Ultimate Guide: How to Clean a Nitro RC Car

Ultimate Guide: How to Clean a Nitro RC Car

Nitro RC cars are exceptionally fun to drive and offer plenty of thrills for hobbyists and enthusiasts. These machines, powered by nitro fuel, can reach high speeds and tackle challenging terrain. Like all machinery, though, they require care and maintenance to keep running correctly. Cleaning your nitro RC car regularly is one of the most essential maintenance tasks you can perform. Dirt, grime, and debris can accumulate on its chassis, suspension, wheels, and engine, causing damage, rust, or even complete failure. Cleaning your nitro RC car will not only help it last longer, but it will also keep it looking and running as good as new. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean your nitro RC car properly to enjoy your hobby for years to come.

Pre-cleaning preparation

Before jumping into cleaning your nitro RC car, you need to ensure you have a few things in place to make the process as smooth and safe as possible. Here are some steps to take before start cleaning:

Materials and tools

Nitro fuel
Degreaser or soap and water
Soft-bristled brush
Air compressor or canned compressed air
Paper towels or a clean rag
Safety gloves and goggles

Remove the body shell and other detachable parts

Safety first: turn off the engine and remove the batteries.
– Remove the body shell and any other bolts or screws holding it on (use your manual if needed).
– Detach other removable parts, such as the wheels, suspension, and shocks. This step will depend on the model of your nitro RC car; consult your manual if you are unsure.

Choose the right spot

Always use a dry and clean workspace in a well-ventilated area. Working outside is recommended as it ensures free air circulation during the cleaning process.

If you need any specific cleaning products or want to seek more information, many online stores and websites offer a wide range of products for cleaning and maintaining nitro RC cars. You can find them at websites such as amainhobbies or horizonhobby.

What does nitro mean in RC cars?

Nitro refers to the type of fuel used in RC cars, also known as nitromethane. Nitro fuel is a combination of methanol, nitromethane, and oil, which produces a chemical reaction that powers the engine. Nitro engines offer several advantages over electric RC cars, including faster speeds and longer run times. However, nitro engines require more maintenance and can be more expensive to operate.

For more information on nitro RC cars, visit websites such as NitroRCX.com or TowerHobbies.com. They offer a wide selection of nitro cars, parts, and accessories.

Cleaning the chassis and engine

Now that you have all the necessary tools and equipment, it’s time to clean your nitro RC car.

Chassis cleaning process

– First, brush off any dry dirt or debris.
– Apply a small amount of degreaser or soap and water to the brush.
– Use the brush to remove the dirt, grease, and grime from the chassis.
– Wash away the degreaser and dirt with water and dry it up with a clean towel.
– Check for any loose or damaged parts before moving on to the engine.

Cleaning the engine

– Remove any visible debris, dust, or dirt from the engine.
Disassemble the engine to clean dirt from the interior parts.
– Use a toothbrush and degreaser to clean the engine’s exterior.
– Use canned compressed air to dry any remaining water or liquid.
– Once the engine is fully clean, lubricate the bearings, piston, and other lubricating parts.

Interesting fact:

Nitro RC cars engines require more maintenance than electric powered vehicles because of the combustion process that takes place inside.

Recommended products:

– To clean the engine’s exterior, you can use specialized engine cleaners like Nitro Clean. Be sure to read the instructions before use.

Chassis and Engine Cleaning

Materials Needed Cleaning Process
Degreaser or soap and water Apply a small amount of degreaser or soap and water to a brush, then use the brush to remove dirt, grease, and grime.
Toothbrush Use a toothbrush and degreaser to clean the exterior of the engine and interior parts.
Soft-bristled brush Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the chassis, shocks, and suspension components.
Air compressor or canned compressed air Use canned compressed air to dry any remaining water or liquid after cleaning.

How do I clean my chassis?

  • Remove any large debris or dust with a soft brush or cloth. Be careful not to scratch the paint or damage any parts.
  • Use a mild detergent and warm water to gently wash the chassis, starting from the top and working your way down.
  • Rinse thoroughly with a hose or clean water to remove all soap suds and dirt.
  • Dry the chassis with a clean, soft cloth or allow it to air dry completely before storing or using again.

If you want to use a specialized cleaning product for your chassis, consult with the manufacturer or check out trusted automotive websites like Autogeek or Chemical Guys for recommendations.

Cleaning the Suspension and Drivetrain

Cleaning the suspension and drivetrain can be easy with the right tools and a little bit of elbow grease. Here is a step-by-step process:

Suspension Cleaning Process

– First, remove any debris or dirt from the suspension components.
– Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the shocks and suspension components.
– Inspect the joints and bearings for damage or wear and replace them if necessary.
– Once all components are clean and dry, apply lubrication to the joints and bearings.

Drivetrain Cleaning Process

– Brush off any dirt or debris from the drivetrain components.
– Use a toothbrush to clean the drivetrain components in hard-to-reach areas.
– Inspect the gears and axles for damage, wear, and signs of rust.
– Re-grease the gears and axles once they are fully cleaned.

Recommended Product:

– A good quality lubricant is essential for car maintenance. I recommend the Super Lube brand, which is commonly used for metal-to-metal contact and lasts longer than petroleum-based lubricants.

