If you are an, RC car hobbyist who’s bored and tired of the slow battery-run RC cars, Nitro RC cars might be the thing for you.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about Nitro RC cars.
What Are Nitro RC cars?
Nitro RC cars are not your regular toy-level cars. They are radio or remote-controlled hobby-class cars for racing run by gas-powered engines. Compared to electric RC cars, they are usually bigger and faster and ensure a much more realistic experience.
How Old Are Nitro RC cars?
The history of Nitro RC cars ranges back to the 60s. In 1966, Elettronica Gioattoli first developed a model of Ferrari 250LM powered using a Nitro engine.
Later in the journey, manufacturers took it to the next level by introducing high-power nitro engines and stronger chassis. Years of innovation and constant development led to the robust and powerful RC cars that you see today.
Features of Nitro RC Cars
Before you consider purchasing a nitro RC car, you need to be aware of its features and characteristics. Let’s take a look at the constructs of these cars.
Just like full-size gas-powered cars, engines in these cars consist of carburetors, air filters, flywheels, clutches, pistons, glow plugs, and crankshafts. Modern-day nitro RC cars have two-stroke engines powered with highly combustible nitro fuel.
What is Nitro Fuel?
Nitro fuel is a balanced mixture of three ingredients –
Methanol – Methanol, or methyl alcohol is highly explosive, easy to ignite with a glow plug, and releases more energy per pound of air than gasoline.
Nitromethane – The name of the car arises from nitromethane. It helps to burn the fuel faster and boosts the power output of the engine.
Lubricant – Two-stroke engines do not have oil-filled crankcases, so they depend on lubricants mixed into the fuel to run smoothly. A blend of Castor-bean oil and synthetic oils is used as a lubricant in nitro fuel due to its resistance to breaking down at high temperatures.
Chassis and Drivetrain
The nitro RC car chassis is primarily made of lightweight anodized aluminum for its heat-reducing properties. The engine itself is mounted on an aluminum motor, further helping to keep the engine cool.
The drivetrain on nitro RC cars is also made of all-metal differentials and other all-metal gears.
The runtime of the nitro-powered cars depends on how much fuel the tank holds and the time required to refuel. Depending on the tank’s size and your driving style, a full tank should give 20 to 25 minutes of runtime.
However, unlike electric RC cars, once the tank runs down, it takes less than a minute to refill, and you can get back on the road in no time.
Although small in size, nitro engines are mighty and powerful. The engines can generate around 8000 horsepower. Even the basic nitro RC cars can speed up to 40 mph like a full-sized car, while the racing cars can accelerate up to 100 mph in just 0.8 seconds.
How Much Upkeep Do Nitro RC Cars Need?
Having a nitro RC car can be quite a costly and time-consuming hobby because it requires regular before and after-run maintenance for smooth running.
After-run maintenance – For nitro RC cars, after-run maintenance includes checking and replacing rims and tires, cleaning and oiling the air filter, draining the fuel tank, checking and changing shocks and bearings, checking and tightening loose screws and adding after-burn oil.
Nitro engine break-in – To avoid costly repairs in the future, ensure that the new nitro engine goes through a proper break-in.
Glow plug replacement – The glow plug also requires a periodic replacement and, the fuel system of the car needs to be kept in check.
Brakes – Brakes only need small adjustments from time to time. To make the brakes react quicker, you need to throttle linkage on your car. Moreover, repairing the trim settings on the transmitter will help you further adjust the braking power.
What Are the Drawbacks of Nitro RC Cars?
As mighty as they are, they come with their fair share of downsides too.
These cars run by burning fuel, so you get the smell and sound of a race engine. It can get really loud and cause trouble for others.
They come at a higher price range compared to battery-run RC cars. Moreover, they require a lot of fuel, so a higher operational cost in the long term.
Nitro fuels will degrade faster if stored in the wrong environment. If left open, it can soak up moisture from the air and cause its components to breakdown. Direct light or frequent temperature change also degrades nitro fuel and reduces its efficiency.
These cars require a lot of time for caring and maintenance. Moreover, it requires time and effort to get good control over these cars.
Nitro fuel is highly flammable. It is poisonous and can irritate when burned. Furthermore, they can be extremely dangerous to run indoors or in crowded areas.
What Are the Best Brands Selling Nitro RC Cars?
There are a lot of companies manufacturing and selling these hobby-grade cars. From beginner level cars to professional racing buggies, these are the few of the best-selling brands for Nitro RC cars in the market-
Should You Start with Nitro RC Cars?
Before you decide to buy your first Nitro RC car, you need to remember a few things.
Nitro-powered cars are expensive to buy and maintain. They are a lot faster, hence difficult to control than electric RCs. You will require skill and experience to be able to safely drive a nitro RC. As a newbie, you will require a lot of time and practice before having good control over it.
You should only consider getting a nitro RC car if you can afford the time and money it requires.
Peter has been building model trains for longer than he can remember. An avid fan of HO and O scale this blog is a creative outlet to allow him to dive further into other scales and aspects of the model train community and hobby.