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How to Keep Your RC Car Motor Cool & Avoid Overheating

When it comes to RC motors, heat is a big enemy you don’t want to have around. When the temperature of your RC motor is too high, it can lead to a drop in performance or even a complete failure while you’re racing. Motors, speed controls, and batteries are some of the most important things in an RC car.

Seeing as they are quite really expensive, you don’t want to blow up any of these components because it is going to take a serious toll on your bank account.

Most of the time, the failure of your motor or speed control is a result of heat. Heat and electronics do not work together at all. Typically, electronics work better and are more dependable when they’re at lower temperatures, so it is always the best idea to run your motor and ESC  as cool as possible.

Keeping these electronics cool will help to ensure that they last longer and probably even give you longer run-times. 

If you find that your car is overheating all the time there are some things that you should check to try and solve the issue before it gets worse. Some things to check are: 

  • The ventilation
  • Running your car too hard
  • Overgearing or undergearing
  • Using the wrong motor

There are of course other things besides these that can cause overheating but these are the most common things that need changed or fixed to solve the heat problem. 

If you need a new RC motor or simply want to see what is currently available and how much it costs just click here.

If you want to find some additional tips to help deal with the overheating be sure and check out the video below. 

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If your RC motor seems to be overheating, don’t worry, there are a number of things you should know and things you can do to make the whole situation better. Let’s take a look at some of those things.

Find Your Car’s Make and Model

There are many different types of RC cars and models, so the first thing you want to consider if your RC motor is overheating is the make and model of your RC car.

Figure Out What the Problem Really Is

You probably think you already know the problem with your motor, and it’s overheating, but you also need to know what is causing that overheating. The problem might be coming from just a simple spur gear that is either over-geared or under-geared. It may also be that you are running your motor too hard or, it’s possible that you are using the wrong motor in your car.

Over-gearing or Under-gearing

To know if you are either over-gearing or under-gearing your car, take off the cover of the gear or anything that protects your car’s gear. Take a look at the number on the pinion gear. If you have a 12t motor, for example, and your pinion gear says 23, what this means is that you are over-gearing, and this will definitely overheat your motor. For a 12t motor, a fitting pinion gear should be about 18 or 19. So, make sure that you’re not over-gearing, and if you are then fixing that should also solve all of your overheating issues.

Running Your Car Too Hard

Running your car too hard can be another reason why your motor is overheating. Depending on the kind of car you have, you can run it too hard, and you would probably not even know it. If you run your car in the grass, for example, the temperature of the motor will increase dramatically over what it would get when running on pavement. 

Also, running your car at its highest speed, followed by stopping and then turning and going at full speed again, can make your motor overheat quite quickly. As a matter of fact, it can also overheat your Electronic Speed Control (ESC). So, you might want to avoid doing these types of things. Also, do not hold the throttle in when your car is in the air like on a jump. When your car is in the air you want to let off on the throttle so as to not run your motor at the high RPMs. 

Use the Right Motor

This is very important if you do not want to run into any problems. You need to make sure that you are using the RC motor that is best suited for your vehicle in particular. Now is the time to refer to your user manual and make sure that you have the right motor installed. 

This will rarely be the issue as most people buy ready to race (RTR) models and the people that don’t should know what they are doing but if you bought your RC car from someone else locally it might have this issue. 


Sometimes, the main reason your RC motor is overheating is the fact that the body of your car is not receiving the adequate air it needs to cool your motor and ESC down.

To ensure that there is enough ventilation, here are some steps that you would need to follow:

  • Cut a vent: Just get your power tools out and cut a vent at the top or the part where your ESC and motor are so that they can receive fresh air. Also, make sure that the other components and electronics are not blocking the flow of air to the motor. When you’re doing this, be careful and take safety precautions and be sure that you don’t cut into anything besides the body of the vehicle.
  • Fan it: Something else that you can do in addition to venting is fanning the motor if you have some room to spare. You can plug a fan into the empty channel port on the receiver. You can also use a Y-cable to split the wire with something else.
  • Use a heat sink: Using a clip-on heat sink is another great way to keep your motor cool. Heat sinks come in very small sizes, and maximum contact can make them very effective at getting the heat out.
  • Upgrade your bearings: Something else you can do to cool your motor down is to upgrade your bearings. When the motor gets more efficient, the automatic result is that your motor will generate less heat. If you replace your brushless motor bearings with stainless steel bearings or ceramic hybrids, that will also help to lower rolling resistance as well as improve motor temperatures. This will, in turn, ensure that you get better performance and longer run-time.


Generally, a good rule of thumb for brushless motors is to keep the temperatures below 170 degrees. Anything above that and you risk damaging the components of your RC car. If your brushless motor heats above that temperature, it is probably headed in the direction of trouble. 

Even though there are motors that can handle well above that temperature, just keep in mind that too much heat will make your motor wear out much faster and can lead to a host of other issues as well. 

Now, while your motor may be able to survive above that temperature, remember that wearing out faster means that you’re going to be spending more money to get a new motor and will have to also spend the time replacing it way more often than you should. 

If it seems difficult for you to stay at below 170 degrees, check your car’s gearing as we have already mentioned, turn the boost down on your ESC, and lower the mechanical timing on your motor.