I am an Affilate!

I hope you like any service or product that I recommend. :) So I am clear, I may take a share of any sales or other compensation generated from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Just want to say, if you use my links, I appreciate your support.

Can You Use Starting Fluid on a Nitro RC Car?

If you want to know if you can use starting fluid on a Nitro RC car keep reading. Also, learn how to start one successfully, and reasons why your car may not be starting.

Can You Use Starting Fluid on a Nitro RC Car?

No. These are the reasons against using starting fluid on your Nitro RC car:

  • Different Fuel Types: Nitro RC engines are specifically designed to run on nitromethane-based fuels. Starting fluid, being a different substance altogether, may not be compatible with the internal components of a nitro engine.
  • Potential for Damage: The high volatility of starting fluid can result in a too-rapid ignition, possibly causing damage to the engine’s internal parts. Over time, or even with just a single misuse, this can lead to premature wear or failure.
  • Tuning Implications: Nitro RC engines have a delicate balance and require precise tuning for optimal performance. Introducing starting fluid can change how the engine runs, making tuning more challenging.
  • Potential for Fire: Given its highly flammable nature, starting fluid poses a fire risk, especially if used inappropriately. An accidental spill or overuse can result in unintended fires.

What is Starting Fluid?

Starting fluid, often called ether, is a highly volatile substance typically sprayed into the intake of a gasoline or diesel engine to aid in cold-starting. The high volatility of the fluid means it evaporates quickly and can ignite at low temperatures, helping the engine to ‘catch’ and start running.

Alternatives to Starting Fluid:

If you’re having trouble starting your nitro RC car, there are safer methods to try:

  • Proper Priming: Ensure that you’re priming the engine correctly. The fuel needs to reach the carburetor to start the engine, so give it a few pulls while blocking the exhaust to draw fuel through the system.
  • Glow Plug Inspection: The glow plug is vital for igniting nitro fuel. If it’s faulty or worn out, it can prevent the engine from starting. Regularly check and replace if necessary.
  • Engine Temperature: Nitro engines can be more challenging to start when they’re cold. Try warming up the engine slightly using a heat gun or a warm cloth.
  • Maintenance: Regularly cleaning and maintaining the engine can prevent many startup issues. Ensure that the carburetor is clean and that there’s no debris blocking the air or fuel passages.

How Do You Start an RC Nitro Car?

HSP RC Truck 1:10 Nitro Power High Speed RC Car 4wd Off Road Monster Truck(94108BK)

Click here for the price, on Amazon #Ad

Here are the steps

1. Ensure Safety First:

Before attempting to start your nitro car, ensure that you’re in a well-ventilated area, as nitro fuel can release harmful fumes. It’s also a good idea to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from potential fuel splashes or debris.

2. Fueling Up:

Begin by filling your car’s fuel tank with the recommended nitro fuel. Use a fuel bottle or syringe for precise pouring, and avoid overfilling.

3. Prime the Engine:

  • Block the exhaust with your finger.
  • Pull the starter cord a couple of times. This will draw fuel toward the engine.
  • Once you see fuel in the tubing close to the carburetor, release the exhaust.

4. Ignite the Glow Plug:

  • Nitro cars use glow plugs to ignite the fuel-air mixture. You’ll need a glow plug igniter for this.
  • Place the igniter onto the glow plug, which is situated on the engine’s top.
  • Ensure the igniter’s battery is fully charged for a strong connection.

5. Pull the Starter Cord:

With the glow plug igniter still attached:

Pull the starter cord briskly and steadily until the engine starts. It may take a few pulls for the engine to fire up, especially if it’s cold or if the car hasn’t been used in a while.

6. Adjusting the Idle:

Once the engine starts, observe its behavior.

If it’s idling too high, turn the idle screw (often located on the carburetor) counterclockwise in small increments.

If it’s idling too low and stalling, turn the idle screw clockwise.

7. Warm-Up:

Allow the engine to warm up for a few minutes. A properly warmed engine ensures better performance and longevity.

8. Ready to Go:

Once warmed up, you’re ready to drive! If your RC car stalls during driving or seems less responsive, you might need to adjust the mixture settings or look into other tuning aspects.


  • Ensure regular maintenance. Clean the air filter, check the glow plug, and inspect the fuel lines regularly.
  • Always use the recommended nitro fuel for your RC car.
  • Break in a new engine properly to ensure its longevity and optimum performance.

Why is My Nitro RC Not Starting?

Here are the common reasons for this:

1. Fuel Issues:

Old or Contaminated Fuel: Nitro fuel can degrade over time, especially if it’s exposed to air or contaminants. Ensure your fuel is fresh and stored in a sealed container.

  • Empty Fuel Tank: This might seem obvious, but always check if there’s enough fuel in the tank.
  • Air Bubbles: Air in the fuel line can prevent the engine from starting. Ensure there are no air bubbles in the fuel line and prime the engine properly.

2. Glow Plug Problems:

  • Worn-Out Glow Plug: Over time, glow plugs can wear out and will need replacing. If the filament inside the plug isn’t glowing, it’s time for a replacement.
  • Poor Connection: Ensure that the glow plug igniter is fully charged and makes a good connection with the glow plug.

3. Engine Tuning:

Engines can be finicky when not tuned correctly.

  • Improper Needle Settings: The high-speed and low-speed needles regulate the fuel/air mixture. If they’re set incorrectly, it can prevent the engine from starting or cause it to stall.
  • Engine Flooded: Over-priming the engine can flood it with fuel. If you suspect this, remove the glow plug and turn the engine over to expel excess fuel.

4. Battery Issues:

Ensure that the onboard batteries are charged and provide sufficient power. Dead or weak batteries can lead to problems with starting and overall performance.

5. Starter Mechanism:

If you’re using a pull-start mechanism, ensure it’s in good condition and not damaged. Electric starters should be inspected for any signs of wear or malfunction.

6. Ambient Temperature:

Extreme cold can make nitro engines harder to start. In colder environments, consider pre-warming the engine with a hairdryer or heat gun to aid in starting.

7. Air Filter Blockage:

Dirt and debris can block the air filter, depriving the engine of the necessary air. Regularly inspect and clean the air filter to ensure optimal airflow.

8. Fuel Filter Blockage:

Just like the air filter, the fuel filter can become blocked with debris. A blocked fuel filter will prevent fuel from reaching the engine. Periodically inspect and replace the fuel filter as needed.

Solutions and Tips:

  • Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your nitro RC to ensure all parts are in good condition.
  • Manufacturer’s Guide: Always refer to the user manual or manufacturer’s guidelines for specific troubleshooting steps.

Seek Expert Help: If you’re unable to identify the problem, consider seeking help from experienced hobbyists or professional RC shops.