Improving your RC Car Driving skills is top of the agenda for beginners. As a beginner myself, learning about RC cars is interesting and tough. So let me share with you my findings that have benefited me.
What is the best way to improve your RC car driving as a beginner? There are a few great ways, such as understanding driving lines, for electric car owners carrying batteries half way charged rather than full and mastering how to use peripheral vision is key to master RC car driving.
For someone who is just starting out, it can be intimidating however many steps can be taken to ensure the smooth and flawless running of your car before during and after the race to help you, to insure you have the fastest RC car, in this article I will explain all of them to help you.
Quick Beginner Driving Tips
Here are some of the best driving tips for you:
- Following the instructions from the manual about your car. It may seem obvious and redundant but every car is different, and the maker knows the best way for the car to run.
- Pay attention while driving. Like actual driving keeping your eyes on the road is very important.
- Keep your hands on the wheel at all times. Just because you aren’t in the car physically does not mean you can’t get distracted and cause a crash.
- Peripheral vision is key. With such a vast area your position can really give you an advantage.
- Carry batteries half way charged rather than full. Fuller batteries are at more risk to explode when travelling with them.
- Throttle control. Keep your car stable enough so that when you hit full throttle, it does not spin out of control.
- Driving lines. Learn how and where to keep your car when driving in between lines.
- Keep momentum. Continuity is everything. Momentum will get less battery consumption and optimum speed.
- Practise smart. Practise after races when the path is already beaten up, cause that is how a real race would be.
The first and most crucial part of improving your car driving is to have control and knowledge of your car. Read the instructions provided by your car; this will improve your understanding of the vehicle, making it easier to regulate.
When driving there can also be a lot of distractions from bumps and potholes in the road or listening to someone beside you talking. Attention is vital. Without being completely focused on your car and keeping your hands on the wheel, you can end up crashing your car.
Peripheral vision is another essential thing to keep in mind while driving. Pay attention to your own vehicle is very important, looking out for other cars and behind and in front of you will also ensure smooth driving whether it being a cruise or a race.
Keeping in check of your surroundings will aid in avoiding a lot of unwanted mishaps, e.g., driving into the car behind you who is attempting to pass you. And a traffic jam in front of you. With your peripheral vision, you can also find which routes and lanes to travel (Click here to see the best way to travel and store your RC car) in to achieve a higher speed.
When practising for a race drive a little faster than you are normally comfortable with. Practices allow you to experiment and leave your comfort zone to try riskier speeds so test and the limits of your car and how much you and your car can ultimately handle in an actual race.
When in an actual race drive slower that limit by doing this you have complete control over your car. Races are more about going at a constant momentum and maintaining the speed and rhythm you have instead of speeding way too much and losing control over your car’s functions.
One more tip to use on the track is that an RC car is much like a sports car where you drive slow in between lines and accelerate on the turns. Going straight is harder with RC cars and can spin out, and corners are the safest place to speed up.
Maintenance of Your Car:
With the techniques in hand, all you need to worry about is keeping your car in top shape for the race. Glue specifically AC glue will be your best friend. While most adhesives are not durable, this glue is a bit more potent and sticks anything together and keeps it there (careful with sticking your fingers together).
When practising or using the car, parts are more than likely going to break with glue you can fix everything right back up and make it good as new for the next time.
Another vital part of racing your RC car is the clean up after the race is over. With it being covered in mud and dirt it gets left in pretty bad shape. So do yourself a favour and clean it before you pack it to take back home.
If the car is fuel powered, you can hose down the mud and dirt till it looks nice and new. However, if you are using an electric car, it’s probably best not to ruin the entire by hosing it down and should probably stick to using a wet rag to clean the dirt which will work just as well.
Don’t Give a bath to an electric car. Though not always but every once in a while you should also oil the bearings when you clean the car since the water in the bearing causes it to rust and ultimately cost you your performance.
One of the most common and frequently asked questions is concerning the batteries. What type should they be? How to take care of them? The battery choice is mostly up to you it depends on what you want out of your car.
