The (almost) COMPLETE Guide to Electric RC Cars




About: I have moved on to better things...aka YouTube. So I will most likely not reply to any comments, sorry for any inconvienience. If you have important questions, you can go to my youtube channel (MagmaRhino) a...

Hey everyone I'm back for one final Instructable...or one of the last at least. I have recently gotten into the hobby of RC cars and at first I didn't know too much about, well basically everything. I have decided to help everyone else out by sharing everything I have learned over the last year. And by the way, I appreciate positive comments since this is still a work in progress. I will be adding on more weekly and most of it will be related to comments. Thanks for the help :) Check out my homemade snow machine!

Step 1: The Brands

These are some of the biggest brands to choose from for buying an rc car. I know there are plenty more but these seem to be the most popular.

Traxxas cars are very fast, durable, and high quality. If you buy one of these, you will very rarely need to replace broken or worn parts. However, these cars and trucks start at about $300 and do not always include a battery pack and charger. To buy visit

Out of all of these, Exceed cars are the cheapest, but they often require spare parts and a rather high level of maitenence. I own an exceed, so I can personally tell you to only get an exceed if you do not want to spend a lot of money and you are willing to pay $10 for shipping every time a few pieces break. The cars start at $90 and are most of the parts are good quality. To buy visit

HPI cars are not all that popular, mostly because they are as expensive as Traxxas but not as good quality. There is not much I can say about them other than from what I've read they have good quality parts and will not need many replacements. To buy visit or

Tamiya is the classic RC car brand. They've been making good cars for more than 30 years. I own the Grasshopper from about 1984 or something but its actually really nice. I have never broken a part on it and I've been driving it offroad for a year now. They start around $200 but are reasonably slower than other brands for that price due to the classical "Low-Tech" designs. To buy visit

Team Associated
Coming soon

Coming soon

Step 2: The Car Types

There are about 5 car types. I am not going to explain too much about each since they seem rather straightforward.

These are your average street cars. They are the fastest and the best on paved, flat surfaces. Do not get this if you are looking to drive in your backyard or want something with more power.

Drift cars are like on-road cars but with slick tires. YOu can slide around turns and still get almost as fast as an on-road car. They are good if regular cars bore you but you like to drive fast. Drifting is hard, however, so be warned.

Buggies are a cross between offroad and onroad cars. They are the second fastest on road but the slowest offroad usually due to their low wheelbase. Buggies are good for those who cant decide what type of car they want, since they can use it for both.

Truggies are also a crossover like buggies, but they are more for the offroad. It basically takes the frame of a Buggy and puts monster truck tires on it. These are the 3rd fastest on road and the 2nd slowest off.

Trucks are your monster trucks. They are amazing offroad but very slow onroad. They may flip a lot when trying to make high speed turns so these are not the best foron road and you should get these if you want to drive in the woods or in the grass the most.

Step 3: Electric or Nitro

Now that you know the brands and types of rc cars its time to decide if you want to go with electric or nitro. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Less Maintence
Better for at-home use
Cars have faster acceleration in general
Limited run times
need to wait hours to recharge batteries
Brushless motors are expensive

Longer run times
nice sound
Need to buy gas
Smells bad (my opinion)
a little more expensive to buy the car
cars are more complex (more can go wrong)

Step 4: Electric Motors and ESC

There are two different types of rc motors. Brushed and Brushless. Each motor type has its own kind of ESC (Electronic Speed Controller). Without an esc, your motor would just do nothing or go full throttle when you wanted to drive. Brushed motors are cheap but very ineffecient and lact power. The ESC's are also cheaper. Brushless motors are efficient, powerful, fast, and last much longer. Brushless motors and ESC's do not really have an expiration date, while brushed usually last about 6 months to a year. The main visual difference between the two is the brushless is sealed completely and has three wires, while the brushed has ventilation holes and two wires.

Step 5: Brushless Upgrades

If you are looking to buy a brushless motor you have a few choices. First, choose your brand. Hobbytron is the cheapest. There is also Mamba Max and Sidewinder but these are a bit more expensive. If you are upgrading from a brushed car, you should buy a combo, which includes the brushless motor, a brushless ESC, and usually a programming card so you can change your preferences (ie. brake force, inital punch, low voltage cutoff, etc.). These usually cost between $70 and $200 depending on size and a few other variables. A good place to buy brushless combos cheap is There are a few other places so google it to see if you can find them cheaper.


brushless motors are labeled with two things, a large number followed by "kv" and a smaller number followed by "t". Basically, you need to check the ESC for that motor and read up a little. It will tell u what numbers followed by "t" will be good for your use. So if you want it offroad you will want more "t", but you will get less "kv". On-road is the opposite.

KV stands for the amount of rotations per minute per volt. So if this basically means the bigger the number, the faster your car will go. Just make sure if you want your car to drive good offroad you get a motor with the correct "t".

