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Why And How To Change Your RC Car Tires?

If you’ve taken up driving RC cars as a hobby, tires are an important topic that many beginners need to know. With tires, there are two main questions most have: “Why should I change by RC car tires, and how do I even replace them?”

Why and how should I change my RC Car Tires? Just like their bigger versions, RC car tires can wear down over time, which could affect your car in terms of traction, and acceleration, to name a few issues. Changing your RC car tires is relatively easy, and the main tool that you will have to use is glue. 

Replacing your tires can be difficult if you don’t know what size they need to be, or if they are even right for your model. This means that knowing what tire types and sizes are important things to keep in mind during the replacement process.

Why Should I Change My RC Car Tires?

As we mentioned briefly in the above point, wear and tear become common if you don’t change your tires often. You run the risk of your car sliding out of control, and it may not be noticeable until you hit a certain speed. In the best case, you’re opening the door for serious damage to take place under the car itself, with visible damages along the skirts.

What Else Can Damage My Tires?

There are a few factors that can damage your tires, and you need to be on the lookout for them. Sometimes, these factors boil down to personal restraint, which can be really hard after you’ve become fully immersed  into the activity. These factors include:

  • How long you use your RC Car: It may not sound like much to a beginner, but controlling your RC car for just 25-30 minutes can do horrors to your tires. That’s assuming that you are indoors, where the track can feature better grip. Your typical tire may not be able to bear the pressure that comes with the turns on indoor tracks, as they can be very aggressive.
  • Using the wrong tires: This is why knowing what tire is appropriate is important. Tires suitable for pavement aren’t going to fare very well on rougher terrain found off-road. The same goes for off road tires that often see a hard time gaining speed on pavement.
  • You’re doing too many tricks: It can tempting to drift your RC car every now and then. Thankfully, there are a few shops that will sell you tires suited better for stunts. The tires are considerably more slippery, and they won’t wear out as quickly as a normal tire would after the trick.

How Often Should I Change My RC Car’s Tires?

You should be changing out your tires approximately every three months. This is assuming that you are using your car routinely, but not multiple hours a day every day. Another key factor that plays into this is the terrain you drive on. Is it pavement? Or are you going off-road? Each answer gives another suggestion for how often you need to replace them.

If you’re an avid off-road RC enthusiast, then you may need to change your tires every month and a half. You will just need to keep an eye on your tires and change them as needed based on your personal usage. 

How Do I Prolong My Tires Lifespan?

Keeping your tires fresh isn’t hard to do, and if done properly, you can set back the replacement timeline back. There are two main ways that RC car enthusiasts do this: Rotating their tires before every run and applying WD-40 on the tires.

Rotating is as simple as merely flipping the tires, and ensures that you get the best spread in them that you can. You will want to do this if you notice that your inside tire is more worn than your outside, and vice versa.

WD-40 helps soften your tires up and strengthens its grip. If you plan on taking your RC car out in the rain, then you may want to make sure that your tires are properly coated. It does wonders as a water-repellant. You only have to spray your tires with it, but be careful not to spray the brakes as you may have to replace the pad in the future.

The DIfferent Types Of Tires

There are four different surfaces that demand certain tires to properly control your RC car on them. The four are:

  • Pavement
  • Grass Tracks
  • Sand Dunes
  • Dirt/Gravel

Each surface sees no shortage of models suited for them, with many of them branching off into smaller ones. As we have said in the article, it is very important that you only use the tires appropriate for the surface that you are planning to use. You would face many performance issues with a pavement car on a sand dune, and you may even encounter further damage due to the sand being packed into it.

To help you get a better grasp of what should be used where you can consult the table.

Type Of Tire Suitable Surfaces
Slicks Pavement or Tarmac
Mini Spikes Does well on almost any terrain
Full Spikes Muddy areas and wet grass
Mini Pins Efficient on Carpets

What Sizes Do The Tires Come In?

There are five different sizes that RC car tires come in. It is important to pay attention to the model specs when you unbox it to help you find the right size in the replacement phase. The five different sizes are

  • 1/10 RC Buggy: Most of the tires that you find on RC cars are around 2.2 inches, meaning that you will need to find a rim that is equal in size. Remember that the dimensions between the front and rear wheels may be different when ordering new tires.
  • 1/10 RC Truck: You may be pleased to know that the tire sizes for most of the trucks are similar to that of the buggy: 2.2 inches. Unlike the Buggy, the front and rear wheels are often the same sizes.
  • 1/10 RC Short Course: You won’t be able to find these wheels everywhere, as they are somewhat unique. Like the Buggy, the tire dimensions are going to vary from the front and rear. 2.2 inches is the standard for many of the front wheels, with the rear going up to 3 inches.
  • RC Buggy: These wheel types are the easiest to swap out and mix up, as they are typically all the same size and look very similar. The front and rear tires will all share the same tire dimension.
  • 1:8 RC Truck: You will need to check your model before getting new tires. This is because the diameter of the wheel and rims may not be similar, though they will often share the same tire size.

Do Bigger Tires Help My RC Car Go Faster?

Increasing the size of your tires on your RC car can make it go faster, but there are many negative factors to consider. When you talk about increasing your tire size, you’re also talking about increasing the strain the vehicle has to go through. This means everything from slower acceleration to even overheating your electronics due to the pressure.

Essentially, the largest part of your RC car is the tires. You can see how a small increase in weight can lead to a large difference on how your drivetrain handles. Gearing lower may help you decrease this strain, but you are lowering the overall performance as well. To really get the most out of your RC car, stick to the stock tire sizes.

How Do I UnGlue My RC Car Tires?

