Choosing the Right RC Car: Tips and Tricks

Choosing the Right RC Car: Tips and Tricks

Remote-controlled cars, or RC cars, have been around for many years and have become an increasingly popular hobby among children and adults alike. With a variety of styles and models available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, there are several factors to consider before making a purchase. This article will provide tips on how to select the right RC car based on your skill level, preferences, the different types of RC cars available, brand and price considerations, compatibility and availability of parts, and test driving and making adjustments. By following these tips, you can ensure that you choose an RC car that not only suits your needs but also provides a fun and enjoyable experience.

Determine your skill level and preferences

Assessing your skill level and preferences is an important first step in choosing the right RC car. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Experience level: Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced user?
  • Type of vehicle: Do you want to operate a car, truck, buggy, crawler, or another type of RC vehicle?
  • Terrain: What kind of terrain do you plan to use your RC car on? Pavement, dirt, rocks?
  • Features: What features do you value most in an RC car? Speed, durability, handling, customization options?

Answering these questions will help you understand what type of RC car you should be looking for. For example, if you’re a beginner, you may want to start with a simpler, slower car that’s easier to control. On the other hand, an experienced hobbyist may prefer a more feature-rich and customized car with a powerful engine.

There are also several websites that can help you determine your skill level and choose the right RC car based on your preferences. For instance, Tower Hobbies provides a skill level chart and allows you to filter cars by type, scale, and other features. RC Planet offers a helpful buying guide and reviews for different types of RC cars, as well as a wide selection of products to choose from.

How to Choose Your First RC Car?

When looking to buy your first RC car, it’s important to choose one that suits your skill level and preferences. Here are some things to consider:

  • Type of RC car: The three main types are off-road, on-road, and rock crawlers. Off-road cars have bigger and softer tires, and are great for uneven terrain. On-road cars have lower profiles and are better for smooth surfaces. Rock crawlers are designed to climb over rocks and obstacles.
  • Power source: RC cars can be powered by electric, nitro, or gas. Electric cars are easy to use and maintain, and have quieter operation. Nitro and gas cars have more power and speed, but require more maintenance and are louder.
  • Size: RC cars come in different sizes, ranging from small to large. Consider where you will primarily drive your car and how much space you have for storage.
  • Brand and model: Research different brands and models to find one that has good reviews and fits your budget. Popular brands include Traxxas, ARRMA, and Axial.

If you’re not sure where to start, websites like Horizon Hobby and Tower Hobbies have a wide selection of RC cars and helpful guides to assist in your buying decision.

Look at the different types of RC cars

There are several different types of RC cars to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:

Type of RC Car Description Pros Cons
Electric-powered Run by rechargeable batteries and are available in various sizes and types Easy to operate and maintain, less noisy, and environmentally friendly May have shorter run times and require frequent charging, not as fast as gas-powered cars
Gas-powered Run on specially formulated fuel and are usually larger and more powerful than electric cars Faster and more customizable, with longer run times and higher speeds Louder and more difficult to maintain, can be more expensive and produce fumes
On-road Designed for smooth and flat surfaces such as roads or tracks Very fast, offer great handling due to low suspension and smaller wheels Not suitable for bumpy or uneven terrain, have limited suspension and durability
Off-road Designed for rough and uneven surfaces such as dirt, sand, or rocks Have higher ground clearance and larger wheels, can handle rougher terrain and jumps Slower than on-road cars, may require more maintenance due to exposure to dust and dirt

Keep in mind that the choice of RC car depends on your skill level, preferences, and intended use. For example, a beginner may want to start with an electric-powered car that’s easier to operate, while an experienced hobbyist may prefer a larger, gas-powered car that’s more customizable.

There are also several websites that offer a wide range of RC cars, such as Horizon Hobby, which features popular brands such as Losi, ECX, and ARRMA. The website has a variety of RC cars available, from electric to gas-powered, as well as a range of sizes and types to choose from.

How do I choose an RC car?

When choosing an RC car, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Intended Use: Will you be racing, crawling, or bashing?
  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend?
  • Skill Level: Are you a beginner or experienced driver?
  • Scale Size: What size of car do you prefer?
  • Power Source: Do you want an electric or nitro-powered car?
  • Brand and Model Reputation: Look for brands and models with positive reviews and comments.

If you’re buying online, make sure to read the reviews and compare products on different websites. Some popular RC car websites include Horizon Hobby, Tower Hobbies, and HobbyKing.

Consider the brand and price

When it comes to choosing an RC car, brand and price can play an important role. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Quality and performance can vary depending on the brand, so it’s important to do research beforehand.
  • Popular brands for RC cars include Traxxas, Axial, Redcat Racing, and Team Associated.
  • Higher-priced RC cars may offer better quality, durability, and performance, but may not be necessary for beginners or occasional users.
  • Set a budget before making a purchase and stick to it to avoid overspending.
  • Consider buying used or refurbished RC cars to save money, but be sure to inspect the car thoroughly before making a purchase.

