RC Cars for Beginners

Getting started in the RC sport can be intimidating. With so many RC parts and options, it can be a challenge to know where to start. Maybe you were involved at an early age and have decided to get back into it, or you would like to share your love for all things RC with your children. No matter the reason why you're a newbie, AMain.com is here to help RC drivers at all levels.

Like anything else, RC vehicles are built in different sizes and shapes. In the RC world, "scale" is the word to use for size. Some of the most popular RC car kits are in the 1/10 scale because of their value. One quick way to determine the size of the vehicle is to look at the number after the "1." As the number after the "1" decreases, the bigger the RC car is, and vice versa. For example, a 1/5 scale RC car is larger than a 1/18 scale RC buggy. Learn more about the different types of car kits available at AMain.com.

Electric or Nitro RC Vehicles

Comparing the Two

When you hear the term "running electric," it refers to using a battery pack as the power source for your RC car or buggy. Alternatively, "running nitro" typically means using nitro fuel instead of an electric battery pack. RC car and buggy owners usually prefer one type over the other, but some like to learn both. There are a few items to keep in mind, however, when choosing your power source:

  • Maintenance: When your electric battery runs out, you have to recharge. If you run out of nitro fuel, then you can refill quickly. Nitro fuel leaves messy residue that requires cleaning, while electric is considered "clean."
  • Speed: While this depends on the type of RC car parts you use, typically engine powered RC models have more pick-up and run longer. With increased speed, you'll see the difference. Nitro fuel creates smoke and noise that some people appreciate, and electric RC cars are quiet.
  • Cost: Nitro-fueled RC cars and buggies require more maintenance, which increases the cost. Over the life of a RC car, the price of fuel costs more than a battery. Also, nitro RC car kits tend to cost more than electric kits.

No matter if you decide to run electric, nitro, or both, rest assured both will allow you to tear up the track!

Radios and Accessories

Electric Radio Control

  • Radio Transmitter: With the flip of a switch or push of a stick, the transmitter sends the signal to the receiver on the actual RC car. Most RC radio transmitters can be programmed and some include a receiver.
  • Receiver: This receives the signal from the transmitter and passes it along to the servo.
  • Servo: As your "co-pilot," servos direct the steering of the RC car through a number of gears. Measured for size, torque, and other specifications, the more powerful the servo, the more expensive it is.
  • Batteries: Like in everyday use, batteries hold a charge and serve as a power source. For RC cars, you need batteries for transmitters, as well as a battery pack and charger that serves as your fuel tank for electric RC cars. Battery packs are measured in milliamp hours.

Nitro Radio Control

  • Glow Plug Igniter: This gets the engine started and is removed once the glow plug is hot and when the engine is running.
  • Batteries: The primary difference for running nitro is where the batteries are positioned. On electric RC cars, batteries power everything, but in a nitro car or buggy, you need a battery for the on-board receiver and your standalone equipment. While standard disposable AAs will work, most opt for a rechargeable receiver battery.
  • Nitro Fuel: Not to be confused with gasoline, this fuel contains nitro methane and other lubricants. It is also flammable, so be careful! Also, gasoline should never be used in a nitro engine.

At AMain.com, you'll find what you need to get started racing RC cars. Even if you select a ready to run RC car kit that comes nearly pre-assembled, you may decide down the road to amp up your vehicle with an upgraded ProTek R/C servo, flex your skills with a programmable transmitter, or just stay true to your game and buy replacements for the same RC parts that came in your kit. For a crazy selection that will leave your competition in the dirt, shop AMain.com.

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