Do Nitro RC Cars Need Batteries? Explained.

Do Nitro RC Cars Need Batteries? Explained.

Nitro RC cars have been around for many years and are a favorite among hobbyists who want to experience the thrill of high-speed, high-performance racing. These cars are powered by a nitro-fueled engine and can reach speeds of up to 70 mph or more. But when it comes to the question of whether nitro RC cars need batteries, the answer is not straightforward. While they do not require batteries to run the engine or fuel system, some components of nitro RC cars may need batteries to function. In this article, we will explore the role of batteries in nitro RC cars and provide an overview of how these cars work. Whether you are new to the hobby or a seasoned collector, understanding the relationship between nitro RC cars and batteries will help you get the most from your RC car experience.

Components of a Nitro RC Car

Nitro RC cars consist of several interconnected components that work together to provide speed, performance, and control. The primary components of a nitro RC car include:

  • Fuel Tank: Stores the nitro fuel and delivers it to the engine.
  • Engine: Converts the fuel into mechanical energy to power the car.
  • Radio System: Allows the driver to control the car using a remote transmitter.
  • Servos: Move the various mechanical components of the car, including the steering and throttle.
  • Glow Plug: Ignites the fuel in the engine.

While most of these components do not require batteries to function, the radio system used to control the nitro RC car may require electrical power. This power is often supplied by a rechargeable battery that is built into the receiver or transmitter of the remote control. Some popular websites that sell nitro RC car batteries include and Understanding how these components work together will help you to better appreciate the complexity and engineering that goes into building and operating nitro RC cars.

What are the components of an RC car?

The components of an RC car include:

  • Chassis
  • Remote control transmitter and receiver
  • Battery
  • Motor
  • Servo
  • Wheels and Tires
  • Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Body

If you’re interested in purchasing an RC car, check out hobby websites and online retailers such as Horizon Hobby, RC Planet, and Tower Hobbies.

Battery-Powered RC Cars

Battery-powered RC cars are an alternative to nitro RC cars that rely on electricity instead of fuel to power their engines. Here are some interesting facts about battery-powered RC cars:

  • Battery-powered RC cars are eco-friendly: These cars do not use gasoline or any combustible fuels, making them more environmentally friendly than their nitro counterparts.
  • Electric RC cars are easy to maintain: Since there are no combustion engines in electric RC cars, they require less maintenance than nitro RC cars.
  • Battery-powered RC cars are excellent for indoor driving: While nitro-powered RC cars are better suited to outdoor environments, battery-powered cars work well indoors thanks to their clean operation and lack of exhaust fumes.

If you are interested in buying a battery-powered RC car, there are many brands and models to choose from. Popular brands include Traxxas, HPI, and Team Associated. You can find a variety of models and accessories at online retailers like and Here is a table comparing the main differences between nitro and battery-powered RC cars:

Nitro RC Cars Battery-Powered RC Cars
Power source Gasoline/nitro fuel Electricity stored in a battery
Speed Faster than electric RC cars Slightly slower than nitro RC cars
Maintenance Requires regular maintenance due to combustion engine Less maintenance required due to lack of combustion engine
Environment Better suited to outdoor environments due to exhaust fumes Works well for indoor and outdoor driving

What is the difference between nitro and electric RC car?

Nitro RC car:

  • Runs on a mixture of nitromethane, methanol, and oil.
  • Makes realistic engine sounds and emits exhaust fumes, giving it a more authentic feel.
  • Requires regular maintenance such as tuning the engine, cleaning air filters, and adjusting the carburetor.
  • Has higher top speeds and acceleration compared to electric RC cars.

Electric RC car:

  • Runs on rechargeable batteries.
  • Is quieter and has no emissions.
  • Requires less maintenance compared to nitro RC cars as there is no engine to tune.
  • Has less top speed and acceleration compared to nitro RC cars but can have longer run times.

Some popular websites where you can purchase RC cars and learn more about their features include Horizon Hobby (, Tower Hobbies (, and AMain Hobbies (

Nitro RC Cars and Batteries

Nitro RC cars do not rely on batteries to power their engines or fuel systems. However, batteries may be needed for other components of the car, such as the radio system. Here are some important things to know about batteries and nitro RC cars:

  • Batteries may be required for the radio system: Many nitro RC cars use a battery-powered radio system to control the car remotely. These batteries are typically small and do not have a significant impact on the car’s overall performance.
  • Other electronic components may require batteries: Some nitro RC cars have additional electronic components, such as lighting systems or servos, that may require batteries to function.
  • Batteries are not a primary source of power: The majority of power in a nitro RC car comes from the fuel, not batteries.

If you own a nitro RC car that requires batteries, it is important to choose the right type of battery for your needs. Check your car’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific battery recommendations. You can also find a variety of RC car accessories at retailers like Hobby Town or Tower Hobbies.

What type of battery does a RC car use?

Most RC cars use rechargeable batteries, which provide consistent and reliable power to the car’s motor. The type of battery used in an RC car generally depends on the size and specifications of the car itself. Here are some common types of batteries used in RC cars:

  • NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) batteries
  • LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries
  • Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) batteries
  • NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium) batteries (less commonly used now due to lower capacity and memory effect)

It’s important to note that different RC car models may require different types of batteries, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing a battery. Additionally, make sure to use the appropriate charger for your specific type of RC car battery.

If you’re looking to purchase a new battery for your RC car, there are various websites and vendors that offer high-quality batteries specifically designed for use in RC cars. Some popular options include HobbyKing, SMC Racing, and Venom RC.

Battery Use in Nitro RC Cars

While nitro RC cars do not rely on batteries for their primary power source, there are still ways that batteries can be used in these vehicles. Here are some examples of battery use in nitro RC cars:

  • Servos: Nitro RC cars may use battery-powered servos to control various parts of the car, such as steering or braking.
  • Glow Plugs: Some nitro RC cars use battery-powered glow plugs to ignite the fuel mixture in the engine more easily.
  • Starter Boxes: Some hobbyists may use a battery-powered starter box to get the engine running on their nitro RC car.

It is important to use the correct type of battery for each of these applications to ensure proper performance and safety. Be sure to consult your car’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific battery recommendations. You may also be able to find batteries and other nitro RC car accessories at retailers such as Amain Hobbies or Horizon Hobby.

How do you start a glow starter on a nitro RC car?

To start the glow starter on a nitro RC car, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the nitro engine is properly fueled.
  2. Attach the glow starter to the glow plug of the engine.
  3. Hold down the starter button for a few seconds until the glow plug heats up.
  4. Release the starter button and start the nitro engine using the pull starter or electric starter.

It’s important to properly maintain your nitro RC car’s glow starter to ensure longevity and reliable performance. Check out websites such as or to find glow starters and maintenance products for your nitro RC car.


While nitro RC cars do not require batteries to run their primary systems, they may still use batteries for various auxiliary components such as the radio system or servos. Hobbyists need to ensure that they use the correct type of battery for their nitro RC car and applications. Additionally, the hobbyist needs to ensure they have proper safety practices in place when handling and charging batteries.

Nitro RC cars can be thrilling, fast-paced, and exciting. They require a lot of skill, patience, and maintenance, but the satisfaction of controlling these vehicles can be well worth it. With proper care, attention, and knowledge, hobbyists can enjoy their nitro RC cars and achieve high speed and power on and off the track.