Getting Started in Nitro RC


Many things contribute to the popularity of Nitro racing. The sight, sound, and extended run times excites nitro loving racers of all ages and backrounds. They flock to the driver’s stand with transmitter in hand, ready to run through several tanks of fuel. However, is it really that easy? How are the kits similar and dis-similar? What are the items needed? Let’s get to all these questions and have you running quickly.

Ready to Run?

Ready to Run is an adjective that describes the kits condition. However, beyond each manufacturers had their own interpretation of the phrase. Be sure to consult our staff to be sure you are getting all of the accessories you need to get started. Nothing is as frustrating as going out to run only to find out that you do not have everything needed.

Ready to Run Assembly Tips

  • When all else fails, read the instructions! Have the instruction manual handy in case things get complicated.
  • Use loctite when necessary. Nitro vehicles have a nasty habit of shaking everything loose so be ready for this and check the screws often.

  • Have after run oil handy before and after you run.

  • If your vehicle has a pull starter on the engine, take the glow plug out and give it a few tugs to get used to how far the cord will go. If you pull the cord further than its limit, IT WILL BREAK!
  • Make sure to have ample tanks of fuel through the engine to ensure proper break-in. You do not want to short yourself on this critical step because a properly broken in engine will have more power and last upto twice as long.
  • RUN AN AIR FILTER. Under no circumstances should you run without a properly oiled air filter. The micro dirt and dusty particles that can work their way into the engine, will shorten the life and performance of your engine.

Other things that are needed just in case

  • Nitro fuel, 20{71dca7fd5ebed9b9de77a223b3c7c6d3e6907f9269789a7a6a9079d2bacee7fa} is usually a good start

Temperature gun – to monitor the engine temperature. Extremely critical in engine life and overall performance.

Long, flat-blade screwdriver for carb tuning


  • Nitro cleaner or denatured alcohol for cleaning

  • Fuel Bottle

  • Starter box (if not a pull starter>

Extra glowplugs

  • Glowplug igniter with extra charged batteries (truth be told, you should always have TWO glowplug igniters)

After run oil

  • Batteries for the receiver and transmitter (try to buy rechargeable batteries with a good charger, it will save you money in the long run)

Keep it all Together and Happy

  • Dry-fire (don’t start the engine) the electronics, make sure the steering is centered, the throttle and brake linkages work properly.
  • Frequency conflicts – make sure that NO ONE else is on your frequency. If you become frustrated checking frequencies, try to upgrade the radio system to a 2.4 GHz system.

  • Monitor your engine temperature regularly to ensure proper life and performance. You generally do not want to run sport type engines over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For racing engines, you generally want to run between 200-230 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After you run, dump all the fuel out of the tank. Run the engine until it burns out all the fuel, then insert 3-4 drops of after-run oil through the glow plug hole in the head button.
  • Clean your vehicle. Nothing kills the life of the car and engine worst than dirt. Get the dirt off, do not skip this step.
  • Remember to keep your fuel out of direct sunlight and off of concrete. Either can spoil fuel quickly.

Nitro Nightmares

Usually, starting the engine is the worst nightmare of most beginners. When you first start the engine, do not try to adjust anything as the manufacturers have done this already for you. However, remember that if things need adjustment, having your manual close can really smooth out the process. Putting the engine settings back to the factory specs will generally be a great place to start.

You need three things to fire an engine: Fuel, Air, and Glow. Make sure that fuel is flowing into the carb, make sure the air filter can breathe so air can come into the carb, and always check your glow plug.

What’s Next?

After having you r/c car for sometime, you will have become accustom to the speed, and maybe looking for some improvement. Three things are the most sought after in upgrading your stock kit.

  • Better
  • stronger
  • Faster

Better components could include graphite parts instead of composite, or hardened milled aluminum as opposed to stamped. The better parts are generally stronger and perform better, being lighter and more rigid with the biggest downside usually being a higher price

Stronger parts are much more resistant to breaking or damage in even the most adverse conditions. Sometimes aluminum parts make a car much stronger, and sometimes they can bring out a weakness, so be sure to check with our knowledgeable staff as to what makes a vehicle stronger.

Faster often implies a faster top speed, but can also allude to quicker steering response, more traction while corner, or quicker acceleration. A stronger or quicker steering servo will hold the wheels in place better than a weaker one. An upgrade to tires with more grip will usually increase cornering speed, allowing the car to accelerate quicker. Lastly, more power will increase not only top speed, but acceleration.

If you plan to upgrade in the future, be sure to purchase items that will ease the transition. A perfect example; if you see yourself upgrading to a Li-Po battery in the future, it may be wise to invest in a battery charger capable of charging these batteries off the bat, otherwise you may end up buying two chargers. PCH is always ready to make your experience in nitro R/C a very pleasant one, filled with speed, excitement and joy for the hobby. We are one short phone call away. As if our low prices were not enough, our knowledge staff will be sure to get you the best value and products YOU WILL BE HAPPY WITH!


There are many different things that will make a better running vehicle. In today’s world, these are often just opinions. So, be smart and make sure to use our staff’s knowledge and expertise in getting the most out of your RC experience. We at PCHobbies are always there to help you go faster and run stronger.

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