The main dilemma in the replacement process is getting the glue that binds the rim and tire to weaken up. There are many methods to do this, but not all of them enable the tire or rim to be salvageable in the end. We will list off a few ways that you can get the tires separated from the rims. These methods also run the possibility of you being able to reuse your old pieces if you need to.

The Acetone Method

You’ll need four things to help you get the replacement done

  • 1 Litre of Acetone
  • Empty Metal Paint Tin
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber/Disposable Gloves

Your first step is to fill the empty paint tin with acetone before placing the wheels in the bottom. Make sure to seal your tin up after you put in your wheels so that the acetone doesn’t evaporate. You will need to wait a minimum of 24 hours before you are able to pull out the wheels. 48 hours is suggested, as it ensures that all of the glue will have dissolved.

Once you’ve taken out your wheels, you may notice that there are still a few spots of glue covering your wheel. Take your paintbrush and lightly mix the acetone over the glue. Seeing how it’s spent an extended amount of time in the acetone, it should brush off relatively easily.

Remember to once again seal up your acetone, and it’s best to use a new lid to help decrease the chance of it evaporating. Acetone may be pricey, but a full paint tin of it will last you a year of routine replacements.

The Food Steamer Pan Method

You will only need two things to help you out in this method

  • Water
  • Vegetable Steamer With a Lid

You’ll need to place the wheels inside the vegetable steamer. Your bottom pan needs to be filled with water and at boiling temperature with your wheels being housed in the top tray. You will only need to steam your wheels for 45 minutes before you’re done. The glue should slide off the wheel easily, and if not, you can always steam them for another 10 minutes.

Check out the videos below to see a few people use some alternative methods to remove their tires.

How Do I Properly Glue My Wheels?

If you’re just starting out, then don’t expect to be a professional at this with your first replacement. It’s a very slow process, but you will be able to develop a routine to help you get done faster as you work with more replacements. It’s important not to rush this phase, as cutting corners may lead to your tires popping off your rims on the track.

To start, you will need to fully clean your rims and tires. The cleaner the surface, the more likely the glue will stick. Your next step is to place an insert inside your tire. This will help keep the rim in place. You have two different types of inserts that are known as molded or standard. Standard inserts are made of foam, while molded inserts are made of a stiffer material. With standard inserts, you may have to make a few cuts to help it fit inside of your tire.

You will then need to mount your tire on the rim. Stretching the tire a few times will help make the process a bit easier. The sides need to sit snug on the rim. If the tire is tight, you may be able to get the rim in easier by rolling out the dents in a back and forth motion. If you notice space between the tire and rim after a few rolls, then you may need to redo the mounting process.

You’ll do best to use a glue that is specifically designed for RC cars. The favored amongst the community are the more “runny” variations that are able to get into areas that are tight between the tire and rim.

Gluing the wheel is as easy as pulling back the tire until you can see a visible separation, and applying the glue on the areas that the tire will rest. After a few applications on various parts of your wheel, you need to firmly press the tire down onto the rim to ensure the bond is strong.

You can even use rubber bands to help put pressure on the tires instead of your hands. You can take them off 5-10 minutes after you wrap them. Stretch parts of the tires gently to inspect how well the glue has bonded.

How Do I Remove And Install The Wheels On My RC Car?

You will need a few things to help you replace your wheels.

  • A Stand
  • A Hex Wrench

Your first step is to place your RC car on the stand. If your model didn’t come with one, then you are able to use pretty much anything as a replacement. The only thing that matters is that your RC car’s wheels have some space between the surface below it.

You’ll need to cover your RC nuts with the hex wrench. These will typically come with the model, and many feature four sides with different sizes. Turn your hex wrench to the left to loosen up your nut. Once you’ve taken that off, you should be able to detach the wheel from the RC car, and presumably go through the gluing method if you don’t already have a new set of wheels ready to go.

Replacing the wheels is just as simple as taking them off. You’ll only need to reattach the wheel to the axle before you tighten the bolts back on, but this time in the opposite direction. Make sure not to tighten the nuts too tightly, as it could make it even more difficult to take them off in the future.


Being able to properly replace your tires entails how well informed you are about them. You will need to know which tires are the best for your RC car, and how to properly take care of them. This means you need to be knowledgeable on which tires are best suited for certain surfaces, and how your activities with your RC car can greatly affect the tires, even after a few runs.

You don’t have to be afraid of being a showboat if you have the tires to handle the tricks.

Every surface needs a tire suited for it to ensure that your car is able to perform as it should. This doesn’t mean changing your tire sizes when you switch surfaces, as you could be adding in more performance issues into the mix. Stocks sizes for your RC car keep it running in shape longer, and you don’t have to worry about any unwanted problems popping up when you’re out.

You won’t have a problem finding a suitable replacement for your wheels. There are many brands out there that specialize on certain surfaces, and keep the wheel size at the stock dimension. Of course, you may have different tire sizes depending on what model your RC car is.

Replacing your wheels is easier than some would expect, but time-consuming if you have to de-glue your tires before gluing your rims to a new set. There are a few methods out there that will make the process easier and give you the chance to reuse your old parts. They boil down to personal preferences and limitations, such as budgeting. The Acetone method is known as being the most effective but also the most expensive.   

Ultimately making sure that you take good care of your tires will ensure that they last as long as possible and don’t need to be replaced as often. Just like tires on a regular car, the harder you are on the tires, the sooner you will have to change them. If you are always burning rubber and racing other cars then the tires won’t last near as long as if you are just taking your car out for a leisurely drive. 

It is all about finding the right balance for you. Maybe you don’t mind replacing the tires more often so you can be the one who always races the new RC car at the track. Maybe you are like the sunday driver of the RC world and only take your car out for a nice time on the weekend. Whatever you do always remember that the way you use your car has the largest impact on its tires and other components.