However, taking caring of them is mostly the same. When carrying the batteries, don’t keep them fully charged. They have a higher pressure built at that point and increase the chances of a meltdown.
Keep them half way charged to be on the safer side. Also, invest in a good kit to carry your batteries and other equipment (pack it up). When you decided to spend a lot of money and research to buy the very best, it’s pivotal that you spend a little bit more to get a higher quality kit to keep the items safe.
Adjustments to make before a race:
The condition of your RC car is reflected in your race a lot. One thing that beginners often neglect is that even though your car may be new, some adjustments to it before a race or in general can make the performance from 50% to 100%.
Cleaning your car is key. Remember the crucial step always to clean your car after a race. Use a brush or a dry towel to remove the dried out dirt and mud stuck to the car. If you can somehow get access to compressed air, it would do the job much more efficiently.
It’s easy, fast and keeps your car in good condition. Try your best not to take your car home dirty. If you take it home dirty, you will forget about it till the next time you use it, and by then the damage would have been done.
Check the screws on your car. Have they loosened? Usually, shock towers, shocks and the screws on the bottom are the first to get loosen. Keeping an eye out on these towers would really improve your speed and your average speed in 5 min.
It is bound to remove a few seconds from your overall time. What some people might not know is the silicone rubber tubing can billow and lose its shape due to the silicone shock oil. Try and change the oil whenever possible and when you have a little extra money in your monthly budget.
Pro-drivers tend to get the silicone hats replaced pretty regularly with the oil change. And while you aren’t a pro driver who can manage to change them at every oil change, changing them once a month should suffice and improves speed and control of your car greatly.
You should always tweak your car, personalise it to your needs and preferences. If the car isn’t tweaked, it is neither fun to drive nor is it easy to drive. Check to see if the body of your car is damaged? If yes, don’t try and carry on with a beat up body.
Try to replace the body as soon as you can. Low bodies are inclined to get damaged and overworked fairly quickly. By replacing the body, you get a better, more resilient exterior. Try and replace your body as soon as you feel like its taken damage. Changing your car body will also give you a couple of seconds of lead in every race since its newer and will have less air resistance.
Keep an eye out on the electric wiring of the car, make sure no wire has been damaged and that the wires are not rubbing together. If the wires are rubbing together, they can cause it to short circuit. And your car stopping in the middle of a race due to a short circuit is never a good look.
Analyse your driving
There is no point practise driving all the time if you aren’t learning or improving from it at all. Try to figure out where you are going wrong, where you are losing time and places where you can speed up to reduce time. Hug the corners; this will make your racing line as straight as possible and maximise your corner exit speed.
It can become increasingly wearisome to conceive where your time is being lost, as a beginner without someone experienced to tell you. One way to practice alone or when no one experienced is available is to you can make a makeshift track for yourself.
Start by acquiring traffic cones places them on the corners of the track, where you make your turns. Place them close enough that your car should be able to go through them. One on the start of the corner and one at the end practice getting your car through these corners.
If you can speed through these cones without an issue, you are pretty much set. If you need to slow down your car to get through then, you need more practice. Keep practising until you are able to manoeuvre past them without any complications.
At first, the lap times will be slower but as you keep on practising you will require fewer moves to hit the gates, once that start happening the times will automatically start reducing. One day worth of practice is sure to make you an expert on at least one type of corner turns.
Another way is to get a friend to make a video of you driving your car. Ask them to make the video for at least 2-3 laps so you can get into the rhythm of the drive and reach your peak for driving.
Afterwards, sit down and review your driving. While driving, you are way too focused on the car itself and its difficult to correct yourself or see the error in your ways but seeing your errors on video really makes you judge yourself from an objective point of you.
If you still have trouble recognises flaws in your driving, let another driver see the video. Let then point out mistakes or things to improve. This way next time when you are in the track you will remember the pointers, they will exist in your consciousness so you’ll try not to make them again.
When you think you have done all you could and you are done at improving, allow a more experienced driver, someone who has probably dome is a lot longer than you have to give it a try. The 5-minute set result and how much you actually still can improve.
