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RC Cars and Shock Oil Explained

Picking the right shock oil for an RC car can be difficult. With so many on the market and manufacturers not offering much advice about which shock oil to use, it can be hard to find the best shock oil for your RC car.

So, which shock oil is best for your RC car? The shock oil you will use depends on the type of RC car in which it will be used. Both motor oil and silicone-based oil can be used, but silicone-based oil is the best choice for most RC cars.

When purchasing the shock oil for your RC car, you must consider the following three factors:

  • The car’s weight
  • The size of the car’s absorber
  • The stiffness of the car’s springs

When using oils, particularly with an electronic device, it is best to be fully informed. In this article, you will learn all about shock oil and what is best for your RC car. Additionally, in this article I will delve deeper into why silicone-based oil is the best oil for your RC car in most situations.

To see the most popular RC cars and accessories on the market right now just click here.

Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler with Waterproof Electronics, 2.4Ghz Radio Control (1/10 Scale), Blue/Black

Check out this amazing Rock Crawler from Redcat Racing. This massive RC vehicle has tunable suspension and adjustable shocks.

With as many options as this vehicle has you might forget that it’s an RC truck and not a real one!

Things to Take into Consideration When Purchasing Shock Oil

There are a few things to consider when purchasing shock oil for your RC car. When choosing your shock oil, it’s important to know that the thickness of shock oil is measured in CST or WT – the higher the number, the thicker the oil.

The following three factors will determine the shock oil that you need for your RC car.

#1 The Weight of the RC Car

The general rule in the RC world is that the heavier your vehicle is, the higher the CST or WT of shock oil is required. The RC car industry is filled with different shapes and sizes of RC cars, and this has resulted in many shock oils being developed.

Find out the exact weight of your RC car model before purchasing your oil. This helps to determine which oil is the best choice. It also eliminates the need to return the oil because it is the wrong kind.

#2 Size of the Absorber

If the RC car has a small absorber, it will use less oil. The opposite is true as well – larger absorbers will use more oil. RC car absorbers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Check to see what size your absorber is before making your purchase.

#3 Stiffness of the Springs

All manufacturers make their products differently, so the springs within RC cars vary in stiffness. As a result, the spring stiffness is another thing that needs to be considered. If the spring is already loose and bouncy, then not as much oil is required. For stiffer springs, you will need more oil.

Why Use Shock Oil?

If you are using an RC car for racing, using shock oil helps to promote the longevity of the vehicle. The purpose of the oil is to absorb shocks when the vehicle crashes. It is a product that can be pricey, but it is also a lifeline for crashed or damaged RC cars. So, it’s a small price to pay to make sure your prized RC car lives to drive another day.

Many people use RC cars for racing, so crashes are rather common. Sometimes, cars come away from races in a state of disrepair but having shock oil can give the car an extra layer of protection. For maximum protection, you must choose the appropriate shock oil for the vehicle. Using the wrong one could potentially do more harm than good in the long run.

Even if the user does not plan on using the RC cars for racing, it is still a good idea to use shock oil. RC cars are not cheap, so it’s always an advantage to have a contingency plan if anything goes wrong.

Why Use Silicone-Based Shock Oil?

Silicone is used for many different things, but the use of it in shock oil is because of its incredible lubricating properties. Keeping the parts of the vehicle that absorb the impacts of a crash lubricated prevents maximum damage to the parts. Silicone-based shock oil is better for the environment than the other options of motor oil, as well.

Other advantages of using silicone-based shock oil include:

  • It is safer than motor oil.
  • Its lubrication is more effective than motor oil.
  • It is not flammable.
  • It is an electrical insulator, which means it will increase the life of your RC car.
  • It is usually cheaper than motor oil.
  • It is widely available, so it’s easier to find the right kind for your car.

Not only are silicone-based oils great for your RC cars, but they are also starting to be more widely used in actual vehicles as a means of lubricating components of the car. This increase in use is attributed to the lack of emissions from silicone.

Why Motor Oil Should Be Your Last Resort

Even though silicone shock oil is widely considered the best one to use, there is one more option available. Motor oil can be used as shock oil, but it’s much worse for the environment than its silicone-based counterpart.

Motor oil needs to be measured out correctly to make sure the correct amount is being used for the desired RC car. The reason for this is that motor oil can make parts of the RC car break more quickly than they normally would.

Motor oil has solvents in it that are known to break down tars and waxes, so if your RC car has any of those inside, it could do a good bit of harm to the car.

Making the choice between motor oil and silicone-based oil for your RC car ultimately comes down to which materials make up your RC car. The truth is that silicone-based oil is much more versatile and can work wonders when it comes to absorbing the impact from crashes. There really is no reason to use motor oil over silicone oil.

Basic Shock Oil Setups for Common RC Vehicles

While all RC cars are different from one another, there are many common RC vehicles that will use the same CST or WT because of their similar designs. The following chart outlines a few of the most popular RC car vehicles and the shock oil they need.

RC Vehicle Shock Oil Recommendation
1:10 Touring 4WD 400cst
1:10 Buggy/Short Course 2WD Front: 300 – 350cst Rear: 250 – 350cst
1:10 Buggy 4WD Front: 350 – 450cst Rear: 300 – 400cst
1:10 Short Course 4WD (newer models) Front: 350 – 450cst Rear: 350 – 400cst
1:8 Buggies and Truggies Front: 400 – 600cst Rear: 350 – 500cst

Note: The recommendations in the chart are from EuroRC’s article, “Info: Basic Shock Oil Setup.”

Best RC Shock Oil

There are many different Rc shock oils on the market. Deciding which one you should use can be a difficult choice. In the video below RC Mike gives his opinion on which shock oil you should use.

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The best shock oil for RC cars is silicone-based. However, knowing the best oil is not enough to choose the right oil. You must consider the weight of your RC car, the size of its absorbers, and the stiffness of its springs. Then, you must find the proper CST or WT of shock oil according to those factors.

For most cars and most situations shock oil is by far the best option for your RC car. Motor oil can be used in a pinch but it is certainly not the best option for most people and cars.