You do not have to give up your RC fun for the 4-5 months of winter, Winter can still be a great time to play with your RC Truck, Buggy, Airplane, etc.. For those in snow country, snow and ice can present some fun new ways to use your RC product. Some ways to enjoy winter RC are;
- Creating your own RC track using the snow to build ramps, curves and hills. You can easily modify and enhance your track by just moving and shaping the snow until you have the kind of track that provides the kind of challenge you enjoy.
- Snow piles created after the snow plow comes through your street, or the snow piles created in shopping mall parking lots can make a challenging course for RC rock crawlers
- Smooth ice on a lake with the snow removed can enable any RC vehicle to drive like a drift car and allow you to try this rather different form of racing.
- Some hobbyists create their own ice tires (by inserting screws through the tires to create spikes) and then have races on the ice
- The ice can also make a good runway for flying your RC airplane
Winter Prep and Precautions
Driving your RC car, buggy or truck in the winter does require some preparation and precautions. You should avoid driving your RC in very extreme cold, as extreme temperatures can be hard on your vehicle:
- Plastic parts will be more brittle
- Extreme cold will cause the oils and grease in differentials, shocks and other lubricated points to become thicker and can even cause nitro fuel to thicken up
- Nitro engines may be running too cool
- Batteries become weaker in the cold weather
- The frozen ground does not have any give, so driving over bumps is like driving over rocks, and is more likely to result in damage depending on how and the speed at with which you hit these bumps
If you are breaking in a nitro gas engine, you should wait for a warmer day, as very cold weather can adversely impact the break-in process, and shorten the life of your engine
There are a number of things you can do to help your RC Car/truck survive the cold weather:
- Spray all metal parts and screws with some WD-40
- You need to protect any non-waterproof electrical components from moisture. If your receiver is exposed, we recommend you place it inside a balloon or small freezer bag and zip-tie the end the wires come out. Brushed motors with ventilation holes can tolerate some moisture
- You may want to wrap a cloth or some tin foil around all or some of cooling fins on a nitro motor so that it can maintain around a 200 degrees Farenheit operating temperature
- Consider replacing plastic parts that break with metal upgrade parts if available.
- Ensure you properly clean and dry your vehicle as soon as you are finished. An air compressor is very good for this , if you have one of these. Also ensure all electrical connections are dry
Other Winter Tips:
- Keep your vehicle at room temperature as long as possible and limit how long you run the vehicle outside. You can also use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm up your vehicle before you start.
- Ensure the vehicle body is on at all times and you may want to consider taping over any body openings to reduce the cold air flow inside and snow getting inside your vehicle
- Drive with restraint, as your vehicle can be more easily damaged in the cold.
- Avoid driving through water or very soft or deep snow, or very hard bumpy gorund
- You may also want to investigate if there are any indoor RC tracks in your area --- they can be a lot of fun