A better driver driving your car will let you know if the car is the issue or if it’s your driving that still needs work. Comparing the time between you 2 will give you an idea of where you stand. A similar time as them means that you are probably okay.
The difference in lap time of a pro racer and you and hobbyist racer is bound to be 0.2-0.3 per lap. Keep in mind, they have had a lot more training and are years ahead of your in their game plan. Hence, a minute difference in time is not a big issue that you can fix, and you haveprobably done your best. It isn’t much you can improve your driving skills to improve lap time.
If the difference between your lap times is more than that, e.g., 1.0s or 1.5 s that tells you a lot about your driving and which means there is room for you to improve yourself. If you have improved all that you could. You can try and get someone to change the track for you so you can learn a different track if that too is not possible, then the last option would be to improve your car. Adjust the speed, get a new battery pack, get the car into a better condition.
Another great exercise is to try to run at a certain pace. For example, your best lap is at 9.0s, and your average lap is a bit slower at 9.2s. Try to run each lap in 9.5s. It will help with consistency, and you will know that you have to do that exact same thing in each lap. In the actual race when you pull no stops and race it will greatly affect your results, improving speed sharply.
Driving in snow or rain
Everyone is aware that water and electricity don’t go well together. Even though most of the electrical components in your Rc car are waterproof some of the components can still get wet. Avoid driving in such conditions if it is up to you. However, if you cannot proper precautions must be taken to ensure the safekeeping of your car.
Invest in rubber paints. This special kind of paint which acts as rubber when dry stops water from entering the components of your car. You can use it to waterproof your receiver, the ESC and the servo of the car.
Ways to use rubber paint are fairly simple you can use a brush, a spray or simply dip the component you want to waterproof into the paint bucket. One of the reasons why rubber paint is very popular among pros is because the outer paint coating can without difficulty, be removed from the car without removing any of the paint from the component itself.
When using rubber paint keep in mind to plug in all the holes with the paint so that no water can enter through the spaces. If rubber paint is not available to you, a simpler way is using electrical tape to cover the component leaving the wires out.
This works best which rectangular components and even then this is not a foolproof plan it will work in dire circumstances, but it is better to get a hold of rubber paint to ensure nothing gets damaged.
To protect your car’s servo, so splashes of water don’t get to it, you can use Vaseline. You don’t always have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to get something special for your car. A little bit of Vaseline on the servo gears should do the trick, below the top casing will stop water from getting to it.
If you want to go the extra mile, can make a casing at the top of the frame. If you want to take the protection to the next level, you can open the case while slapping on some lubrication on the rubber seal.
After which you can close the case and wipe away excess Vaseline. It is also a good option to put a greased up O ring on the axle of the servo before installing the servo horn.
Bearings should always be protected as much as possible, this can be done with oil for bearings also do other metal parts with special WD40 oil.
You need to understand that driving in wet conditions can cause damage to your bearings pretty fast and increases its need for maintenance which is why it is not recommended and should be avoided.
The same vase applied to the electrical components even if they are waterproof they get in touch with the water and wear out at an accelerated speed the risk of oxidation, and thus rust also increases when they get in contact with water. Be careful because when the water condenses as you drive, caused by the ESC heating up, can cause the electric components to fail..
Equipment needed for RC Driving
Many beginners often wonder what tools they need in their toolbox to any problem that may arise with your RC car. While there aren’t any set tools that you need to have there are a few basics that you will need when just starting out.
Most modern cars use metric, and Allen screws and the old imperial screws are pretty rare now.
For beginner drivers, Allen screws would be the safer bet for their cars. They are available in 4 distinct sizes being 1.5, 2.0,2.5 and 3.0 mm out of which most cars have the 2.0mm head so if you don’t know which one of your car has kept a few of the 2.0mm just in case.
Socket wrench for nuts and bolts is also a good idea to invest in. The most common sizes for the of nuts and the head of the screwdriver for the 1/10 scale of a car is probably 5.5 mm and 7.0mm and for cars of scale ⅛, a 17mm wheel nut wrench would be the best option.
