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Should You Vent RC Tires?

If you want to know if you should vent your tires keep reading. Also, learn how to vent them and the benefits of putting foam in them.

Should You Vent RC Tires?

Only if the advantages of improved handling, reduced ballooning, and better heat dissipation are more important to you than the potential problems it can cause, such as increased maintenance.

Pros of Venting RC Tires

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  • Improved Handling and Performance: Venting tires can provide better traction on certain terrains. As the RC car moves, the vented tires can conform more closely to the surface irregularities, ensuring a steadier grip. This means less bouncing, especially over rough terrains, and potentially faster speeds.
  • Heat Dissipation: During a run, tires can get hot due to friction. Vented tires allow some of the built-up heat to escape, potentially extending the life of the tire.
  • Prevents Ballooning: At high speeds, centrifugal force can cause unvented tires to expand or ‘balloon.’ This ballooning can decrease traction and alter the handling characteristics of the vehicle. Venting the tires can help prevent this effect.
  • Water Evacuation: If you’re driving in wet conditions, water can get trapped inside the tire. Venting helps to evacuate this water more effectively, preventing imbalance and preserving the tire’s performance.
  • Air Expansion: When an RC car is at speed, the tires can heat up. This causes the air inside the tire to expand, which can result in ballooning. A ballooned tire can reduce traction and even come off the rim in extreme cases. Venting allows expanding air to escape.
  • Debris Clearance: As with water, small debris can also enter the tire, and venting provides an escape route for these particles.
  • Consistent Tire Pressure: Venting allows for consistent air pressure inside the tire, which can lead to more predictable handling.

Cons of Venting RC Tires

  • Durability Issues: Creating vents can weaken the structural integrity of the tire, making it more susceptible to damage, especially when driving on rough terrains.
  • Ingress of Debris: Vented tires are more prone to letting in small particles like sand, dust, and dirt. This can affect the internal balance of the tire and even damage the foam inserts over time.
  • Maintenance: Vented tires might require more regular checks and maintenance. If the holes become blocked or clogged, they’ll become ineffective.
  • Inconsistent Results: Depending on the size, number, and placement of the vents, the results can vary. Incorrect venting can potentially harm performance more than it helps.

How Do You Vent RC Tires?

Here is the process.

Materials Required:

  • A clean workspace
  • RC tires
  • A small drill or leather punch
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape (optional)


  • Preparation: Ensure your workspace is clean to avoid introducing any unwanted debris into the tire.
  • Marking the Vent Points: Decide where you want to place your vent holes. Many enthusiasts opt for two holes 180° apart on the tire’s sidewall. Alternatively, some prefer to drill into the tire’s inner rim instead of the tire itself, which can help keep debris out. Use masking tape to mark these points if necessary.
  • Drilling the Vent Holes: Using your drill or leather punch, create small holes at the marked points. A 1/16 inch or 2mm hole is generally sufficient for most RC tires.
  • Sanding: After drilling, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges around the holes. This will help prevent the holes from tearing further during use.
  • Testing: Before hitting the track, test your car in a controlled environment. Monitor the tires for any unusual behaviors, ensuring the venting process was successful.
  • Maintenance: Check the vent holes periodically for clogs from mud or debris and clean them out as needed.

Additional Tips:

  • Always vent new tires before gluing them to the rims.
  • Some racers use mesh or fine screens over vent holes to prevent debris from entering while still allowing air and water to exit.
  • Experiment with the number and size of holes to find the best configuration for your specific driving conditions and vehicle type.

Why Put Foam in RC Tires?

Here are the main reasons for this:

1. Improved Traction and Stability

Foam inserts act as a kind of cushion inside the tire, allowing it to maintain its shape and achieve consistent contact with the surface. A consistent footprint is essential for grip, especially on uneven terrains, where traction can make a significant difference. By using foam, the tire adapts to various surfaces and ensures that the vehicle remains stable even in challenging conditions.

2. Enhanced Durability and Puncture Resistance

Without foam inserts, RC tires would be more susceptible to punctures, especially when they come in contact with sharp objects or rocky terrains. The foam acts as a protective barrier, reducing the chance of a tire getting punctured or torn when encountering hazards.

3. Shock Absorption

RC vehicles often encounter jumps, drops, or rough terrains. Foam inserts play a pivotal role in absorbing the shocks from such impacts. This not only helps in preventing potential damage to the wheel or chassis but also ensures that the vehicle remains controllable post-impact.

4. Maintaining Tire Shape

Under various load conditions, especially during high-speed turns or landings from jumps, tires can deform or balloon. Foam inserts help the tire retain its shape, ensuring consistent performance and reducing the risk of the tire getting deformed or pinched, which can lead to damage or blowouts.

5. Customizable Performance

Foam inserts come in various densities and thicknesses. By choosing a specific type of foam, RC enthusiasts can fine-tune their vehicle’s performance to suit specific terrains or racing conditions.

Softer foams might be more suitable for rocky terrains where more tire flex is desired, while firmer foams might be ideal for high-speed tracks where stability is paramount.

6. Weight Distribution

In the world of RC racing, weight, and distribution play a critical role in the vehicle’s overall performance. Foam inserts can be used to adjust and balance the weight, ensuring an optimized distribution that enhances handling and maneuverability.

7. Economical Solution

While foam inserts come with several benefits, they are also an economical solution. They reduce the wear and tear on the tires, resulting in longer tire life. This means less frequent replacements and, consequently, cost savings in the long run.