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What does WD-40 do to RC Tires?

If you want to know what WD-40 does to RC Tires keep reading. Also, learn if it’s safe for your car and what good tire lube is available.

What does WD-40 do to RC (Radio-Controlled) Tires?

When it comes to RC tires, WD-40 is sometimes used for the following purposes:

  • Cleaning: WD-40 can effectively remove dirt, grime, and even some adhesives from RC tires. Given its water-displacing properties, it’s also good for drying out tires that have come into contact with moisture.
  • Softening Tires: Some RC enthusiasts believe that WD-40 can soften the rubber compound of the tires. A softer tire can provide a better grip on certain terrains, especially on-road tracks. This can be particularly useful for racers looking for an edge in traction.
  • Restoring Appearance: WD-40 can give RC tires a shiny, wet look, which many find aesthetically pleasing, especially for those who display their vehicles.

History of WD-40

WD-40 Multi-Use Product with Smart Straw Sprays 2 Ways, 3-Pack, 12 OZ

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Let’s quickly touch upon what WD-40 is. Initially developed in 1953 by Norm Larsen for the Rocket Chemical Company, WD-40 was designed to repel water and prevent corrosion.

The name stands for “Water Displacement, 40th formula,” indicating it took Larsen 40 tries to perfect the formula. Composed primarily of various hydrocarbons, WD-40 found its use in countless applications, from squeaky doors to rusty tools.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Over-Softening: If left for prolonged periods, WD-40 might overly soften the tires, causing them to become too grippy or potentially wear out faster.
  • Degradation: There’s some debate among enthusiasts about whether WD-40 might degrade the rubber over time, reducing the lifespan of the tires.
  • Inconsistent Results: Depending on the tire compound, WD-40 can produce varying results. It might not have the same softening effect on all tire types.

Safe Use of WD-40 on RC Tires

If you decide to use WD-40 on your RC tires, consider the following precautions:

  • Test on an inconspicuous spot or a spare tire before applying it to all four wheels.
  • Don’t soak the tires; a light application is often sufficient.
  • Remove any excess WD-40 after the desired effect is achieved to prevent unnecessary degradation or over-softening.
  • Monitor the tires’ condition regularly to ensure they aren’t degrading or becoming overly soft.

Is WD-40 Safe for RC Cars?

It comes with both benefits and drawbacks when used on RC cars. It can be beneficial for cleaning and offering initial protection, but hobbyists should exercise caution, especially when it comes to plastics, rubber, and electronic components.

For best results, always complement its use with RC-specific products designed for the unique demands of these miniature machines.

Concerns with Using WD-40 on RC Cars:

  • Plastic and Rubber Degradation: WD-40 can have a detrimental effect on certain plastics and rubber materials. Since many RC cars have components made of these materials, there’s a risk of causing them to become brittle or degraded over time.
  • Insufficient Lubrication: While WD-40 can provide temporary lubrication, it is not a substitute for dedicated RC car lubricants. Using it in place of proper lubrication can lead to increased wear and tear on parts.
  • Residue: WD-40 can leave behind a residue that can attract dust and dirt. For an RC car operating in gritty or sandy environments, this could be problematic.
  • Electrical Components: There’s a potential risk when applying WD-40 near electronic parts. It might cause short circuits or other damage if not used carefully.

Tips for Using WD-40 Safely on RC Cars:

  • Test First: Before applying to your entire car, test a small, inconspicuous area, especially if you’re concerned about how it might affect the plastic or rubber parts.
  • Avoid Electronics: Stay clear of the car’s electronic components.
  • Use Sparingly: A little can go a long way. Overapplying can lead to more residue and potential problems.
  • Complement with Dedicated Lubricants: Use WD-40 for cleaning and initial protection, but always follow up with proper RC-specific lubricants for moving parts.

What is a Good Tire Lube?

Ru-Glyde Tire Mounting and Rubber Lubricant, Bottle, 1 gal

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Here are Commonly Recommended Tire Lubes:

Understanding Tire Lube

Tire lube, often referred to as bead lubricant or mounting lube, is a specially formulated lubricant used to aid the process of mounting or dismounting tires from rims. It provides a slick surface, easing the process and preventing any damage to the tire bead or rim.

Benefits of Using Tire Lube

  • Ease of Mounting and Dismounting: The primary reason tire technicians use lube is to make the process smoother. With adequate lubrication, the tire slips onto the rim with minimal resistance.
  • Protection from Damage: Without lubrication, the friction between the tire and the rim can lead to unnecessary wear, potential tearing of the tire bead, or scratches on the rim.
  • Seal Enhancement: Proper lubrication can assist in creating a better seal between the tire bead and the rim, ensuring no air leaks.
  • Prolonged Tire Life: Minimizing potential damage during the installation process can also increase the overall lifespan of a tire.

Choosing the Right Tire Lube

There are multiple types of tire lubes available on the market, each with its own set of advantages. When choosing, consider the following:

  • Compatibility with the Tire and Rim Material: Ensure the lube won’t corrode the rim or degrade the rubber of the tire.
  • Ease of Application: Some lubes come in a spray form, while others are a gel or paste. The choice depends on personal preference and the specific use case.
  • Drying Time: Depending on your needs, you might want a lube that dries quickly or one that stays slick for longer.
  • Environmental Impact: As with any product, consider the environmental implications. Biodegradable or eco-friendly options are available and may be preferred by those conscious of their ecological footprint.

Price and Brand Reputation: Like any product, you often get what you pay for. It’s essential to find a balance between cost and quality.