faster with very few mechanical changes. However, messing about with the speed contol and timing of the motor could have disastrous consequences and cause severe damage if used incorrectly.
Here’s a typical Speed Controller for a 1/10 RC Car with brushless motor. More details, and questions answered, here.
6. Reduce The Weight of Your RC Car
RC car 101 is that your car will move faster if it doesn’t have heavy parts, or extra fittings weighing it down. With light weight and niftier parts, it is possible to modify your existing model and replace heavier parts with lighter counterparts. Parts made from materials like graphite, aluminium and light carbon are much lighter alternatives.
Also, changing out your batteries from nickel-metal hydride to lithium powered ones has an added benefit when it comes to speeding up your RC car. Ni-Mh batteries are much heavier than Lithium (LiPo) batteries. See above for more detail on this.
If your rc model of choice is a monster truck, there might be a lot of scope in reducing the weight, but most rc cars will have very little excess weight to shed; still, everything you can get will be worth it.
One downside to reducing the weight of your RC is that it might also simultaneously reduce traction. This might not be too much of a hindrance in any other aspect but that it might make navigating corners a little more complicated, especially if you are a novice.
If you are not used to handling an RC car that is light and fast, you might not be able to control it as it speeds by, and that might result in upending your car. So, keep an eye out and practise.
7. Practise Your Technique and Learn How to Work The RC Car
Speaking of practise, none of the above tips to increase the speed of your RC car will be effective unless you get out there and practise how to control it. Knowing how your car reacts when you control it will help you know the quirks, the kinks and the grooves.
You will know instinctively, as you practise, just how to make your RC car go faster with the same motor.