Speeding up your RC car is as exciting as stepping on the gas in a Lamborghini
Table of Contents
- Reasons to speed up your RC car
- How fast can be called fast
- What factors affect the speed of your remote control car
- Easiest Ways to speed up your RC car
- Boost the power
- Reduce the Weight
- Friction and resistance
- Final Tips
Reasons to speed up your RC car
Everybody always wants their RC cars to be the fastest in the hood.
Imagine that your brand new RC car is galloping down a muddy road, kicking up meters of mud, such a dusty scene you will enjoy a lot. So, what I mean is that the most powerful reason for us to upgrade and speed up an RC car is for fun!
What’s more, this is also a great opportunity for you to better understand the RC car components and driving principles, and enhance your hands-on ability.
However, a common misconception is that we need to get an expensive RC to get that impressive top speed. But is not true, you can just give the old beginner RC cars an upgrade to make them go faster in a cheap way.
How fast can be called fast
Normal RC car speed
Generally, a hobby-grade RC Car with a policy motor and a normal battery pack could produce a speed range of 10 to 70 mph. By the way, the world’s fastest ready-to-run RC car, Traxxas XO-1, can reach a hundred miles an hour out of box.
Speed of the fastest RC car (on the runway)
The RC car shown in the video below is supposed to be one of the fastest modified RC cars in the world, reaching a speed of 203 mph, which is close to the top speed of a Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce!
How fast could your RC car be
It is difficult for us to draw a conclusion on this issue. Because it depends on your rc car size, quality and your budget.
According to the video case above, it will cost about $5k-$6k to build the fastest RC car in the world which can run 200 mph. This is expensive. But luckily, if you’re just looking to hit 100mph, it won’t cost you much.
Actually, a 30mph stock RC car can be modified to reach 100mph easily, but I wouldn’t recommend you do it all in one go. I think newbies should upgrade their RC car incrementally, 10mph each time is a relatively good practice.
Note: You can use a GPS Speed Meter to accurately measure your RC car speed.
What factors affect the speed of your remote control car
In general, the factors that affect the speed of your remote control car can be classified into three categories, the most important are power, followed by the weight of the RC car, and finally friction and resistance.
Power of your RC car
The power of the remote control car is mainly affected by three components: battery, motor, and ESC. The battery provides the power source for the remote control car, but it does not directly output power to the motor but outputs to the ESC first. The ESC will adjust the strength of power and then transmits it to the motor.
In general, the greater the battery energy, the greater the voltage output by the ESC, the higher the motor speed, the stronger the power of the RC car, and finally the faster the speed.
Body weight of your RC car
At the time of this writing, most 1:10 Scale RC Cars weigh between 2-3.5kg, which includes the motor, ESC, receiver, battery pack, car body shell, and transponder.
How does weight affect your RC car’s speed?
According to an experiment from RCGroups (not rigorous but informative), when an RC Car reduces its weight by 100g, the time for the RC car to travel 10m will be shortened by 0.05 seconds (in other words, the speed is increased by 0.3 mph), the experiment can draw a general conclusion: the lower the weight, the faster the car. Therefore, doing weight reduction for your remote control car is a good way to speed up an RC car.
Friction and resistance
The first type of friction is the friction between the wheel and the ground. This kind of friction is necessary for your car because friction between the tire and the ground will bring a better grip to the remote control car, which can ensure the stability of the vehicle.
The second type of friction occurs between components such as gears and bearings. The lower the interior friction, the better the speed performance. This is because less energy will be lost during driving, and the speed of your RC car will be increased accordingly.
In high-speed driving, it will generate air resistance on the RC car body. If the air resistance is too large, the RC car will be like holding an umbrella in a storm, difficult to accelerate. Therefore, reducing air resistance is also a good way to speed up your RC car.
Easiest Ways to speed up your RC car
Keep knowing that all of the ways below can be applied to a two-wheel buggy, short course truck, stadium truck, and so on.
Boost the power
Replace your motor with a brushless motor
An advanced option is to change the motor of the car. Most beginner RC cars are designed with brushed motors and changing them to brushless motors could make a world of difference. Brushless motors make fewer turns than regular brushed motors which makes them more efficient in hitting top speeds. If you are getting a brushless motor, be sure to check for the motor velocity constant. This tells how powerful the motor is, a higher number means more power and higher top speed.
Note: if you open the inner area of the car and find two motors, then you need to abandon ship. This kind of RC Car has one motor in front – for the front wheels – and one behind as the main power source. The motor in this design cannot be modified or replaced and trying might damage the RC Car.
Upgrading your battery for higher voltage capacity
The car battery plays a big role when it comes to the top speed of your car, you never really know how fast your car can go until you upgrade the battery.
Good upgrade options for your old battery include nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH) and lithium-polymer batteries. You can add a whopping 15 to 20 miles per hour to your top speed by just giving your car that extra voltage capacity.
RC Car batteries come in different sizes so measure the size of the battery compartment before buying a new battery. You also need to check that the motor of the car can handle all that power you are about to pump it with. Using a battery that is too powerful for the RC car could cause damage to the motor. When getting a new battery, don’t crank it up too high. You can get one or two cells higher on the first try, then continuously increase it gradually till the motor reaches its limit.
After the new battery is in place, recheck for any loose connection or fit before you start using it. Don’t forget to charge your battery as regularly as possible.
Change the pinion gear and spur gear of your RC car
There are two gears on the car that affect both the maximum speed and acceleration of the car. The first is the pinion gear, while the second is the spur gear.
Change your pinion gear
The pinion gear is the gear you can find directly attached to the motor which can be taken off easily with a hex driver. If you get a pinion with more teeth, the top speed will increase. However, this will affect the acceleration negatively. With the pinion gear, more teeth mean higher top speed but it will take longer to get there.
