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How To Remove Glued RC Car Tires

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If you are thinking of a way to take your worn-out tires off of your RC car rims and not leave a lot of glue and rubber behind, there are quite a number of different methods that you can use. You might also just want to take off your tires simply because you want to put them onto other rims. 

Whatever your reason, this article will show you methods that you can use to achieve that.

There are four basic ways to remove your glued RC car tires. Those methods are:

  • Acetone
  • Steamer
  • Oven
  • Boiling water

Each of these methods vary in their effectiveness and in how much time and money they cost. Ultimately you will want to find what method works the best for you and then continue to use that method in the future. While some people will swear by one specific method just because it is right for them does not mean it is the best or easiest for you. 

We will look at each of the four methods mentioned below in more detail in the rest of this article. 

If you prefer to watch a video about these methods instead of reading you can check out the video below. 

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To do this method you will need at least one liter of acetone, an acetone bottle, an empty metal paint tin about 2-4 quarts in size or just big enough for your rims, rubber gloves, and, if possible, an old paintbrush.

Pour your acetone into the empty paint tin, then place the rims flat on the bottom and ensure that they are completely soaked in the acetone. Put the cover back on the paint tin and make sure it is sealed well to stop any acetone from evaporating away.

Ideally, you should leave the tires in the tin of acetone for 48 hours, even though 24 hours can work too. However, with 24 hours, the tires may take some extra effort to remove, so if possible you should do 48 hours. By this time, the acetone will have dissolved the glue so you can easily remove tires from the rims.

You might want to use a new tin, if possible, to prevent the acetone from getting contaminated. You can simply buy empty mixing tins for this purpose. 

When you’ve removed the tires, there may still be traces of glue left on the rims. Rub a little acetone over the glue with the paintbrush, and since it’s already been soaked, it should easily dissolve and clean right off. 

Remember to always replace the lid of the paint tin, so the acetone doesn’t evaporate when you are using it or even in between uses. When the acetone gets low, you can top it off or completely replace it.

The acetone method is actually the easiest and best method of removing glued RC tires. The only downside is that acetone may be expensive, but you can use it many times over, so make sure that any acetone caught in the foams/tires/ rims goes back into the tin for next time. 

Something to keep in mind about the acetone method is that the inner foam may swell up. When this happens, ring them out, let them dry, and soon, they will get back to their normal sizes and can be reused.

You may also choose to cut away the tire and take out the foam so as to speed up the process. This way, the acetone gets into the bead faster. You of course would only want to do this if the tires are trash already. 

The acetone will turn a deep yellow or orange color with time as the glue dissolves in it. The wheels will have to stay longer in the acetone, and glue residue will eventually stick to the rims. Replace the acetone with a new batch when this begins to happen.

Be cautious when you’re working with chemicals because they can be flammable and also dangerous to the skin. Gloves are always a great option when you are using any chemicals. 

You can find acetone at many of your local retailers or even at places online like Amazon by clicking here. 

Food Steamer Pan

You will need a vegetable steamer pan with a lid or an electric vegetable steamer unit as well as water. Here, you will be using intense heat to make the glue get brittle so that the tires can fall off. If you want, you can reuse the tires and the foam.

Just put the wheels in the vegetable steamer pan. Make sure that the bottom pan is filled with water at boiling point on the hob, and the top pan has the rims inside of it. Cover it with the lid and steam the rims for up to 45 minutes.

As soon as you’re done, the tires should require only a little effort to pull off the rims. If you still find it difficult to get the tires off, you may need to steam the tires for a little bit longer. When using steam and hot water, always make sure to be careful. The good thing about this method is that you can save money on acetone and it is much quicker than the acetone method as well. 

Bake RC Rims in an Oven

You can use medium heat in an oven to bake your tires for half an hour, and the tires should be easy to take off after they are heated up. Just like the steam method above, the heat will make the glue get brittle so the tires can come off with only a little effort. This is a great option for many typical buggy racing rims, but some cheaper and lower quality plastic rims may get damaged or melt entirely. This method is a quite risky one but one that you might still want to try if you think your rims will be fine. 

Of course, your oven and your kitchen will smell of rubber for some time after doing this, so you will want to keep that in mind. That huge downside is one main reason why people prefer other options over the oven one. 

Boiling water 

This is not the best method out there, but it actually works. When no other methods seem practical to you, you may want to try this. It may take a lot of effort to get the tires off, and there may still be some brittle glue left on the rims when you’re done, but it will eventually get the tires off even though it may take a lot of pulling and prying. 

This is easier if you start by cutting off some of the tires to let the hot water get to the bead of glue. Place the wheels carefully in a pan of boiling water on the stove. Leave them fully soaking in the water for at least 30 minutes, and preferably more than that.

This will make the glue brittle so that you can take off the tires by simply pulling on them. This way, the tires can easily come off without leaving behind a lot of glue and rubber. You can use a small flat screwdriver to take off any rubber as well as glue that was left behind.

Also, keep in mind that some of the cheaper or old rims can crack, so this isn’t the best method for every wheel. Always let the water cool before you handle the rims so that way you don’t burn yourself. 


These are the four main ways that are used by most RC hobbyists to remove their glued RC car tires. You will have to test and see which method works best for your tires and rims and then just stick to using that same method all of the time. 

If acetone works great and you don’t mind the added time or expense then just keep doing it that way. Don’t be tempted to change how you do it just because someone else claims to have a miracle way to remove their glued RC tires.