Mastering RC Car Steering Servos: Tips and Techniques

Mastering RC Car Steering Servos: Tips and Techniques

RC cars have become increasingly popular over the years, providing endless hours of entertainment and fun for hobbyists of all ages. One of the most important components of an RC car is the steering servo. Essentially, a steering servo is the device that controls the direction of the car’s wheels. Without a functioning steering servo, an RC car would be unable to make turns or change direction. There are various types of steering servos available on the market, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right steering servo for your RC car can greatly impact its performance, making it a crucial decision for any owner. In this article, we will discuss the various types of RC car steering servos, important factors to consider when choosing one, how to install it, and how to troubleshoot common issues.

Types of RC car steering servos

There are two types of steering servos available for RC cars: analog and digital. Here are some of the differences between the two types:

  • Analog servos are the older type of servo and use a potentiometer to regulate movement. They are generally less expensive than digital servos.
  • Digital servos use a microprocessor to regulate movement and are generally more precise and offer greater torque than analog servos.
  • If you’re on a budget, an analog servo will likely suffice for most applications. However, if you’re looking for the best performance, you’ll want to go with a digital servo.

Some recommended brands for high-quality steering servos include Futaba, Hitec, and Spektrum. Before purchasing a steering servo, be sure to consult your RC car’s manual to ensure compatibility.

Factors to consider when choosing an RC car steering servo

When choosing a steering servo for your RC car, there are several factors to consider. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Power output: This refers to the strength of the servo motor, typically measured in ounces per inch (oz/in) or kilograms per centimeter (kg/cm) of torque. Opt for a servo with a higher power output if your RC car is particularly heavy or you need more precise steering control.
  • Speed: Servos vary in speed, with some able to rotate at 60 degrees or more per second. Consider what your RC car’s intended use will be to determine the appropriate speed rating for your steering servo.
  • Torque: This refers to a servo’s ability to maintain its speed and power output under a load. Look for a servo with high torque if you plan on using your RC car for off-roading or other challenging terrain.
  • Size: Not all steering servos are made the same size. Measure the available space in your RC car’s chassis before choosing a servo, to ensure proper fitment.

It’s worth noting that some servos come with metal gears, while others come with plastic gears. Metal gears are more durable and last longer, but they can also weigh more and produce more gear noise. On the other hand, plastic gears are generally quieter and lighter, but may not last as long.

Here is a comparison table of some common brands of steering servos:

Brand Power Output (oz/in) Speed (degrees/second) Torque (kg/cm) Size (mm)
Futaba S3003 44.4 0.23 3.2 40.4 x 19.8 x 36.0
Hitec HS-485HB 54.1 0.24 6.0 48.5 x 22.5 x 43.0
Spektrum S6230 62.0 0.08 12.6 41.8 x 20.2 x 38.7

What is the difference between 180 and 270 servos in RC car?

A: The difference between 180 and 270 servos in an RC car is the control angle. Other properties of the servo are identical. A 270° servo can be rotated to a maximum control angle of 270 degrees, while a 180° servo can be rotated to a maximum control angle of 180 degrees. This information can be helpful when choosing a servo for your RC car. No relevant websites or products were mentioned.

Installing an RC car steering servo
Installing a steering servo in an RC car is a relatively easy process. Here are the basic steps:

  • Remove the existing servo, if there is one, by unscrewing the mounting screws.
  • Attach the new steering servo to the chassis using the mounting screws and any included brackets or adapters.
  • Connect the servo wires to the receiver, making sure to match the correct color-coding.
  • Adjust the servo horn to the appropriate position, ensuring that the wheels are straight when the steering servo is centered.
  • Test the steering function prior to operating your RC car on the road.

It’s important to note that you may need additional tools or equipment, such as a screwdriver and pliers, depending on the specific installation requirements of your steering servo and RC car.

If you’re unsure about how to install a steering servo, there are plenty of online tutorials and guides available. Manufacturers’ websites or user forums can be good resources for information on installation and maintenance.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that some manufacturers offer plug-and-play steering servo solutions, which can simplify the installation process and eliminate the need for customizing servo horns.

How do you center a RC steering servo?

To center a RC steering servo, first make sure your radio system is turned on and the transmitter throttle is set to the neutral position. Then, power on your vehicle and adjust the servo horn until the wheels are straight. You can use a servo tester or the sub-trim function on your transmitter to fine-tune the centering. Additionally, there are many helpful videos on YouTube such as ‘How to Center your RC Steering Servos Properly’ by the RC Driver Online channel.

Troubleshooting common issues with an RC car steering servo

Even a well-installed and maintained steering servo can have issues over time. Here are some common problems you might encounter and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Servo Jitter: If your RC car’s steering servo vibrates or jitters when at rest, it’s likely due to electrical interference. Try rerouting the servo wires away from other electronic components or adding an RF choke or ferrite ring to the servo wires to suppress interference.
  • Overheating: If the steering servo overheats, it could be a sign of an underpowered or incorrectly sized servo. Check that the servo is rated to handle the weight and size of your RC car.
  • No response: If your RC car’s steering servo doesn’t respond or is unresponsive, check the wires and connections for damage or looseness. You may need to replace the servo or repair the damaged connection.
  • Broken gears: If the steering is stiff or unresponsive, the problem could be with the gears inside the servo. Open the servo case and inspect the gears – if they’re broken, you’ll need to replace them.
  • Loose or missing screws: Regularly check the screws that hold the servo in place to ensure they’re tight. Loose screws can cause the servo to shift or malfunction or even lead to loss of steering control.

If you’re having ongoing issues with your steering servo, reach out for help from RC car forums/websites or your servo manufacturer. They may offer technical support or have more specific advice for your particular servo or issue.

Why is my RC car steering servo not working?

If your RC car steering servo is not working, it could be due to direct damage such as gear damage or a burned servo motor. To quickly diagnose the problem, try plugging in a second servo and confirming that there is still power going to the servo from the receiver battery pack. For more information and troubleshooting tips, check out websites such as RC Driver or RC Universe, or consider purchasing a troubleshooting guide such as “RC Car Action’s R/C Car Handbook” available on Amazon.


The steering servo is a crucial component of an RC car, especially when it comes to controlling the vehicle’s movements and direction. By selecting the right steering servo for your RC car and keeping it maintained, you can ensure that your car operates efficiently and with precision.

When choosing a steering servo, be sure to consider its power output, speed, torque, and size. These factors play a significant role in your RC car’s performance, and choosing the wrong servo can lead to subpar control or even damage to your car.

While troubleshooting problems with your steering servo can be frustrating, there are steps you can take to fix any issues you encounter. Remember, regular maintenance, such as checking the connection and looking for wear or damage, can prevent many issues from arising in the first place.

In conclusion, knowing how to choose, install, and maintain a steering servo is essential as an RC car owner. Taking steps to ensure that your steering servo is in good working condition will lead to a more enjoyable, longer-lasting RC car driving experience.