If you are going to get a higher top speed, then take off the small pinion gear and put on a bigger one. However, if you go too big, everything is going to get too hot and be under too much load and it can kill your motor or speed controller or batteries. If your RC car is getting too hot, you have got to gear it back down again.
Change your spur gear
The spur gear is the plastic gear that is turned by the pinion gear. With the spur gear, a larger size results in a slower top speed and higher acceleration but the change might not be as obvious as when you change the pinion gear. So, if you want to achieve a higher top speed, try swapping the spur gear to a smaller one.
Check the gear mesh
Gear mesh is the space between the pinion and spur gear. After making the adjustment check that the mesh is not too spaced or too tight. If the mesh is too tight, it could cause too much friction that will lead to equipment wear and increased temperature and electronic malfunction. On the other hand, when the gear mesh is too spaced out, this will cause both gears to strip and wear.
Change the speed controller and servo to fit the new motor
Most beginner car servos are all-in-one units, and they do the receiver and the speed controller. However, We now got a brushless and a separate receiver so we need to fit a separate receiver, a standard three-wire servo, and a separate speed controller.
We recommend using a smaller servo so you will get more room to mount all the electronics in there.
Reduce the Weight
In addition to boosting power, reducing weight is also one of the most effective ways to speed up an RC car.
You can easily follow these steps to make your RC car lighter:
Make the center of gravity lower
With an RC vehicle, we often want a low center of gravity, especially with those high-performance machines. So for shedding weight, we recommend reducing weight from the high points if possible and then working your way down. Shock towers, shock standoffs, and titanium screws in these high areas can be good ways to reduce your weight and center of gravity.
Get a lightweight car shell for your RC car
When buying a car shell, please pay attention to its material, the car shell made of aluminum alloy or carbon fiber will be lighter than other materials. By the way, remember not to add too many paint decals or velcros to your car shell, it will definitely add weight to your shell.
An ideal car shell always weighs between 25grams to 30 grams, so how much does your car shell weigh?
Use a low-profile servo
Use a low-profile servo because it will be 20-30 grams lighter than a standard-size servo. It may slightly change how the car steers by swapping servos but it is a pretty easy way to lose weight.
Use a slipper eliminator
Get rid of the slipper and use a slipper eliminator, we recommend it as one of your first upgrades to do. The eliminator will reduce weight and provide extra punch. Depending on which eliminator you get you may need special spurs. The Schelle eliminator requires you to run the spur while the Exotek ones require either the Exotek or Kimbrough spurs.
Metal to plastic fan swap
Swap your aluminum fan for a plastic fan which will make your car to be about 5 grams lighter.
Reduce the weight of vehicle chassis
Reduce the weight of spinning mechanical drivetrain parts which can help reduce the load on the motor. The most cost-effective weight reduction is the metal parts of your chassis. UJs, Drive and Pivot shafts and the like tend to be specific, varying from model to model, but turnbuckles can often be transferred and lengthened or shortened by using plastic ball connectors, so titanium is a consideration.
Utilize screws and nuts made of aluminum, but take care not to overtighten them as aluminum is not as strong as titanium and can easily shear off if you are overzealous.
The result of all this is that the motor doesn’t have to work as hard, which boosts your efficiency and gives you the feeling the car has more torque. With more torque, your ability to gear up another tooth on the pinion without causing more heat in the motor may be achievable.
Handling Friction and resistance
Replace the brass bushing with ball bearings
The standard consumer-grade RC car is designed with brass bushings. These bushings turn the wheel on the axle of the car. The design of these bushings isn’t compatible with a high-output performance which basically slows the RC car down.
To get better performance, you need to replace the brass bushing with high-quality ball bearings. Ball bearings with more fluidity, this deals with drag and strain on the car engine.
Having the right tires for a surface your RC car will be racing on
The Wheels also play a big role in speed. When it comes to the speed that wheels offer, it is in relation to the kind of road you will be racing on. Having the wrong tires for a surface will surely make the RC car go slower.
If you are driving on hard roads, paved roads, or tarmacs, then you should be going for slick treads and softer tires. If the surface is slippery or muddy, you will need full spikes. This will give you better traction and control. Finally, if it is a carpet or a turf you are driving on then you should use mini-pins. If your surface changes constantly, you would need something that is somewhat of an all-rounder. Mini spikes should do the job for you. They are more of a balance between speed and grip.
Use oil or grease to lubricate your car
Lubrication is a very important part of any type of mechanical system. Anytime you have a couple of components that come in contact with each other with either a motion sliding, rubbing, or rotating, you have an area where friction can be produced. It will cause premature wear of components and also has the potential to rob you of power.
What you can do in order to prevent that is to use a lubricant which can be a light oil or grease, they can actually lower the coefficient of friction between those components. As a result, lubricating allows you to reduce the power that is consumed by friction and also reduces the premature wear from those couple components. So let’s go through the video below and you will know how to lubricate and which parts of your RC car need lubrication.
Tighten the screws of your RC car
Loose screws and parts can exacerbate unwanted vibration and friction inside the RC car, which increases energy loss and slows the vehicle down. Therefore, before starting your RC car, remember to tighten the screws to stabilize the components and improve the performance of the vehicle.
Keep the car body at a good aerodynamic angle
Adjust the vehicle angle to ensure that the front of your car is always lower than the rear. It can effectively increase the grip of the vehicle and prevent the vehicle from overturning due to high speed.
Not all the tips in this article will work for every RC car you might need to find the one that is the best for your RC car and what you use it for. Feel free to try different combinations of different options. Also, getting some of the car-specific modification items could cost a lot. So you should make your upgrade a journey with different levels. You get to find out what works as you go on so take it one step at a time till you finally get the best result.