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How Hot Should An RC Motor Get?

Radio-controlled cars (or RC cars for short) are miniature model cars or trucks that can be controlled from a distance using a specialized transmitter or remote. The term “RC” has been used to mean both “remote controlled” and “radio controlled”, where “remote controlled” includes vehicles that are controlled by radio, infrared or a physical wire connection (the latter is now obsolete). Common use of “RC” today usually refers only to vehicles controlled by radio, and this article focuses on radio-controlled vehicles only.

So how hot should an RC motor get?

Although RC motors do get hot, you will never want an RC motor’s temperature to pass 170°F or higher. If this happens, you have a chance of damaging the motor’s magnet, and damaging the motor of your RC car for forever. 

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If you would like to know more about how hot an RC motor should get, please keep reading or check out this video!

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RC Performance

You can enjoy your RC rides if you don’t feel any performance lack while running your RC vehicles. You won’t face any damage to your RC vehicles if your RC motor is not overheated. If the RC motor overheats though, your RC car may drop off in its performance. This is why you should know how hot an RC motor gets to prevent unwanted motor damage.

You don’t need to worry if your RC cars are not overheating, and you are in the right direction for handling it. Always try to avoid the motor temperature rising for protecting your RC cars. If the RC motor temperature is past 170°F or even higher, you have a chance of damaging the motor’s magnet. Here, we will provide you overall guidelines to measure the RC motor temperature and what to do if the motor overheats.

General Idea

The RC car user needs to care about motor temperature while using the RC car. You need to protect your RC motor if the motor temperature exceeds more than 160F/70C. In this case, you need to be selective in choosing the right RC motor for your RC car to prevent the motor damage. If your RC motor includes the brushless motor systems with the thermal overload protection, you can not worry about the problem even if the motor reaches a severe temperature. If your RC motor comes with thermal overload protection, you can save your RC cars from critical damage.

Reasons For Overheating

The RC motors become too hot if the temperature is more significant than 160F/70C. Let’s learn several reasons for the overheating of the RC motors and the solution for it. If you want to fix the problems, you should know the causes of overheating on the RC motors.

The motor becomes hot if the gearing set is too tall. In this case, you need to reduce the pinion size or size up the spur gear size. Your RC motor may also overheat from the continuous running time. Also, you face the higher motor temperature if the ESC is not adequately coordinated with the motor and exceeds the continuous current time. In this case, the large-sized ESC is required to maintain a balanced motor temperature, when the running time is too much.

Another reason behind the overheating motor is the extreme heat of the battery cells. In this situation, you need to speed up the battery cells’ capacity. You need to use a maximum of 80% of the intended max discharge rate. You should be careful of the battery capacity, especially when the 20% capacity should remain. If the RC motors are less than 70C or 160F, you may think you are risk-free, and the setup is sufficient. If the setup is not proper, your motor may overheat. This is why it would be best if you always focused on the running time. Don’t cross the limit of the motor capacity and temperature.

Measuring The Temperature

RC enthusiasts should always know the temperature of the RC motors for their safety. We know the over-temperature of the motor is the most significant enemy of the RC hardware. Too much heat of the motor can undoubtedly destroy the electric parts of the RC components. The best idea for how to measure the RC motor temperature is with a temp gun. You may prefer a cost-effective temp gun for your RC cars if you are just starting off. This is the best one at the best price. 

If you want to save your RC vehicles from an overheating motor, you will need to check the motor temperature periodically. Try to check the temperature of the brushless motor and the electronic speed controller, while running the RC vehicles. You should measure the motor temperature from the temp gun within 30-60 seconds of the RC car making laps. If you wait for too long, there is a chance to get a miss-lead of the temperature reading on the RC motor and ESC. So, you need to measure the temperature within 30-60 seconds, while running. If the temperature is higher (more than 160F/70C), you need to lower the speed. You are safe with your RC riding, when the temperature is less than 160F/70C.

Temperature Readings

There are a few things you will need to consider for getting the right temperature of the RC motors. The following is a  list of matters that can influence the RC motor reading

  • Greater Ambient Temperatures (like outdoor temperature)
  • Enhanced Motor Load With Forceful Throttle Use
  • Binding of Driveline Elements
  • Aging Batteries
  • Duration of the Running Time

Temp Gun

When you measure the RC motor temperature for the first time, you should select the contractive gear for perfect measurement. In RC airplanes, you can easily measure the RC motor temperature. You can get the heating measurement of the RC motor from RC airplanes within 45 seconds from the temp gun. For RC cars or boats, you need to wait 45 seconds to get the temperature after running the car. This means you need to wait for 45 seconds after starting to run the car’s temperature. 

You can’t get instant readings while starting to run the car. If all the RC components’ temperature is under 140F/60C, you are safe. You can again get the heating temperature after 45 seconds so that you can control the speed to prevent damage. If the temperature exceeds (160F/70C), you need to reduce the load and the run time. 

Overheated Motors

You can save the RC vehicles from overheating by looking after the pinion gears. If you have a 12t motor with 23 pinions, it means you are over gearing If you have this, it may heat your motor a lot more than normal. This is why you need a quality RC motor, which will not overheat very often.

If you run the RC car in the grass, it can drastically increase your motor temperature as well. To run the car with the highest speed and stop instantly and increase the running speed again can lead to overheating the motor and ESC. Do not do this. Always maintain a normal speed ratio while running the car.


Now that you know all of the above info, you can understand the significant motor temperature an RC motor can have on an RC car. The standard motor temperature is less than 160F/70C, and the highest motor temperature that the RC motor should have is no more than 170F/77C. If the RC motor temperature exceeds more than the limit, you will want to take a break from racing, or lower the gear speed in order to not damage your RC car.