20 March 2011

5 Valid Points to Look at when Choosing Gas over Electric RC Car

Which is better, gas or electric? People who have been into this hobby for years say that gas rc cars are better than electric. Some points to think about when deciding whether you should get a gas rc car are: it has the sound and smell of real automobiles; can run for long distances; is faster than electric rc cars; runs outdoor; and requires cleaning and maintenance.

For beginners of rc cars hobby, the question most frequently asked is, "Which is better, gas or electric?" People who have been into this hobby for years say that gas rc cars are better than electric.  Here are some points to think about when deciding whether you should get a gas rc car over electric.

Has the sound and smell of real automobiles

Gas rc cars run with the sound and smell of real automobiles without you actually hopping in and steering the wheel. Nonetheless, if you are allergic to fumes or even the smell of gas, electric cars would suit you best. Electric rc cars are not as noisy as gas cars, and do not simulate the sound of racing cars or automobiles.

Can run for long distances

Gas rc cars have engines powered by a special kind of fuel composed of the combination of nitro methane, methanol, and oil. A gallon of this can make your car run for hours, without having to wait for batteries to charge. The downside of this is that the price of gas changes and increases over time, plus the fumes it produces may not be pleasant. On the other hand, for electric rc cars, refueling is not necessary, of course.  But waiting for the battery to charge for about 15 minutes before you could enjoy up to 10 minutes of fun wastes an awful lot of time. You can have a reserve fresh pack once the battery is low, so you would not have to wait longer to resume the fun and excitement, but that can add to your cost.

Is faster than electric rc cars

Gas rc cars are faster than electric rc cars, with speeds exceeding 65 mph.  At times, the engine does not want to run at all times, which can be disappointing. If you have a need for speed, gas rc cars are better.  Electric rc cars run slower but are cheaper, especially for beginners. For better speed or power, the electric motor can be tuned but requires proper break-in from the start to ensure good performance.

Runs outdoor

Nitro cars are played outdoors rather than indoors, maybe expensive to maintain but provides better simulation of actual racing on the road.

Requires good cleaning and maintenance

Because of the exhaust produced when cars run on fuel, gas rc cars require good regular maintenance. Cleaning them should be habitual because nitro quickly draws moisture and is most affected by humidity and temperature changes. Solvents such as denatured alcohol and air nozzles are good helpmates in protecting your car from wearing too fast. Poor tuning and overheating can lead to loss of compression which results in leaking of fuel through the motor. This brings about the need to rebuild or repair the motor.

Electric rc cars come as ready-to-run cars or in build-it-yourself kits and are easier to clean and maintain. All you need is a car, battery, and charger.  Batteries, however, are getting expensive. Plus, you need to replace the motor after going through five or more pairs of brushes.

Choosing the kind of remote control car for your hobby depends mainly on your preferences. If you want realistic sports experience, then go for gas rc cars. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy your hobby indoors without spending too much on fuel and maintenance, then electric rc cars are the best for you. Your choice relies on the kind of experience you want to have when running a rc car.


  1. I think it is quite expensive. I used to have those 4wd tamiya cars. :p But now...

  2. @tekkaus: yea... when I was young I was eager to own one RC cars, but now I am a grown up man d, so I pretty much forget about all those already. :)