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RC Cars Throttle Trim Explained

Remote-controlled vehicles are an exciting way to get the whole family outdoors. When it comes to going over hills, doing donuts in the sand, and racing down a trackway, there’s nothing more exhilarating than Remote Controlled (RC) Cars!

As fun as it is to take a miniature version of your dream car down the road, it is important that the throttle trim is calibrated properly.

So, what exactly does an RC car throttle trim do? An RC car throttle trim is the dial setting that helps to manually reset the RC vehicle’s idle position. In simple terms, it tells the car when to start and stop.

Although this may sound technical, this process is simple enough for any beginner to master with a little understanding of what a throttle trim does on an RC car and how to trim the throttle yourself.

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What Does Throttle Trim Do On an RC Car?

As stated before, the throttle trim of an RC car is the manual setting of the RC vehicle’s neutral point. That is, the remote control itself is physically calibrated to send a signal to the RC vehicle to tell it that whenever the trim is in this specific location, the vehicle should not accelerate.

The throttle trim sets the RC vehicle’s idle state, or stop position. It does not serve the same function as a brake, but it will keep the RC car from moving forward (or backward) when you don’t want it to.

However, if the calibration is off by even a little, the RC car may begin to move forward or reverse on its own. If this does occur, follow the manual or guide below to trim the throttle on the RC vehicle.

How To Trim the Throttle on an RC Vehicle

  1. Place the RC Vehicle on a Flat Surface- In case the calibration does not go well, you’ll want the RC car on a flat surface to avoid damages. Something as simple as a piece of pavement or plank of wood on the ground will suffice. You will also want to make sure the wheels are all facing forward.

  2. Ensure the Transmitter is On- It may seem like a no brainer, but this is a crucial first step to make sure that the adjustments are being updated in live time to the RC vehicle.

  3. Locate the Throttle Trim Knob- Most controllers and RC vehicles should have two different throttle knobs: one for throttle reverse and the other for the throttle trim. Your manual should have a diagram displaying which is which, or the controller itself, should be labeled with “REV” for throttle reverse and “TH Trim” for throttle trim.

If you can’t find it anywhere on the controller, there is a chance it is located on the RC car itself. Flip it over to see!

*Note: Not all RC vehicles will have a throttle adjustment knob! If this is the case, you may have to manually manage the throttle speed while in use.

  1. Center the Throttle Trigger- This may also be called the “Brake” or “Reverse” trigger, but they all share the same function: changing the RC vehicle’s speed. To center it, simply release all tension from it until it sits in the middle of the controller.

  2. Turn the Throttle Trim Knob Clockwise- You’ll want to do this slowly! The goal is to adjust it slowly until the RC car begins to drift forward.
  3. Turn the Throttle Trim Knob Counterclockwise- Once the RC car begins to drift forward, turn the throttle trim knob in the opposite direction (counterclockwise) until the RC vehicle comes to a complete stop. Once you get to a point where the RC vehicle has stopped, the throttle trim has been properly calibrated.

  4. Check the New Throttle Trim Location- To make sure you’re getting the most use out of your RC vehicle, test the new throttle trim calibration by accelerating the vehicle down a straight, smooth surface.
    1. If it accelerates too quickly, the throttle trim may need to be turned counterclockwise more.
    2. If it accelerates too slowly, the throttle trim may need to be turned clockwise.
  5. Go Racing! After all that, the throttle trim on your RC car should be in the proper position and ready for racing once more!

Signs Your Throttle Trim Needs to be Adjusted

Although you would think it is necessary to reset the throttle trim each time before racing your RC car, this is not true. Over-calibration of the RC car’s throttle trim could lead to overcranking the gears (if it is manually set) or interfering with the transmission signal (if it is wireless via the controller). To avoid these complications, you should only intervene and reset the throttle trim if your RC car shows the following issues:

  • Moving on its own- If your RC car begins to accelerate forward/backward without you adjusting the throttle, it is time to adjust the throttle trim.
    • Follow the guide from before to properly calibrate it.
  • Takes off too quickly- If you pull the acceleration trigger and the RC car immediately starts to spin off too quickly, the throttle trim is set beyond the intended need and “too hot.”
    • Turn the throttle trim counterclockwise.
  • Brakes suddenly- Oppositely, if your RC car comes to a complete stop suddenly or seems to jolt itself forward only to idle, the throttle trim isn’t set far ahead enough.
    • Turn the throttle trim clockwise.

How is Steering Trim Different From Throttle Trim?

When you first look at an RC car’s controller, it can be a bit overwhelming with so many options. Although each RC car will have its own design and placement, most RC cars will have both a steering trim and throttle trim. They may sound alike, but these two types of trims control separate functions within the RC vehicle.

Steering Trim

The steering trim of an RC car controls the transmission signal to the directionality of the RC vehicle. In other words, the steering trim is what helps navigate the RC car in a straight line.

If your RC car seems to be swaying left or right despite you not directing the RC car that way, the steering trim may be the cause of the issue.

Throttle Trim

The throttle trim of an RC car controls the transmission signal to control the acceleration of the RC vehicle. In other words, the throttle trim is what makes the RC car start and stop.

If your RC car seems to start or stop too quickly, the throttle trim may be the cause of the issue.

Sub Trim

If your RC car has a manual throttle trim (when the throttle trim is located on the RC car rather than on the remote control), there is a good chance you will also be able to adjust the sub trim. The sub trim is the rod that connects the trim to the servo (it’s like the brain that steers the RC car straight).

To adjust the sub trim, you will need to flip the RC vehicle over and manually realign the rods until the wheels are perfectly facing forward. This might be a bit too mechanical for a beginner, so adjusting the main throttle trim will suffice.

More Tips

Want some more tips on adjusting throttle trim on your RC car? Check out these two helpful videos below.

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Remote-controlled vehicles are a fun activity that can quickly turn into a hobby. From helicopters to boats, nothing seems to beat the classic RC car when it comes to outdoor fun!

So, help keep your RC car racing for longer by properly caring for the throttle trim; it’s necessary to calibrate the RC vehicle’s idle position after all! If it’s accelerating too quickly, turn the throttle trim counterclockwise. If it’s stopping before you want it to, turn the throttle trim clockwise.