Every RC vehicle owner has to buy RC parts at one time or another. The freedom of controlling an RC helicopter as it flies effortlessly through the sky creates the need to replace used parts. Those who use RC boats primarily for racing, replace parts more frequently than those using electric RC cars just for fun. Replacing parts simply comes with the territory of being an RC vehicle owner. Luckily, RC parts are pretty inexpensive, allowing even those with the tightest of budgets to keep their toys in tip-top shape.
However, some RC vehicle owners go RC parts crazy and begin stripping down their vehicles to replace parts at random. Not only is this a waste of money and time, but it can also potentially damage the vehicles or cause them to perform worse than they did before. Sometimes, remote control trucks can be modified and upgraded too, just like other RC vehicles. If you’re the type of person who enjoys customizing your remote control vehicles to your liking, take this post into consideration.
Shiny Kit Syndrome!
Us RC car owners can often be guilty of seeing a large wing or a flashy set of wheels and think they would look perfect on our car, only to find out they don’t fit or even worse, negatively affect its performance. Needless to say, there are some important things you need to know before buying and installing RC parts for your vehicle.
After seeing one too many friends and fellow RC vehicle owners make mistakes when putting parts on their vehicles, I’ve decided to list the top five things to always keep in mind when buying RC parts.
1. Buy the Right Part Number
You’d be amazed at the number of people I’ve talked to who have ordered the wrong part number for the make and model of their RC vehicle. Granted, most of them only spent a handful of dollars on the RC parts, but this simple mistake sidelined their RC action while they retried to source the right part.
Funny enough, it’s really easy to avoid this common mistake. Similar to the way you would look in the owner’s manual of your car before purchasing a part, you can also look in the owner’s manual of your RC vehicle to get the specific part number you need.
Other times, however, finding the right parts is as simple as knowing the exact make and model of your vehicle. For instance, if you have a Syma S107 RC Helicopter, you can find a full set of replacement blades here: simply by searching by the make and model number. Alternatively if you were for example looking for parts for a model plane, you can search by List of RC aircraft kit manufacturers and use your model number to find out more about the best parts.
So, before whipping out your credit card to purchase a new part for your favorite RC vehicle, make sure you know the exact part number, or at least the make and model number, so you can have your RC vehicle back up and running better than ever in no time at all.
2. Check the Owner’s Manual for Recommended Upgrades
In addition to checking the owner’s manual of your RC vehicle for specific part numbers, you should also refer to it in order to find specific manufacturer suggested upgrades.
Your owner’s manual serves as an excellent starting point for considering the type of upgrades you want to buy. However, it will also tell you what RC parts and upgrades are best suited for your particular vehicle.
For example, if you have a Traxxas Rustler XL-5, the manual will tell you that you can replace the stock servo with a Traxxas 2075 Digital High-Torque Waterproof Servo for increased torque and better steering if you decide to upgrade your XL-5 with larger tires and other optional parts.
Many people learn this the hard way and purchase a part solely based on the recommendations of others, only to find out it doesn’t fit or actually makes their RC vehicle perform worse than it did originally. In order to do this perfectly,you need to understand how RC toys work.
In the end, when in doubt, check your owner’s manual!
3. Replace Key Parts One at a Time
I know it can be tempting to replace your RC helicopter’s rotors, propellers, and even servo when replacing the motor, but you should always try to replace important parts one at a time in order to get a feel for how each part improves or hurts the performance of your RC vehicle.
If you swap out a lot of key parts at the same time, it can be nearly impossible to tell how a new part benefits your vehicle’s performance.
For instance, if you replace your RC boat’s stock battery with a Racer’s Edge 7.2V 5000mAh 6 cell NiMH RC Battery Pack, you’ll immediately notice improved, run time, and performance. However, if you replace other vital parts on your RC boat at the same time, you may not get a proper idea of the improvements made by the new battery pack as against the other parts you’ve swapped in. This makes it very hard to then easily optimise each of these parts to benefit the overall performance of your vehicle.
It just makes sense to replace one part at a time and test your vehicle after each replacement before moving on to another part. If not, you may end up throwing money away for a part you get no benefit from or a supposed “upgrade” that actually hurts your vehicle’s performance.
4. Consider Polycarbonate or Composite Parts
Many RC vehicles, especially lower priced models, come with alloy or aluminum parts, which are heavy and can hinder the speed and handling of your RC car, boat, or helicopter.
If you only use your RC vehicle every now and then, aluminum or alloy parts will be just fine. On the other hand, if you want to get the best performance possible from your RC vehicle, polycarbonate or composite parts are the way to go!
Polycarbonate and composite parts are available for just about every inch of an RC vehicle. In fact, some companies like Muchmore even make polycarbonate screws for rear spoilers on RC cars.
Aftermarket polycarbonate and composite parts are much lighter than stock parts, so they will make your RC vehicle faster and increase its running efficiency. Who wouldn’t want to go faster for longer?
5. Keep Related Parts in Mind
Every RC vehicle owner wants to upgrade the parts on their vehicle to make it stronger, lighter, and faster, but some parts can increase the wear and tear on other parts, causing poorer performance or a mechanical breakdown.
Anyone who’s ever upgraded their Traxxas RC car with a Traxxas 3350X Velineon Brushless Power System will attest to the need to upgrade other parts as well. The Velineon System can turn a car that barely reaches 25 mph into a 60 mph lightning bolt of a race car, but the increased performance will place added wear and tear on its stock parts.
To avoid constant repairs, simply upgrade other necessary (but only necessary!) RC parts as well whenever you upgrade your motor or any other important part.
Ge the Right RC Parts!
Although RC vehicles are almost as much fun to work on as they are to drive, fly or sail, you must be careful when purchasing and installing RC parts. By following these five tips, you’ll keep your vehicle operating better than ever before and avoid the pitfalls often faced by inexperienced RC enthusiasts when it comes to replacing parts.