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How To Turn Off A Nitro RC Car (Works for Traxxas, Redcat, Etc.)

RC cars come in many shapes and forms, with some of them even being replicas of real vehicles. With all these different shapes and sizes RC cars also come with different ways to power them with the two main ways being via battery or nitro fuel.  

These nitro-powered RC cars are a ton of fun to drive because they add a hint of realism to the RC car hobby. They offer owners the sound of a real and working engine and the sweet smell of the exhaust. Many people have come to own nitro-powered RC vehicles over the years and commonly they can get them started without too much difficulty but when it comes to shutting their nitro RC car off many people get stumped. 

Shutting down a nitro-powered RC car  may be more tricky than people realize, especially when issues can come up if it was not done correctly. Understanding the proper way to shut down your Traxxas nitro-powered car will result in your RC car lasting much longer than if you shut it down improperly. 

 Also, depending on your type of car, some methods of turning off an RC car are better than others. 

The easiest way to turn off your nitro RC car is to use the back end of a hammer, screwdriver, or any other blunt object and press it against the flywheel. If you don’t have access to these items then you can also pinch off the fuel line to shut your motor off. 

Along with these two more popular ways you can also shut off a nitro RC motor by plugging the exhaust by using your finger or holding something over the exhaust. This certainly isn’t the ideal way but if you can’t get the motor to shut off using the previous two methods then it is something that you can try. 

We will go into a little more depth about each of these options and how to do them properly in more depth below. 

If you would prefer to watch a video instead of reading this article you can check out the video below. 

Here are the three main ways that you can use to shut off a nitro-powered RC car.

1. Stop the flywheel

Bumping the flywheel is the safest, hence the best way to shut down a nitro-powered car. However, not all models and brands of RC cars offer this option and you can damage your flywheel if you don’t do it right. 

Generally, RTR vehicles and monster truck models do not come with this possibility as there is no access to the flywheel so you will have to resort to using the two other approaches that we will mention later.. However, if you do have access to the flywheel, then you can certainly try this method first. 

If it doesn’t work it is pretty easy to move on and try one of the other methods mentioned.

To properly stop the flywheel, you should use something that is made of plastic or rubber as a  stopper. Normally the handle of a screwdriver, hammer, or a variety of other tools will work just fine. You can use your finger to do this but be warned it will probably hurt a decent amount. 

The surface of the flywheel is relatively rough and can easily damage anything that is rubbing against it when you are shutting off the engine. Therefore, use a plastic tool that you are okay with being damaged and not your fingertip where it can rip off your skin! 

To do this method just wait until your motor is idling as low as possible and then push your tool on the flywheel. This will immediately shut off the engine. 

2. Pinch the fuel line

Pinching the fuel line is the second best method for shutting off your nitro RC car. Stopping the flywheel is ultimately the best but this is a close second. When you pinch the fuel line you will be starving the engine of the fuel that it needs and it will die very quickly. 

When the engine is deprived of fuel, the motor of your car will no longer run which is the result that you are obviously trying to get. 

You do need to make sure not to remove the fuel line as that could cause you issues. Simply pinch it between your fingers to stop the flow of the fuel and your nitro RC car should die quite quickly, 

If you are unsure of how to pinch the fuel, this is what you should do:

  1. If you can easily get to the fuel line without getting burned by the hot engine or the exhaust, then, with the utmost care, use your fingers to pinch the fuel line.
  2. If not then, you can opt to use needle-nose pliers instead, which you can buy at virtually any local store or even on Amazon here.
  3. Ensure that throughout this process, you do not damage or cut the fuel line. This is especially important when you are using the needle-nose pliers. They can be sharp and could easily cut through the fuel line if you are not careful.

3. Plug The Exhaust Pipe

This is the last option we will mention when it comes to turning off  your nitro-powered RC car. Many people have said that this method is not the best one since it can cause you to leave fuel in your motor in between runs. Taking this approach to shutting off your motor can lead to long-lasting damage to your engine. When you plug the exhaust pipe of the engine, it can lead to built-up pressure in the pipeline and increased pressure in the fuel tank. 

Not only that but if this is the last time that you are using your RC car for the day, using this method will leave fuel in your engine which in turn could cause your engine to corrode as well as be more difficult to start the next time. 

That is why this should only be used as a last resort or when you are shutting off your RC car temporarily to refuel or take it to another location. 

Now that we have looked at the three best ways that you can use to safely shut off your nitro RC engine, now let us now dive a little deeper into what exactly nitro-powered RC cars are and what differentiates them from their battery powered counterpart. 

What Are Nitro-Powered RC Cars?

Nitromethane, or nitro for short, is the key element used to power these small two stroke engines. These nitro-powered RC cars use a single servo for braking control and throttle power. When the carburetor is opened, air and fuel mixture enters, leading to their combination and then internal combustion. 

In many models, you can also find the brake, located in the driveshaft, that works by creating friction between the braking material. What’s more, some models also come with an additional servo that controls the transmission box of the engine. This results in making it possible for your nitro RC car to go in reverse. 

However, this is quite rare and most nitro RC vehicles will only go forward and don’t come equipped with a reverse gear as it increases the wear and tear and shortens the life of your RC vehicle. 

One of the most significant selling points of nitro cars is that they operate and feel like a full-sized vehicle. Another fantastic feature that attracts nitro-car fans from all over is the sound that the engine emits. Nitro powered RC cars can also be much larger than their battery powered counterparts since the nitro fuel can move a much larger vehicle than batteries can. 

However, there are a few noteworthy cons of nitro-powered cars that you should be aware of.

  1. Generally, they are slower than their brushless battery powered siblings.
  2. You have to find and mix the special fuel to operate the engine.
  3. At times, their exhaust will contain unburned oil, leading to the coating and buildup of debris. Naturally, this means that you will have to clean and maintain the vehicle and its engine more often. If not, the lifespan of your RC car will decrease rapidly.
  4. In addition to cleaning your nitro-powered RC car regularly, you also have to conduct regular maintenance checks and tune-ups. If not, you will run the risk of hurting the performance of your vehicle in the long run.

In Conclusion

There are many ways to ensure that you safely shut down your engine. It is crucial that you follow the right approach to shutting your nitro-powered RC cars so that you can prevent any long-lasting damage to your engine. Depending on your model, you can either stop the flywheel, pinch the fuel line, or plug the exhaust. You should choose the best of those three options depending on your model as some models will be difficult or impossible to reach the flywheel or fuel lines. 

You should also always remember to patiently wait for your engine to idle before shutting it down. You also have to maintain regular cleaning and maintenance tune-ups to ensure that your nitro engine is operating in its best state all of the time.