How Much Does it Cost for Gas-Powered RC Cars?

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How Much Does it Cost to Get into RC Gas-Powered Cars?

As an avid remote control car enthusiast, I get a lot of questions from friends and family about how much it costs to get into the gas-powered side of the hobby. They can cost anywhere from $100 right up to thousands!

But the price scares some people away. So let’s break it down – just how much should you expect to spend on a gas-powered RC car?

Traxxas Nitro Powered Truggy


Cheap Radio-Controlled Cars For Those Getting Started

For me, it started small with some cheap, battery-powered RC cars when I was a kid. But as soon as I was able to see my first nitro gas remote powered remote control cars, I was hooked!

Saving up birthday money and mowing a few extra lawns finally got me a basic intro-level gas RC around for around $275. This was bought used from my local hobby shop.

It was a HPI Savage and was in pretty rough shape. It was like having my very own RC Monster Truck and was one of the most robust trucks I have ever had.


More Expensive Gas-Powered Radio Controlled Cars

If you have a bigger budget, you’d be looking at spending $500-800+ for a competitive top-range gas buggy or short-course truck ready for backflips and bashing.

Top-of-the-line models from Traxxas, Losi, and Kyosho can run almost $1,500 in ready-to-run condition. That’s some serious cash! Then tack on the ongoing costs for fuel, tools, spare parts, and other racing expenses. It’s easy to see costs spiral up to several thousand dollars when you catch the gas RC bug.

But for those with some existing experience looking to try gas power, an older used setup is a smart budget choice.

Scouring eBay and Facebook Marketplace deals pop up on solid RC8s, Savages, Revo 3.3 and more in the $300-400 range. As long as you set aside a repair fund for occasional engine rebuilds or electrical issues, buying used can make gas RC accessible. If you like to tinker with real road cars and gasoline engines then you would enjoy this hobby.

I have an article that helps go over which is better electrical vs gas-powered rc cars, you should read that if you are confused as to what you should buy.

Other “Hidden” Costs of Having a Nitro RC Car

Although getting a gas-powered RC truck is brilliant fun, you should be aware that running one will have other expenses. Heres a few things that I have come across whilst using my RC Trucks.

Maintenance and Upkeep costs

Like anything with moveable parts and electrical circuits, maintenance should be a priority if you want to enjoy your nitro rc car for a long time.

Keep rotating parts, like crankshafts and wheel mounts well lubricated, and make sure to clean out any debris and dirt that gets built up when running your car outdoors.

You will inevitably crash your RC car and sometimes this will damage parts like shockers, wishbones, wheels, shells, etc. You should try to get the mechanical parts replaced or fixed before taking your RC car out as this could cause other more expensive problems further down the line.

Shells, lights, and paint are more superficial and can be touched up or replaced in good time.

Nitro Fuel Costs

Unfortunately, nitro fuel doesn’t come for free and the more you run your gas-powered RC Car the more it’s going to cost you in fuel!

If you find that you are using lots of fuel, maybe think about getting a batch deal as this could help you save some cash.

Radio Controlled Club Costs and Memberships

If you find that you want to get a lot more immersed in this hobby, you might find yourself looking to reach out and join some clubs and race events. These can come at a cost, although nothing too expensive, it should be something to think about.

Speak to your local club about introductory offers, or free open weekends to see if you would want to pursue them.


So while fast professional-grade gas cars require some major investment, there are options across the pricing spectrum.

Just prepare your wallet for the long haul when you crave the sound, speed, and thrill of gas power! It’s an addicting (and expensive) hobby but brings me tons of adrenaline and fun with friends at the track.