What Is A Nitro RC Car?

What Are Nitro RC Cars? And How Do They Work?

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What Are Nitro RC Cars?

In the world of RC cars, there are two types, electric-powered which are the more common off-the-shelf type RC car, and nitro-powered (sometimes called gas-powered).

In this article, we are going to explain just what exactly is a nitro RC car and how they work. We have also included some handy facts about nitro cars that you might also find interesting.

How Does A Nitro RC Car Work?

Nitro RC cars are powered by a mixture of nitromethane and methanol. This fuel is ignited by a spark from the car’s engine, causing it to power the car. They require a glow stick to produce power to the spark plug and a starter motor or drill to turn the engine over until combustion is achieved. The mixture is very explosive, which is why it needs to be handled with care.

Nitro RC cars are more powerful than electric RC cars, but not necessarily faster! They can reach speeds in excess of 50mph, making them great for racing. Nitro cars are also more realistic, as they produce exhaust fumes and make noise just like real cars!

Can You Put Gas In A Nitro RC Car?

NO! You should never put regular gasoline into a nitro RC car. Gasoline has a lot more energy when ignited and would destroy a small nitro engine.

The combustion would take a great toll on the cylinder and probably lift the head off if not totally destroy the pistons and rods.

Even if you add 2-stroke oil to the petroleum you will still have a broken RC engine on your hands.

Nitro RC cars should only be run on the correct nitro fuel, to make sure your engine is running effectively and not overheating.

What’s The Difference Between A Gas RC Car And A Nitro One?

Gas RC cars are powered by petroleum or gasoline. They operate at extreme temperatures and pressure and are made as one-off projects.

A gas-powered RC car has the internal workings of a modern combustion engine, has spark-plugs, HT leads, oil sump etc. It requires coolant to keep the engine temperature down and has to be air-cooled using a fan.

Nitro-powered RC cars use a nitromethane mixture that is aimed more at the hobbyist. Nitro fuel is flammable but doesn’t have the high combustibility of gasoline.

Nitro RC cars are a lot simpler and use a glow plug and glow plug igniter to get started and can be tweaked and repaired by even the most novice RC car owner.

How Long Does A Tank Of Nitro Fuel Last In An Rc Car?

This depends on how you are using your RC car. If you are heavy on the throttle a full tank of fuel will only last approximately 5 or 6 minutes.

But if you learn to feather your throttle and drive in a more economical way you will find that your tank of fuel can last a lot longer.

Another thing that causes fuel to be used quickly is the mixture. Make sure that you are not running your RC car too rich as you will be using more nitro than you need to.

A good way to test this is to run your nitro RC car for a minute and then check the exhaust to see if you have fuel residue dripping from it. If you do you have, you need to make the mixture leaner by tuning the car.

Do RC Nitro Cars Need Batteries?

You would be forgiven for thinking that because nitro cars use fuel they don’t need batteries, but in fact, they do!

Just like a real car needs a battery so does a nitro RC car.

The battery is used for the electronic servos, receiver and sometimes the glow plug. If yours doesn’t power the glow plug you will require a glow start which is attached to the top of the spark plug when you are starting your RC car.

What’s The Fastest Nitro RC Car?

Most nitro RC cars have a top speed of more than 50 mph, and as technology advances, they are only getting quicker.

Traxxas currently have the fastest pre-built nitro RC car, this is called the JATO 3.3 and can reach speeds of over 65 mph.

Final Thoughts

Nitro RC cars are fantastic fun and sound amazing, although they do come with some downfalls. Mess, smoke and heat are a few. But that being said, if you have the time to maintain yours then you will find no better alternative to using a nitro-powered car.

We hope this article has managed to help you understand what a nitro RC car is and given you a few pointers on what you should and shouldn’t do with one.