For example, my brushless motor was a 6000kv 5.5t brushless combo. I checked the ESC and it said you need greater than or equal to 5.5t for on road and greater than or equal to 8.5t for offroad. I got an on-road motor so i could go fast (about 45mph). If you wanted to go offroad you could buy the 4000kv 8.5t motor, which goes about 35mph but has more power. If you do not understand something here pm me. I will be glad to help.

Step 6: Electric Car Layout

This is the basic layout for exceed 1/10th scale rc cars and trucks. It has all the parts of other brands but the other brands have things in different places..

Step 7: LiPo or Ni-Mh

Most of the time when you buy a car they come with a battery, but some may not. If that happens, you may be faced with this choice, LiPo or Ni-Mh. LiPo battery packs are the batteries of the future and if given the chance, make the investment. For $10 more you can get a battery pack which will give not only longer run times but also more power. They also do not lose their charge over time. Ni-Mh batteries are cheaper and "safer" (LiPo batteries CAN explode if improperly charged) but in the long run they are not worth it. Spend a few extra dollars and save a lot in the long run.

LiPo batteries are rated by two numbers, and Ni-Mh are rated with only one
the mAh of the battery packs is the capacity of the batteries. The larger the better.

Only LiPo's are rated with "c" which is basically how fast they can deliver the power. Most battery packs are between 20-30c but you can find some that are 5000mAh 50c battery packs (those are VERY expensive; ~$50) or even an 8000mAh 50c battery pack (around $100) but BE CAREFUL!! Make sure you but a battery pack that will fit in your car!! Some battery packs are larger!

Battery packs are available at and (or google it)

Be sure you buy a battery pack with the correct connecter, otherwise you will have to buy a connecter set off of for about $4

Step 8: How to Pick the Right Car.

Okay if you are buying an rc car this is how you should pick it out

pick an answer and go to the # in parenthesis. If there is a hyperlink in parenthesis click it and that is the car or cars that fit you best. (Note. I am including 1/10th rc cars only. These are the "Standard" size but feel free to either go smaller (1/16) or larger (up to 1/5)

1. I want to have a family friendly car that i can drive immediatly when i want to (2)
I want a car that is a little faster but dont mind taking more time to prep and costs more (11)

2. I want a durable car and am willing to spend more money (3)
I want a cheap car that may break in the future (7)

3. I want an offroad car (4)
I want an onroad car (6)
I want something inbetween (5)

4. I want a fast car (E-MaxxSlash_VXL, or Stampede_VXL )
I want a slower but cheaper car (Summit,Slash, StampedeE-Maxx, or a Tamiya )

5. I want a fast car (E-Revo_Brushless,Rustler_VXL,Bandit_VXL)
I want a slower but cheaper car (E-Revo, Rustler, Bandit, or a Tamiya)

6. I want a fast car (Get a brushless HPI on-road car or drift car)
I want a slower but cheaper car (Get a brushed HPI on-road car or drift car)

7. I want an offroad car (8)
I want an onroad car (9)
I want something inbetween (10)

8.  I want a fast car (Rally Monster_Pro or Dynamite-Pro)
I want a slower but cheaper car (Rally Monster or Dynamite)

9. I want a fast car (Champion_Pro or Drift_Star_Pro)
I want a slower but cheaper car (Champion or Drift_Star)

10. I want a fast car (Sunfire_Pro)
I want a slower but cheaper car (Sunfire)

11. If you want a nitro car you're on your own. sorry.

Look I know there are pleanty more choices for each section but I just wanted to give everyone an idea about what the car they want may look like and so on. There are more cars you can buy then I listed so please understand that.

You're all done. Now go research the the cars that match your style and find out which one to buy. It is smart to research simmilar cars also. Just keep in mind what you will want for the future. I made this mistake and now I have to pay a lot more money to maintain my car.

Step 9: Recommended Accessories and Final Tips.

I would definantly recommend buying a complete extra set of tires for your car and some CA glue the day and minute you buy your rc car. The tires wear very quick so be prepared. I highly recommend making an investment when you buy your car and get a good quality one. I promise you it will pay off in the long run. I know from experience and I believe that over about a 2-3 year period, the amound of money spent on most cars and spare parts, no matter what the quality, will be about the same. Dont be a cheapskate...unless you are under 18. If you are not sure on the car you want to get there are pleanty of forums out there about the specific car you may want. Please just research before you purchase, I don't want anyone crying to me because I said they shoud get this car and they hate it.

Step 10: More Coming Soon!!

Participated in the
Dadcando Family Fun Contest

4 People Made This Project!


  • Beauty Tips Contest

    Beauty Tips Contest
  • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    Colors of the Rainbow Contest
  • Backyard Contest

    Backyard Contest

213 Discussions


Question 6 weeks ago on Step 5

How many A should the motor of an offroad 1/10 scale rc car be?


