RC Car Upgrades

Most Common RC Car Upgrades

When Performing RC car upgrades, It can be one of the most exciting parts of the RC hobby. Removing the old parts, Installing the new parts, getting to test your newly upgraded RC and Seeing the difference between the stock setup and your own upgraded setup, whether it be for performance or speed, it brings some real excitement. Here are some tips you should know on installing the three commonly upgraded parts.


RC car Motor upgrade

The most commonly replaced electronic part in the modern RC car and truck is the motor. RC Motors have gotten significantly more reliable but RC enthusiasts are always looking for more power, or changing motors to suit specific class rules. What should you be looking for? Well, everything. The motor’s power wires are as important as any other part. When swapping to a more powerful motor, make sure the ESC can handle it and that your motor connectors and wiring are able to handle it as well.

It is also important to know that Different speed motors require different gearing. If you have never replaced a motor before, be aware of proper gear mesh and how to set it. Improper gear mesh is one of the number one newbie mistakes seen at hobby shops all across the nation.
Do yourself a favor and Read up on proper gear mesh and take your time setting it. 


RC car upgrade esc

Replacing the Electronic Speed Control is also a common part of your RC car upgrades. Race trends have many of us wanting the newest gear and often we are on our way up from ready-to-run electronics, into more tune-able and powerful aftermarket items. Almost every speed control manufacturer uses a slightly different calibration, or setup process for their product. The items are not plug-in-and-go, there is a one-time basic calibration or setup that must be done before you drive the vehicle. Even if you plug everything in and it seems to function correctly, stop and do the setup. Just because it seems OK, does not mean the speed control has all the correct information from the radio system.

Throttle points, brake points and neutral points are all important factors for your throttle and brakes to work as expected. Instruction manuals are your friend. Read them, and check the manufacturer’s website for any service updates or more recent versions of the manuals. There are Several manufacturers that have so much information on their product that they do not include any with the speed control. It is all on the manufacturer’s website. So be sure that before you go the track, or head out for your test day that you have pre-loaded loaded your advanced manuals or have internet where you are headed. If you need to seek the advice of experts, bring your manual, they will need it.


RC car servo upgrade

A few basic areas are commonly overlooked when installing servos. Servos can get damaged from time to time and need to be replaced, so this process is one of the more common things in the world of RC wrenching. The servo is the hardest working part in your RC vehicle, they take a lot of beating and often offer the possibility of improvement for the average hobbyist.

When installing a new servo, the first thing you should do is connect the servo into your receiver, power everything on, and center up the trims and sub trims. This is so that when you install the servo, the output is in the center of its travel and ready to be installed. You can also take this time to make sure the new servo goes the same direction as your old servo. Most are the same, but not all, so double-checking this before you install it can save you a bit of time later on.

Once the servo is installed, make sure it has the same travel as your old servo. Slowly turn the steering all the way left and all the way right. Watch the servo arm and listen carefully. If the servo stops before you have turned the steering wheel, completely, you’ll need to make some adjustments. If the servo hums or buzzes at full steering, you’ve got a bit of a problem.

The same is true if the servo does not get the full range of the steering. Some radios do not have independent travel adjustments, and only have “dual rate” that limits left and right at the same time. It is better to have limited steering rather than having the servo over-driving the steering. The overdrive will cause damage to the servo and can cause operational problems for the vehicle’s speed control as well.

If you do not have a radio system with these adjustments, it should be the next item on your upgrade list. Do some basic test runs before you really hit the bricks. Make sure the new servo is not drawling too much power and causing issues. It is common for upgraded servos to drown-out the speed control’s internal BEC and make the radio system act up or cause basic servo operation problems. Be prepared to add a receiver capacitor, or possibly an external BEC in some cases. Also, it is bad to rapidly work your steering back and forth repeatedly with the vehicle in the air or even on the ground. This is an unnatural speed of input and operation on your servo, and is hard on everything.

Knowing The Basics

These are the three most common RC car upgrades and each have several places that are easy to overlook. Now you know what to look for and hopefully you can avoid the basic problems that many of us have encountered. Remember, Take your time, do a bit of research, and you should have a positive RC upgrading experience and exciting times ahead.

2 thoughts on “Most Common RC Car Upgrades

  1. these are some great tips, especially with the installation of steering servo. I usually just install mine and end up sometime with a headache. Due to it steering backwards or something that is due to lack of knowledge.


    1. Hi Jim,
      You really want to be sure to follow the simple procedure when installing new upgrades, to avoid any unwanted extra downtime.


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