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Are Your RC Car Tires Too Hard? Here’s How To Soften Them

There is a lot of information to know and learn in the world of RC cars. It is a fascinating hobby to partake in. Whether you are driving them for fun or racing them for sport, one of the questions you might have is how to make the hard tires softer and more pliable.

How do you soften RC car tires that are too hard? If the tires are too hard, you can apply one of several chemicals to make the tires stickier, which amplifies their grip and softens the tire. When your tires are too hard, there is little to no traction. When racing RC cars, the softer and stickier the tire the better the car maneuvers.

The research on softening RC tires is mostly from personal experience and collected suggestions of avid RC car racers. Many racers refer to these compounds used on their RC tires as “tire sauce.” Always use caution when using any of these techniques to soften your RC tires.

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Softening RC Car Tires

There are several ways that you can experiment with to soften the tires of your RC car. I will share with you the ways I have seen most used in the RC car community and the ones that have the greatest likelihood of success, and in firsthand experiences that have been relayed by RC car users themselves.


One of the few ways that have been stated to soften up RC tires is to use WD-40. It is a very common lubricant used for basically anything that need lubrication.

First you should spray the tired down completely with WD-40 and let them dry for about an hour just before you intend on using your RC car.

WD-40 should make your tires more pliable and give them more traction. It will also keep mud from sticking to them as well.

To expedite and enhance the process: You may choose to wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in a zip lock bag so that the chemicals evaporate slower and get absorbed into the tire. You may also set them in the sun to warm up the rubber of the tire as the chemicals are being absorbed and evaporated. 

WD-40 is definitely my favorite for enhancing traction on RC car tires. Please be sure to keep in mind that applying any chemical to your tire may have an adverse effect. You may want to test it on one or two tires first before applying it to all of your tires to see what happens. Worst case scenario, you are replacing one tires instead of four. 

Simple Green

Simple Green seems to be one of the most popular ways that people use to soften their RC tires. This doesn’t really soften them, though. It just cleans the oil off of them and makes them stickier. 

You may choose to spray down your tires with Simple Green or to soak them overnight. If you soak them, it is advised to use a 50/50 solution with water so that they are not too tacky.

A common tip is to use a toothbrush over the tires to really soak in the Simple Green into the pores of the tires. They will need several hours to dry. It is up to you if you want to rinse them off or wipe them down after you are finished.

Liquid Wrench

An alternative to WD-40 that has been used over the years with great success is Liquid Wrench Lubricant Spray, specifically the blue can. It is a bit of better value by volume for the price compared to WD-40, but otherwise very similar in the results.

You may use Liquid Wrench on your tires immediately (30 minutes) prior to using your RC car. It is not recommended to let sit overnight or to soak them in this product though.

You may mix this with equal parts non-chlorine brake cleaner if you’d like for it to dry quicker.

PB Blaster

PB Blaster is a less often used variant in the community, but it works similarly to both WD-40 and Liquid Wrench. 

You can apply by spraying on and using a toothbrush to scrub and help the chemicals to penetrate the rubber.

Tips for Applying Tire-Softening Lubricants to Your RC Car 

I have already mentioned a few tips about how to better apply your chosen “tire sauce” to your tires, including:

· Use a toothbrush to help rub in and distribute whatever chemicals you decide to use on your tires better.

· Wrap the car in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag to help the chemicals soak into the tires more efficiently.

· Use equal parts brake cleaner to whatever agent you choose to use to help the tires to dry quicker.

· Leave them in the sun to warm up the rubber, which will enhance the absorption rate.

Avoiding Waste During Lubricant Application

A tip for avoiding the waste of overspray is to empty your chosen compound into a pressure release applicator, like an empty bingo stamper or a small detergent-releasing dishwasher sponge. 

If you use these methods to apply to the tires it will coat them completely and will not waste any of the product or products you are using. If you choose not to use these methods of application, you  will have overspray as well as sometimes just a mess of the liquid dripping down the tires and all over everything. 

If you don’t have an applicator like this handy, you may drip the liquid onto the tires rather than using the spray.

Precautions When Softening Your RC Car Tires

There are some precautions you need to be aware of as you dive into the world of RC cars and softening their tires.

Trial and Error

You might want to try a few different techniques to see what works best for your set of RC tires and the terrain you’re working with.  If the tires are too soft they might end up being too sticky, and pick up every bit of dirt and rock along the way. 

In this case, the best thing to do is to make sure they are clean and dry.

Harmful Chemicals

There are dangers in working with any potentially harmful chemicals, so be sure that you are always working in a well ventilated area and wear gloves when necessary. 

Be sure to clean up your workspace diligently when you are finished. Always keep chemicals out of reach from children and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on storing and disposal of each chemical.

Also, be careful about that overspray. Lubricants make things slippery – they’ll make your floor slick, too.

Tire Breakdown

If you implement these tricks too often, you might end up wearing down your tire and breaking them down more than desired. Try to only do these things just before using your RC car, and if that is very often, maybe try alternating and giving the tires a break between uses.

Alternatively, if you soak the tires for too long in certain chemicals, the tires might swell and be unusable indefinitely.

Learn More

Want to learn the “best method” (at least according to hybrid)? Check out the video below.

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When you are consistently using RC cars, whether it be for fun or for racing, you will always want to take good care of the tires and do everything you possibly can to get the most out of your time using them.

Your results may vary due to the track materials that you are running your RC car on and also dependant upon what materials your tires are made out of and which type of RC car that you are operating with. 

It might take a few tries with a few different items or “sauces,” but you should be able to figure out in no time what works for you and your RC car tires in making them the softest and most sticky and pliable for your circumstances.