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Buying Guide for RC (Radio Control) Car or Drift Car

RC (Radio Control) Cars and Drift Cars

Although many people refer to RC vehicles generally as RC cars; RC cars actually refers to a category of RC vehicles that are optimized for driving on relatively smooth surfaces.  Generally, RC cars have a low center of gravity, low ground clearance, lighter weight chassis and suspension, and on-road optimized tires, to maximize their traction and stability when driving on smooth surfaces, and performing high speed cornering.

These RC cars come in a variety of styles including NASCAR and F1 style race cars, styles that copy many popular sport cars, Sport Rally cars, etc.  RC cars can come with 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive, and can be powered by nitro gas engines, or electric motors ( brushed or brushless).  RC cars come in a variety of scales or sizes --- the most popular sizes from small to large are 1/16 scale, 1/10 scale and 1/8 Scale.

Electric RC cars have forward and reverse and variable speeds, and nitro gas powered RC cars can come with single or 2 speed transmissions.  Two speed transmissions are a bit more expensive but can provide 10-20% higher speeds on smooth surfaces. These two speed transmissions tend to be automatic, and use the centrifugal force at higher speeds to determine when to switch to the higher speed gear.

A popular variant of RC car racing is RC drifting.  RC drift cars have 4 wheel drive and hard plastic tires that slip when you are driving, which allows you to drift around corners.  On some drift courses, you may be driving around much of the course sideways, and how well you can angle your car and control your turns, is a big part of RC drift racing, and requires you to learn a different style of driving.  Some RC drift cars are also available with lights which allow you to drift race even when it is dark. Kids and adults can also get a kick out of the spins and other wild movements they can do while drifting.

Sport Rally cars have a higher ground clearance, and can therefore also be driven on dirt tracks.

Setting up RC car races is easy, -- any large parking lot and a few small pylons, allow you to quickly set up a race track, and have some great races with your buddies.


If you are purchasing a RC car for someone under 12, we would recommend a RC car with a brushed motor, as a brushless motor car may be too fast for them.

If the person is over12, we would recommend a brushless electric car, as the higher performance will retain their interest for longer.

If the person is over 14, we would recommend a brushless electric or nitro gas powered RC car (see pros and cons of gas vs electric in this guide). If the person has a mechanical aptitude, and shows an interest in engines, a nitro gas powered car may be the best choice.  If the person is mechanically challenged, then a brushless electric car would be the best choice.

If the person has shown a specific interest in drift cars, the drift cars in the RC drift car category would be suitable for any age. As these cars have low traction wheels, a brushless motor is fine for drifting, as you cannot really take advantage of the higher speeds of a brushless car.

With the exception of the Sport Rally car, any of the cars can be changed to drift cars or on-road cars by simply changing the wheels. If you purchase a drift car, and also want regular road tires, you can add 2 packages of part 02020 wheels to your order (just enter part 02020 in the search function). If you purchased an on-road car, and also want the option for drifting, you can add 2 packages of part 07003 wheels to your order.

If you are buying a Nitro gas powered car and this is your first nitro vehicle, we also recommend you purchase a nitro starter kit, and a spare glow plug ( part 70117).

If you are purchasing an electric RC car, and you budget allows, we would recommend you purchase an additional battery, as your play time is limited by the battery capacity you have. For brushless electric vehicles, these batteries are in the LIPO battery category, and for brushed electric cars, the batteries would be in the NIMH battery category, and you will want a battery with a white connector.

Depending on your budget, you may also want a faster charger than the charger that comes with the car. For brushless cars, this would be the IMAX B6 charger, and for Brushed motor cars, the charger would be in the IMAX A3 charger.


Copyright 2015 SIG Industries Inc