How to Make Your RC Car Faster and More Competitive

Do you feel like your RC car just isn’t fast enough?

Whether you’re looking to shave seconds off your lap time or leave your friends in the dust during a race, there are several ways to boost the speed and performance of your RC car.

From upgrading the motor to adjusting the gearing and using lightweight components, you can make various modifications to increase your car’s speed and acceleration.

This article will explore some of the most effective ways to make your RC car faster and help you take your driving skills to the next level. 

How to Make Your RC Car Faster

There are many ways to make an RC car faster, from replacing crucial parts to reducing weight and cleaning.

These tips have been proven to increase the speed of an RC car, but finding the perfect balance will require some experimentation.

Reduce Weight

Making an RC car lighter is a surefire way to make it faster. The heavier the car is, the slower it will go.

Even though this might sound easy, it can be challenging. Reducing the car’s weight may change its balance, so it will handle differently than it did before. 

It may result in the RC car being unstable at higher speeds or not having enough traction to corner correctly. It’s best to reduce the car’s weight in small sections, with lots of testing in between. 

Lightweight Components: Swap out heavy parts for lightweight versions whenever possible. Steel parts may make your RC car more durable during bashing, but it adds extra weight that will slow it down. 

Consider replacing these parts with lightweight versions:

  • Wheels & tires
  • Turnbuckles
  • Gearing
  • Screws
  • Suspension arms
  • Steering Blocks
  • Radio Equipment

Depending on what kind of RC car you have, many manufacturers make replacement chassis out of carbon fiber. 

Use a Lighter Battery: Not all batteries are created equal. If you’re attempting a max-speed run, try swapping out your long-life LiPo battery for a lighter battery with the same power output. 

Modify the Body: Use a lightweight polycarbonate body instead of a heavier ABS plastic body.

Upgrade the Battery Pack

Upgrading your RC car’s battery pack will make a massive difference to its top speed. 

If you’re still running a Ni-MH (nickel-metal hydride) battery, the first step is to upgrade to a Li-Po (Lithium-Ion Polymer) battery. If you’re already running a LiPo battery, you should upgrade to the highest voltage battery that your motor can handle. 

Upgrading to a higher voltage battery pack, like going from a 2s to a 3s battery, provides more power to the motor. This results in faster speeds and improved acceleration.

Upgrading from NiMH to LiPo batteries will make your RC car go faster.

Higher-capacity batteries typically allow you to run your RC car longer before recharging. 

It’s important to note that when upgrading your RC car’s battery pack, you need to make sure that it is compatible with your car’s motor and electronic speed controller (ESC). Using the wrong battery can cause damage to your car’s components and may result in poor performance.

Upgrade to a Brushless Motor

Upgrading to a brushless motor is one of the most effective ways to increase your RC car’s speed. There are two main types of RC car motors: brushed and brushless.

Traditional brushed motors use carbon brushes to transfer power to the motor’s armature. Brushless motors use a system of electronic controls to regulate the flow of current to the motor’s windings.

This makes brushless motors more efficient and powerful than brushed motors, providing higher torque, smoother acceleration, and faster top speeds. 

Additionally, brushless motors generate less heat and noise than brushed motors, which can help prolong the life of your RC car.

When upgrading to a brushless motor, you’ll almost always need to upgrade your ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) as well. You may also need a new battery and gears to accommodate the extra power in the car.

Change Your RC Car’s Gear Ratios

Changing the ratio on your RC car’s pinion or spur gear can yield excellent results, and it is easy to do. Most RC enthusiasts prefer to change both gears as a set rather than just one at a time.

The pinion and spur gears are typically found under the engine cover near the back of your RC car. The pinion gear is located on the motor shaft. It meshes with the spur gear located on the car’s differential or transmission.

Changing the size of the pinion and spur gears allow you to adjust the gear ratio and increase the car’s top speed or acceleration. 

Change the gearing to make your RC car go faster

Generally speaking, a smaller pinion gear and larger spur gear results in a higher top speed. A larger pinion gear paired with a smaller spur gear will provide more acceleration.

When changing the gear ratio, make sure that the motor can handle the new gear ratio without overheating. The electronic speed controller (ESC) may also need to be adjusted to compensate for the new gear ratio.

Use the Right Tires

Just like on your real car, choosing the right type of tire is critical to maximizing the speed and performance of your RC car. Your tire type can affect the car’s grip, traction, and overall handling. 

All of which can impact its speed and acceleration.

High-performance tires, such as slicks or racing tires, have less tread and provide better grip on smooth surfaces like asphalt or concrete. This can increase the car’s top speed and reduce rolling resistance, allowing the car to maintain speed more easily. However, these tires provide horrible traction on rough surfaces like dirt or gravel.

On the other hand, off-road tires are designed with deeper treads and a more aggressive pattern to provide better traction on rough terrain. While they may not be as fast on smooth surfaces, they can provide better acceleration and handling on uneven or loose surfaces.

Paddle tires are designed to help RC cars navigate on loose, sandy surfaces such as beaches or sand dunes. Unlike traditional tires, which have a smooth surface, paddle tires feature large, paddle-like treads that dig into the sand and propel the car forward.

Experimenting with different tire types and compounds can help you fine-tune your car’s performance and achieve optimal speed and handling.

Upgrade the Suspension

Upgrading your RC car’s suspension can significantly improve its speed and overall performance. The suspension system keeps the tires in contact with the ground, which is essential for maintaining traction and controlling the car’s movement.

A well-tuned suspension system provides better stability, handling, and control, allowing you to maintain higher speeds and be more precise during cornering. 

Upgraded shocks and springs can also help reduce bounce and improve handling, improving the car’s speed and acceleration.

You can also fine-tune your car’s ride height and center of gravity. Lowering the car’s center of gravity can improve stability and handling. Raising the car’s ride height can increase ground clearance and allow the car to easily navigate rough terrain.

Replacing the Bearings

Wheel bearings reduce friction and allow the wheels to rotate smoothly, so upgrading to high-performance bearings can help reduce rolling resistance and increase speed.

High-quality bearings are typically made with better materials and tighter tolerances than stock bearings, which can result in less friction and better performance. This can improve the car’s top speed and acceleration by allowing it to maintain higher speeds for extended periods.

Upgrading your wheel bearings can also improve the car’s handling and stability. This makes the car more responsive, navigating through turns more smoothly and with greater precision.

Tighten the Nut Behind the Wheel

There’s an old saying: tightening the nut behind the wheel is the best way to make your car faster.

In other words…You.

The easiest way to make your electric RC car faster is to practice and have fun with it.

Focus on improving your racing lines, hitting the apexes of the corners, and hitting each jump perfectly. That will make the RC car naturally faster on track.

More importantly, as you get more proficient on the track, you’ll see where you can make little improvements to maximize your RC car’s speed. 

Tim Wells

Tim Wells is the creator and driving force behind His passion for RC cars began when he caught a glimpse of a Kyosho Optima while on a family trip to Japan. Although he couldn't afford it then, the seed of his RC car hobby had been planted, and he knew he had to have one. Fast forward a few years, and he could finally dive head-first into the hobby as an adult. He found a ton of websites and YouTubers doing crazy stunts with their expensive RC cars but very few resources for the average person who just wants to go out and have fun. That's when he launched his RC car website: ClutchRC.

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