While these may be the most basic and necessary tools that a beginner should have at all time, more experienced driver tend to keep a lot more in their toolkits for efficiency and to keep organised. Some of the equipment that more pro drivers keep include:
- Turnbuckle wrench (works mostly like a regular wrench but more advanced)
- Pointed pliers (can be used to join, cut or remove rubber coating from wires)
- Scissors (essential for everything, pulling cutting, ripping)
- Pit Mat( provides a clean area at the pit)
- Screw tray
- Double sided tape
- A brush
- Cleaning cloths or paper towels
- A work stand
- Selection of spare screws
- Spare batteries
- Tire Glue
- Shock oil
- Oil for the bearings
These items do help in emergency scenarios, yet they are in no way necessary, and a beginner can do without them. Another thing to note is that many drivers built their toolkits over a period of time as they get experience and with much trial and error if what is required by their car. So a beginner should not go out and spend all their money on a bunch of expensive tools and items that they may not know how to use and that they might not ever need.
What is the difference between RC cars, trucks and a buggy? For a beginner in radio controlled cars, there are a lot of options for entry-level cars. The first and most popular is an RTR ( ready to run the car) is usually comes with everything you might need already set up the most you would have to do, is attach the body or glue the tires. This is a pretty good option when you don’t have any idea on how to set up cars yourself.
An electric RC car contains a motor that runs off the battery pack. For a beginner, it is generally safer and easier to run and maintain that a nitro car. Even in the ready to run cars the electric RC’s require less prep time and assembly than their nitro-fueled counterpart.
RC car sizes can be awfully confusing for someone who is not used to it. 1/16th, 1/10th, 1/8th, and 1/5th probably mean nothing to you and can be annoying when purchasing. Cars are sold in scale sizes. The sizes are sold in the form of a scale.
The scale is in relation to a full-sized vehicle. So 1/16th of a car would be the size of the car compared to an actual car. Although these sizes may also differ depending on the car at hand, a car with 1/16 size would be much smaller than a truck of the same size.
In terms of actual sizes, 1/5th is the largest with 1/16th being the lowest excluding the RC minis. The most common and recommended for a beginner is 1/10th. With this size, it gives you a lot of options to upgrade and tune your car to your liking.
You will get options for changing your engine, motor and other car parts. This size of the vehicle is also optimum because it does not take too much space and is easier to control, the small cars can speed up and get out of control while the 1/5th scale car can be up to 3 feet in length.
Cars are speedy and impressive with speeds ranging up to 40 mph, and some can even go up to 80mph. Cars can be extremely versatile and can be drift, rally or on road cars. They are great for hard, flat surfaces but stumble when it comes to off-road driving.
Trucks are generally the choice for people who are looking for a stable, sturdy vehicle they can be rough with. There are three most common types to trucks the monster truck and the stadium truck.
The monster truck as its name suggests is a large heavy, sturdy truck, perfect for going off-road into mud and dust climbing onto hills and banging and smashing things in its way. The stadium truck although is just as strong, is not made for outdoor tracks and is usually made for indoor racing. Its tyres and suspension stick out which makes it more stable, speedy and in turn more fun to race with.
If you are indecisive and can’t make the decision on what is better than the RC buggy is a good option is a perfect all rounder car. They are great on the road as they are fast with a capable driver.
To handle off the road, it has long shock absorbers which allow them to handles even terrains and dirt piles and handles gravel and grass exceptionally well.
What type of car should I choose? The type of car is mostly dependent on what you want to do. For beginners, a standard RC car is recommended which is a hybrid and works well on and off-road. It is also customizable to work better.
How much does an RC car cost? The cost greatly varies with the type of car, you can build one yourself to save money, but the real value is of the battery packs. Standard is about 200$ of a car, but with setups, it can be an average of 400$.
What is the best company to buy RC cars? While the best company for you may be depending on your location but the top five brands available right now are Traxxas (Click here to see if the Rustler or Slash is better), HPI, Losi, Team Associated (Click here to see which one is best) and Duratrax.