RC (radio controlled) cars, especially the nitro or gas powered RC
cars, are becoming increasingly popular. With speeds up to 70 mph,
realistic looks, and racing clubs in virtually every large city, it's
easy to see why.
If you want to join this exciting hobby, there're a few things you
should consider before you buy your first nitro-powered RC car. The
basic considerations are, size, type, 2 or 4-stroke motor, maintenance,
2 or 4 wheel drive, and Ready-To-Run (RTR) or kit cars.
The two most popular sizes to choose from are 1/8 and 1/10 scale.
1/10th scale is the industry standard for on-road racers, while 1/8th
is more popular for off-road trucks and buggies. The larger 1/8th scale
on road car comes standard with a 2 or 3 speed automatic transmission.
The touring and racing cars are are the popular choice for on-road use.
For best performance, they should be run on a smooth surface.
Trucks and buggies are the choice if off-road action is what you want.
Though not as fast as the touring and racing styles, they are still
very impressive and extremely rugged as well. And since a smooth
surface is not required, they also have the advantage of being able to
run just about anywhere.
Nitro powered RC motors come available in the popular 2-stroke or the
less conventional 4- stroke versions. The primary difference is that
the 2-stroke motor, much like a weed eater or chain saw, requires a
fuel oil mixture. The 4-stroke motor has an oil reservoir and can run
on straight fuel. The 2 stroke engine has the advantage of producing
higher rpm's (revs up faster) and is more suitable for racing. The 4
stroke engine has more power and torque and is better for off road use.
The most popular 2-stroke motor is the 23cc (cubic centimeter)
displacement engine. It's popularity is due to the amazing 2.5 HP of
output it produces. The resulting high speeds and acceleration are what
RC racers love.
Additionally, motors come with or without a pull start. The ones
without a pull start are cheaper, but you'll also need a starter box.
Maintenance for Nitro Powered RC Cars
Maintenance is a definite requirement of running a nitro powered
vehicle. Most hobbyist love tweaking and tuning their vehicles. In
addition, you'll need to maintain certain parts such as:
Pull start cord
2 or 4 Wheel Drive
If you're new to the hobby, you'll find a 2wd car less expensive and
easier to work on. The 4wd car has the advantage of better traction and
handling in turns which makes it a better choice when you're ready to
Kits or Ready to Run (RTR) RC Cars
Nitro powered RC cars come in kits or ready-to-run right from the box.
The primary difference is the whether you want to save time with a RTR
car or save money with a kit. However, because of the assembly process,
kits better prepare you for required maintenance.
If you choose to build an RC car, don't expect to finish in one sitting.
To avoid mistakes, familiarize yourself with the instructions first and
get your work area prepared. Some of the things you'll need :
Small No. 1 and 2 Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
Soap - as a dry lubricant for tight parts
Extra fuel line - to hold screws while positioning
Needle nose and regular slip joint pliers
Hobby knife with no. 11 blades
When you assemble the car, make sure to work in a well-lit, uncluttered
area. You should keep the parts and tools separated using tin boxes,
trays, or even an old fishing tackle box.
These are a few of the basics you'll need to know before you buy your
first nitro RC car or truck. You should expect to pay around $600 for a
complete beginner setup. The price will vary a little depending on
whether you choose a kit or RTR and how many tools you need.
Whether you race or just practice by yourself, get ready for a lot of fun!