If you are new to the world of RC cars or if you have been around a while but have never heard the term “tire sauce” before then you are in the right place. In this article we will cover exactly what it means as well as what is in tire sauce and what it’s typically used for.
RC tire sauce is just a slang term for the liquid that is used on RC tires to give them more grip. Some people use chemicals such as WD-40, brake fluid, etc. while other people have a homemade compound that they use on their tires.
Tire sauce is normally an aggressive liquid which is used to break-in new RC tires and helps provide them with better grip. In earlier days when RC tires were made of hard rubber without any foam inserts (as they were still to be invented) the tracks used to be soft, loamy dirt and traction was easier to find, but as races with off-road vehicles increased, track maintenance became difficult eventually making the tracks suffer.
The tracks soon transformed to packed blue grooves from loamy dirt tracks and traction quickly became an issue. It became difficult as the hard tires lost their grip on the more solid course.
As a result, the tire became softer and foam inserts were required to support the weight of the vehicle. Nowadays we even have bubble soft tires with highly advanced foams to support and give traction.
With RC racing it is all the game of traction.
Not only have the tires changed, but even the tracks have transformed from more groovy ones to marble smooth dust-free tracks. Of course with these smoother tracks the racing participants eventually realized that prepping the tires which were ultra-soft with some sort of addictive that they commonly call the “sauce” can improve and enhance the grip of the tires thereby increasing the speed of their RC car.
To see a specific compound that is recommended for great traction check out the video below.
Why increase the grip of your RC car?
The ultra-soft tires tend to wear out pretty quick which meant not only did it get expensive for the racer but also time-consuming with more preparation time, more set up time, and ultimately reduced the excitement of the race. That is why the racers these days are obsessed with their tires being soaked in a “sauce” which would enhance the traction, though some experts believe it only does so ever so slightly that it might actually be unnecessary.
Increasing the grip will also allow you to control your RC car much better which is a huge advantage on a smooth track. On dirt or off-road tracks you can easily make up ground by driving harder or picking a better line but on smooth indoor tracks the only way to win is shave milliseconds off your time on each corner and having more grip with the tires can do that.
Tracing back to its origin
The origin of the RC tire sauce can be traced back to the on-road racing and use of rubber and foam tires but the highly advanced modern high grip racing tracks have popularized it even more.
However, these different varieties of “sauces” are often unregulated, with the wide prevalent use of it though they have been proven to produce health hazards in humans especially when mixed or if you don’t know what you are doing.
Loading up on chemicals
Typically RC tire “sauce” will be made of multiple harsh chemicals that are designed to slightly eat into the rubber causing it to be more rough which in turn gives it more grip. At the face of it that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but the main problem is many of these smooth tracks are indoors and so all the participants are exposed to these chemicals in tight spaces.
That exposure can cause issues with headaches, skin irritation and more and that doesn’t even take into account the other possible issues that mixing these chemicals together can do.
Often you will see a “tire sauce” for sale at small hobby shops or even at an RC race track and there is no way to know if the chemicals that are in it are safe to touch or if you should always wear gloves when touching your RC tires in the future!
Many of the chemicals used on RC tires have been associated with serious health issues like reproductive toxicity or infertility, skin irritation with sometimes skin corrosion, serious damages to the eye, specific target organ toxicity and many more serious illnesses.
To top it all off, these sauces are obviously non-biodegradable which means they tend to survive in the atmosphere for an elongated period of time causing pollution and harm to the environment along with harm to humans and other living organisms as well.
All of that to say if you HAVE to get better grip you will want to make sure that you make your own “sauce” so you can either only use what is safe or so you know what’s in it and can take the necessary precautions.
Homemade RC tire sauce
You can actually easily make tire sauce at home by simply mixing a few of the ingredients easily available on the market. Let’s check them out.
- You can very easily make RC tire sauce with just two ingredients, i.e, mixing the blue liquid wrench or the teal coloured liquid wrench with chlorinated brake cleaner. Your homemade tire sauce is then ready to use.
- Another go-to homemade sauce is the mixture of Coleman camp fuel along with mineral oil and mineral spirits.
Are there better options?
Making your own RC tire sauce is a better option or alternative to the harsh chemical compounds used in many tire sauces. RC tire sauce should be prepared without any dangerous fumes and excessive tire wear which produces a superior quality of tire conditioner and traction compound.
There are a lot of better options available today which are much less toxic and can be used indoors as well such as the Sticky Fingers compound (found here) which makes a safer tire sauce option. You can easily use it indoors which is much safer without any harsh chemicals and it is better suited for children and can be very easily used on the indoor tracks as well.
Also although it is advised to wear gloves and masks while using the tire sauces to protect yourself from hazardous chemical intake, with this one you don’t have to bother as much as it is odorless.
So all in all these tire sauces are actually additives to increase the traction of the RC tires but also they can come with health hazards. Though racers have used it time and again and still continue to use it widely today, the better alternatives available on the market today should be preferred to remove the hazardous effect it has on one’s health and especially if children are even minutely involved with the tire sauce application.
Hence, before you just go blindly and pick up any tire sauce for yourself, it is highly advisable that you check on the ingredients and look for less harsh options available before buying them.
Also, you can actually make a tire sauce from the comfort of your home with just a few ingredients which is also time effective along with being easier on your wallet.