Starting a Nitro RC Car with a Drill: A Beginner's Guide

Starting a Nitro RC Car with a Drill: A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to remote-controlled vehicles, nitro RC cars are a popular and exciting choice for enthusiasts. These miniature cars pack a punch with their nitro-fueled engines and can reach impressive speeds on the track or in the backyard. However, starting a nitro RC car can be a bit more challenging than starting an electric one. That’s where a drill comes in handy. By using a drill to turn over the engine, starting a nitro RC car becomes much easier and less frustrating. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to start a nitro RC car with a drill. We’ll cover the basics of nitro RC cars, the preparation needed before starting, the step-by-step process for using a drill to start the car, and tips and tricks for troubleshooting and maintenance. Whether you’re a seasoned RC car enthusiast or a beginner just getting started, mastering the art of starting a nitro RC car with a drill is an essential skill that will bring you hours of fun and excitement. So grab your drill and let’s get started!

Understanding Nitro RC Cars

Nitro RC cars are a unique type of remote-controlled car that requires a fuel mixture of nitromethane, methanol, and oil to function. Here’s a closer look at some of the basics of nitro RC cars:

  • Nitro RC cars are more powerful and faster than electric RC cars
  • They also require more maintenance and tuning to stay running properly
  • The nitro engine is based on a two-stroke design that relies on a carburetor instead of an electronic speed control
  • The sound and smell of a nitro RC car in action is part of its appeal

Before you start your nitro RC car with a drill, it’s essential to know the basics of how it works and how it differs from other types of RC cars. By understanding the unique features and needs of nitro RC cars, you can ensure that you’re using the right fuel mix and operating the car safely and effectively. For more information on nitro RC cars, check out RC car websites and forums, which have a wealth of tips, tricks, and advice from experienced enthusiasts. Additionally, some websites offer specific products to help with starting nitro RC cars with a drill, such as starter boxes that attach to the car’s flywheel and provide a more stable and consistent starting method.

How does a nitro RC car work?

Nitro RC cars are powered by miniature engines that run on a special fuel known as nitro methane. When you start a nitro RC car, the engine ignites the nitro methane, setting off a small explosion that drives the pistons in the engine. This creates energy that powers the wheels and propels the car forward.

Here are some key components of a nitro RC car and how they work:

  • Nitro engine: This is the heart of the car, and where the fuel is burned to power the pistons.
  • Exhaust system: This helps to remove the fumes and excess fuel after the combustion process.
  • Gearbox: This helps to control the speed of the wheels and transmit power from the engine to the wheels.

If you’re interested in purchasing a nitro RC car or learning more about them, check out websites like or for a wide selection of nitro RC cars and parts.


Before attempting to start a nitro RC car with a drill, you must ensure that you are fully prepared. Here are some essential steps to follow:

  • Charge the battery: Make sure the battery is fully charged so that it can turn over the engine using the drill
  • Tune the engine: Adjust the carburetor to get the right air-fuel mixture and idle speed
  • Check the weather: Avoid starting the car in very cold or damp conditions, as this can make it harder to start and damage the engine
  • Plug in the glow igniter: Attach the glow igniter to the glow plug to heat it up and provide the spark needed to start the engine
  • Position the car and drill: Make sure the car is on a stable surface and the drill is positioned correctly on the flywheel to turn it over

By following these steps, you can minimize the risk of damaging your nitro RC car or failing to start it with a drill. Remember that nitro RC cars require careful attention and adjustment, so take your time and make sure you’re comfortable with each step before proceeding. Websites such as RCTech and RC Groups offer detailed guides and tutorials on nitro RC car maintenance and troubleshooting, as well as reviews and recommendations for the best motors, exhausts, and other upgrades.

How do you start a nitro engine with a drill?

If you want to start a nitro engine with a drill, follow these steps:

  • Remove the glow plug from the engine
  • Insert the backplate of the starter box into the back of the engine
  • Attach the starter cord to the starter box and drill
  • Press the starter button while simultaneously pulling the trigger on the drill
  • As soon as the engine fires, release the starter button and drill immediately.

Note: Always consult your engine manual for the proper starting procedures.

If you’re interested in purchasing a starter box or other nitro engine accessories, has a wide selection of products available.

The Starting Process with a Drill

Once you have prepared your nitro RC car, you can begin the process of starting it with a drill. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Connect the drill to the flywheel of the car.
  2. Make sure the throttle is closed and the glow plug is properly seated.
  3. Hold the drill securely and spin the flywheel quickly with it.
  4. Once the engine starts, remove the glow igniter and adjust the carburetor if necessary.
  5. Hook the antenna on the transmitter and prepare to drive.