Question 2 months ago on Step 5

This is a great find to get on the internet with detailed descriptions of the breakdowns on virtually everything. So here's my dilemma. I'm a complete NOOB to the whole RC scene, and where I live, its darn expensive to purchase proper RC drift cars. So i did a little digging and decided to purchases parts bit by bit. So as you can see on the 1st image I uploaded, I purchases the following chassis and I think it's a good deal. However now my dilemma is being stuck with choosing the correct motor, esc for drifting. Should I choose the combo set that's in the 2nd image I uploaded or choose a different Kv motor. As I said, I'm a NOOB lol, and not sure which is a good motor and esc to go for. Any input will be greatly appreciated.


Question 2 months ago

Hi...nice to see such a detailed brief explanation.....but i didnt get the answer for my question though.....what i did was i purchased a 1/18 buggy which used toy motors on both those axles....i removed them both....used a racerstar 2845 motor 3T 3100 kv motor...because my rc car has to carry a total weight of 1.7 kg which means i need more torque.... i then replaced the plastic gear near the axle with a metal one and used a belt to drive the wheels and the axle from the motor.....but the motor tends to skip some teeths and not even moving is there any suggestions to improve it?.....and not using it for racing....but just for the sqke of using a flysky transmitter along with it...which can control only BLDC motors i had to do it this way...if u have any otber suggestions or ideas u r most welcome to share it


Question 7 months ago

hey Electroinnovation i have the exceed RC sun fire too and was wondering what brush less system you had installed. Thanks


8 months ago on Step 5

Hello, i have a zd racing 10427 S whit a t3650 3300kv whit a esc 45A, which is good? What battery do you recomend, for more time running?


Question 9 months ago on Introduction

i want a rc for less than 150$, im from india, ill not be able to spend or maintain nitro. i want for road and off road

Osama Siddiqui

1 year ago

Hello every one!. Guys after a month I've got a competition of RC racing cars , basically I'm a student in engineering university for that purpose I've to made electric powered RC car for competition with my team members. Kindly advice me how to make (Electric RC Truck powerful). To win that competition. Thanks


1 year ago

I just bought this RC an have no idea what kind it is. I know the company name is jinhonglong but can't find replacement parts for it.


3 years ago

I am 39 years old, and am just getting into R/C the first car i got was an Arrma Fury. I upgraded to a brushless motor (castle sct sidewinder ) the body is not as durable as some. However, this car is just as fast as a traxxas or any other car after the mods. Things break. But parts are easily available. Most cars are upgradable. Most important. Have fun!!!

4 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Is that DJ equipment in the background? If you are a producer, I would love to see some of your content!


Reply 1 year ago

Go to your nearest HobbyTown USA will give you everything you need and everything that you want


Reply 3 years ago

I am also 39 and getting into RC cars again - the last time I had one was a Grasshopper. I splurged on a Traxxas Rustler VXL and and so happy with it! it was amazing to drive! My 9yr boy learned how to drive it too. He filmed this video of the first complete jump! Video is here:

Than we took it out of training mode. Vrooom this car is so fast an fun to drive! I naturally smashed it into a curb at full speed. Opps! I'm still trying to get used to steering at that speed. Damage was basically a cracked front chassis and plastic arm connections. Wondering if I should try the metal versions? I found an exploded view which is helpful but still not sure on the correct parts to order to fix and prevent reoccurrence. Anybody know of a good 'front chassis area' parts package out there?


Reply 3 years ago

Hey, om i was going to ask if i can borrow your rc car for a project im doing in school


Question 1 year ago on Step 3

Thank you for the nice subject... i have a knight HG 4*4 car 1:10 scale 80a , 2.4g , 7.4v and 3000mah. I would like to upgrade the car to get faster and run longer.. please advise what do u recommend for me to use and which specifications can fit my car.


4 years ago on Introduction

hi, I'm so sorry to bother you with what's possibly a dumb I'm apologizing beforehand. Lol....anyway, I bought my son two rc cars so we can race! I bought two COMPLETELY different makes and models, because I didn't want cross controlling! I.e one remote controlling both lol......BUT unfortunately it's still there a way of stopping this, or changing the control channel??? X

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

By controller from HobbyTown

slapponagato KatieS8

Reply 3 years ago

You would need to change the crystals that came with the cars. Look on the transmitter (remote ) and see if it has a number like 27.145 mHz. If both remotes have that same number, just buy a new set of crystals for one of the remotes. They come in a set of 2, one says tx for transmitter (remote ) and the other says rx(reciever). The reciever has the annt attached to it in the car. Hope this helps out.


3 years ago

Hi everyone I bought a tacon soar brushed rc car it's my first rc I made a little track in the back to race it I'm having problems with the breaks the car doesn't stop fast at all and sometime I have to push the trigger to revers twice before it actually reverses can anyone help me out with this? I kinda want it to crop "on a dime" or as fast as possible! Thanks!

1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

Go to your nearest HobbyTown USA go give you all the tips and heads