There are several websites that offer a wide range of RC cars from popular brands at various price points, such as Amazon and eBay. These websites often have reviews from other customers that can help you make an informed decision. Another option is to check hobby stores, both brick-and-mortar and online, that specialize in RC cars.

What RC car should I buy for racing?

If you’re looking to get into RC car racing, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality model that can handle the rigors of competition. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an RC car for racing:

  • Speed: Look for a car that can go fast and accelerate quickly.
  • Handling: Choose a car that is responsive and easy to control.
  • Durability: Your car should be able to handle crashes and collisions without breaking.
  • Parts availability: Make sure replacement parts are easily available.

There are many great RC cars on the market for racing, such as the Traxxas Slash and the Team Associated RC10B6.1. Be sure to do your research and read reviews before purchasing a model. You can also check out racing forums and websites, such as RC Car Action, for recommendations and tips.

Check for compatibility and availability of parts

Before buying an RC car, it’s important to check its compatibility with other parts and the availability of replacement parts. Here are some things to consider:

  • Make sure the car’s electronics, such as its transmitter and receiver, are compatible with each other.
  • Check if replacement parts, such as tires, batteries, or motors, are readily available for the specific model of RC car you’re considering.
  • Consider the cost of replacement parts and how frequently they may need to be replaced.
  • Check online forums and communities for your specific type of RC car to see what parts commonly need to be replaced and how to replace them.

It’s also a good idea to learn how to do basic maintenance on your RC car, such as cleaning and lubricating it regularly, to keep it in good condition. Websites like Horizon Hobby and AMain Hobbies offer a variety of replacement parts and accessories for popular brands of RC cars, as well as tutorials and tips for maintenance and repair.

How do you maintain an RC car?

To keep your RC car in optimal condition, follow these simple tips for maintenance:

  • Always start with a clean car – dirt and debris can wear down the moving parts of your RC car.
  • Check for loose screws and nuts before each use.
  • Oil the moving parts and bearings regularly to prevent wear and tear.
  • Check the batteries before each use and replace as necessary.
  • Store your RC car in a cool, dry place to prevent damage from humidity.

If you want additional information about the maintenance of an RC car, you can check out websites and forums dedicated to RC hobbyists. Some popular sites include RC Planet and Horizon Hobby. They offer numerous products like oils and lubricants to ease the maintenance work of your RC car.

Test drive and make adjustments

Once you’ve chosen an RC car, it’s important to test drive it and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it’s running smoothly. Here are some tips:

  • Test drive the car on different surfaces and terrains, such as pavement, dirt, or rocks, to see how it handles.
  • Observe the car’s speed, acceleration, and braking, and make any necessary adjustments to the motor or ESC (electronic speed controller).
  • Check the suspension and make adjustments to the shocks to improve handling and stability.
  • Make sure the wheels and tires are properly aligned and balanced to prevent vibration or wobbling.
  • If you’re having trouble with the car’s performance, check online forums and communities for troubleshooting tips or ask for advice from experienced RC car enthusiasts.

Remember that tuning an RC car takes time and patience. Experiment with different settings and adjustments to find what works best for your driving style and preferences. Websites like RC Car Action and RC Driver offer a wealth of resources and tutorials for getting the most out of your RC car.

Do cars adjust to how you drive?

Yes, modern cars are equipped with an array of sensors and computer systems that can monitor your driving habits and adjust various settings accordingly. Here are a few examples:

  • Adaptive cruise control can adjust your vehicle’s speed based on traffic conditions and your following distance.
  • Some vehicles can adjust their suspension settings to provide a more comfortable or sporty ride depending on how you’re driving.
  • Electronic stability control can help keep you on the road during sudden maneuvers.
  • Some cars even have a “learning” mode that can adjust to your driving style and optimize performance.

Overall, cars are becoming more and more sophisticated in their ability to adapt to individual drivers. If you’re interested in learning more about a specific car or technology, check out the manufacturer’s website or consult a car review site like Car and Driver or Edmunds.


Choosing an RC car can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for beginners or those new to the hobby. By assessing your skill level, preferences, budget, and other factors, you can make an informed decision about what RC car to buy. Remember to consider the type of car, brand, price, compatibility of parts, and availability of resources when making your choice.

Once you’ve chosen an RC car, take the time to test drive it and make any necessary adjustments to get the performance you want. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from other RC car enthusiasts or consult online resources for troubleshooting tips or upgrade ideas.

By following these tips, you can choose an RC car that’s right for you and start enjoying all that this exciting hobby has to offer!