It’s important to be careful when handling the drill and avoid over-stressing the car’s mechanical components. Websites such as NitroRCX offer a variety of compatible starter boxes and drill attachments that can make it easier to start your nitro RC car without risking damage to the equipment. Remember that every car is different and may require different approaches, so don’t hesitate to consult with fellow hobbyists or expert resources for more tips and guidance.

How do you start a screw with a drill?

To start a screw with a drill, follow these simple steps:

  • Choose the appropriate drill bit for the screw size
  • Insert the drill bit into the drill
  • Place the screw on the surface you want to drill into
  • Hold the drill perpendicular to the screw and surface
  • Slowly apply pressure to the drill while keeping it steady
  • As the screw starts to grip, increase the speed of the drill gradually

If you need more guidance on DIY projects, check out websites like DIY Network, HGTV, or This Old House for tips and inspiration. You can also consider investing in a high-quality drill or drill kit from brands like DeWalt, Bosch, or Makita to make your DIY projects easier and more efficient.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Sometimes, even with proper preparation and handling, a nitro RC car may give you trouble when trying to start it with a drill. Here are some common issues that may arise and how to deal with them:

Engine is flooded

– Remove the glow plug and pull the starter cord several times to remove the excess fuel
– Replace the glow plug and retry starting the engine

Engine won’t start

– Check the glow plug and ensure Proper setting
– Verify the fuel and air mixture in the carburetor
– Check the engine’s compression

Regular maintenance

– Clean the air filter after every use
– Check the spark plug and clean or replace as necessary
– Replace the fuel filter frequently

Periodic maintenance will keep your nitro RC car in the best condition. Online stores like Tower Hobbies and R/C Planet carry nitro-specific tools like glow plug wrenches or starter boxes that can make maintaining your car easier. Proper maintenance of the nitro RC car can keep it running smoothly, deliver good performance, and contribute to the vehicle’s longevity.

How do you maintain a nitro RC car?

To maintain your nitro RC car, follow these simple steps:

  • Clean the car after every use
  • Check the air filter often and clean or replace it as needed
  • Keep the fuel tank clean and use high-quality fuel
  • Inspect the tires and wheels for damage
  • Check the suspension and steering for proper alignment
  • Perform regular maintenance on the engine and ensure it’s tuned correctly

For more information on nitro RC cars and maintenance tips, check out websites such as NitroRCX, AMain Hobbies, or Horizon Hobby. They offer a wide range of products and resources to help you keep your nitro RC car in top shape.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips to help you start your nitro RC car successfully with a drill:

Use an electric drill

– Electric drills provide consistent and reliable starting speed compared to cordless drills that may run out of battery
– Electric drills can be more comfortable to grip and use for extended periods of time

In cold weather

– Preheat the engine using a heat gun to avoid any temperature shocks
– Consider using a higher nitro percentage in the fuel mixture for better performance

Know your car

– Become familiar with your car’s specific engine and fuel specifications
– Experiment with different fuel percentages and glow plug types

Lastly, it’s essential to take safety precautions when handling the nitro RC car and starting it with a drill. Protective gear like gloves or goggles may be necessary, and it’s critical to avoid contact with moving parts. Sourcing nitro fuel, glow plugs, and other accessories can be quite challenging locally. Online stores like AMain Hobbies offer a wide range of nitro RC items, including fuel, glow plugs, and electric starter boxes. Nitro RC cars can be addictively fun, and starting them with a drill can be a great way to learn and enjoy the hobby.

How do I start my nitro RC car?

Starting a nitro RC car can be a little tricky, but with some practice, it will become easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start your nitro RC car:

  • Fill up the fuel tank with nitro fuel
  • Prime the engine by pushing fuel into the carburetor
  • Adjust the throttle trim to the lowest setting
  • Turn on the transmitter and the receiver
  • Turn on the vehicle’s power switch
  • While holding the vehicle down, pull the starter cord until the engine ignites
  • Adjust the throttle and steering trim to fine-tune the vehicle

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for starting and maintaining your nitro RC car. You can also check out various websites like Amain Hobbies, Horizon Hobby, and RC Planet for more tips and tricks.


Starting a nitro RC car with a drill can seem daunting at first, but with practice and the right technique, it can become a routine task. Understanding the basic principles of nitro engines and following the manufacturer’s instructions is critical to a successful start-up. Remember to take precautions when handling the drill, engine, and fuel, and to prioritize safety at all times. With time, you’ll be able to fine-tune your starting technique and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for your nitro RC car.

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or new to nitro RC cars, it’s essential to have a reliable source of fuel, glow plugs, starter boxes, and other accessories. Online stores like AMain Hobbies can provide a broad range of nitro RC items, and they can ship to many locations worldwide.

Starting a nitro RC car with a drill can be a rewarding experience, providing you with hours of entertainment and an opportunity to bond with other RC car enthusiasts. With patience, persistence, and a little bit of know-how, you can start your nitro RC car like a pro.