Suspension and Drivetrain Cleaning

Materials Needed Cleaning Process
Soft-bristled brush Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the suspension components and shocks
Toothbrush Use a toothbrush to clean drivetrain components in areas hard-to-reach
Lubricant Lubricate joints and bearings using a specialized lubricant such as Super Lube.
Cloth Use a clean cloth to wipe away anything that was left after cleaning

How do you clean suspension?

  • First, rinse the suspension with water to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a specialized suspension cleaner or a mild soap and water solution to clean the suspension thoroughly.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the suspension, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
  • Rinse the suspension again with clean water and dry it thoroughly with a towel or air compressor.
  • Apply a lubricant to the suspension components to prevent rust and improve performance.

For products that may help with cleaning suspension, check out bike maintenance websites such as Park Tool or Finish Line.

Cleaning the Wheels and Tires

Cleaning the wheels and tires is one of the most essential parts of cleaning an RC car. Not only does it improve the car’s appearance, but it also helps prolong the life of the tires. Here are the steps for cleaning the wheels and tires of your nitro RC car:

Cleaning Tires

– Use a stiff brush to remove dirt, debris, and any small rocks or pebbles that could damage the tire during cleaning.
– If the tires are extremely dirty, use soapy water and a soft scrub brush to clean them thoroughly.
– Rinse the tires with a hose, making sure that all of the soap has been removed.
– Dry the tires with a clean towel before moving on to the wheels.

Cleaning Wheels

– Remove the wheels using the tools mentioned in Paragraph 2.
– Use a bucket of soapy water and a brush to clean off any dirt or grime.
– You can also purchase a specialized wheel cleaner designed for RC cars.
– Rinse the wheels thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel.

Recommended Product:

– I recommend the Proline Tire Glue, an excellent product that can improve the grip of the tires and make them last longer.

Tire Cleaning Checklist:

Materials Needed Cleaning Process
Stiff Brush Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and debris that may damage the tire.
Soapy Water If necessary, use soapy water and scrub to clean the tires thoroughly.
Soft Scrub Brush If needed, use soft scrub brush to clean the tires.
Clean Towel Before leaving the tires to dry, wipe them with a clean towel to avoid any watermarks.

Is it good to clean tires?

Yes, it is important to clean tires regularly for several reasons:

  • Dirt, road grime, and brake dust can build up on tires, causing damage and deterioration over time.
  • Regular cleaning can help extend the life of your tires and improve their performance on the road.
  • Dirty tires can also affect the appearance of your vehicle, making it look unkempt and poorly maintained.

There are many tire-cleaning products and methods available, including tire shine sprays, foaming cleaners, and pressure washers. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use appropriate tools and products for your specific tires.

Reassembling the Car

After cleaning all the parts of the car, reassembling the nitro RC car is an essential part of the cleaning process. The following are the steps for reassembling the car:

Check for Loose or Damaged Parts

– Ensure that all the parts have been thoroughly cleaned and dried.
– Check every part for any kind of damages, cracks, or loose ends.
Replace any broken parts and tighten any loose parts before reassembling the car.


– Begin reassembly by attaching the wheels and tires to each of their respective positions.
– Attach suspension and drivetrain components to their specific areas.
– Carefully reattach the engine and exhaust components.
– Finally, attach the body shell.

Additional Tips

– It can be helpful to take pictures of the car before disassembling it so that you can remember how everything goes back together.
– Refer to the manual or online resources if you need help remembering how to attach certain components.

Product Recommendations:

– The Traxxas Nitro Rustler is a great nitro RC car that provides exceptional performance and is easy to maintain. Check it out on the Traxxas website.
– For replacing any broken parts, Team Associated is a great company that manufactures high-quality replacement parts for nitro RC cars.

Tools Needed:

Tools Use
Screwdriver For tightening screws in wheels, suspension, engine, etc.
Wrench For holding nuts in place during screw tightening.
Plastic Clamps For attaching specific parts back to the car.
Snips For cutting out any damaged parts.

What does it mean to reassemble a car?

Reassembling a car means putting all the parts together and restoring it to a fully functioning state. It involves taking the various components of a car and putting them back together in the right order. To reassemble a car, you need to have technical knowledge and a set of specialized tools. It’s especially important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure that every part is properly secured to prevent any accidents on the road.

If you’re looking for more information on car reassembly or want to purchase quality car parts, check out websites like AutoZone or RockAuto. They offer a wide range of parts and tools to help you with your reassembly project.


Cleaning a nitro RC car is vital for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. From cleaning the chassis and engine to tidying up the wheels and tires, it’s important to give your nitro RC car a regular scrub down. Not only does cleaning prevent dirt build-up which can damage the car’s mechanical parts, but it also keeps the car looking great. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can avoid complicated repairs and replacements as well as pimping up the overall look of your nitro RC car.

Remember, cleaning a nitro RC car requires patience and attention to detail. It’s also important to have the right tools and safety gear on hand. By investing time in maintaining your car, you can ensure that it performs at the highest level each time you take it for a spin.

Finally, if you’re unsure about any of the steps involved, be sure to consult the manufacturer’s manual or online resources. There are many helpful RC car forums, videos, and websites that can provide additional guidance and tips on how to clean and maintain your nitro RC car. Happy cleaning!