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Cold Weather RC Driving Tips

Many people pack up their RC gear for the winter or maybe even switch to indoor-only action. But what if cabin-fever gets to be too much to handle or you don’t have an indoor track near you? Well, even though it’s cold in the ‘hood, you can still fire up your RC truck and have some cold-weather fun. Check out these tips to keep Old Man Winter from wrecking your ride.

Moisture Protection. Moisture leads to rust and rust wrecks parts. Before running outdoors in wet winter conditions, spray all exposed metal parts down to tiny screws and E-clips with WD-40. It’s also a good idea to spray the suspension and underside of the chassis if running in really nasty conditions or in snow. This will help prevent corrosion and make cleanup a whole lot easier.

Snow Proof. If you’re running in snow, you’ll need to use a waterproof vehicle or waterproof your electronics. Many people even switch to stock Traxxas electronics for winter running because it’s waterproof and can be found fairly on eBay or for sale locally. Often the stuff for sale hasn’t even been used. As always, when it comes to buying RC gear, it’s buyer beware.

Cold Equals Fragile. Ever wonder why that gonzo jump didn’t present a problem in July, but has resulted in a yard sale of parts everywhere in January? It’s because plastic parts get brittle in cold weather. To prevent cold temps from ending your fun, make your outdoor runs short and heat your truck up with a hairdryer before heading out.

Crash Proof. While all plastic parts get more brittle as the temps drop, some plastic are stronger than others in cold weather. RPM’s proprietary blend of nylon has proven to work exceptionally in even deep cold conditions. Upgrade what you can. If you can’t, you can boil nylon parts in water. This rehydrates the material and makes it more flexible.

No LiPo Freeze. If you’re running at or near freezing, switch to a NiMH pack. LiPo chemistry cells do not perform well at or below freezing and permanent damage can be done to the cells.

Keep it Clean. After running, get your truck as clean and dry as possible. Putting it away wet and dirty is asking for trouble–don’t do it! A air compressor is a great RC investment and it will be extremely handy when running in winter. Use an air compressor to clean off the truck and then wipe the metal parts down with some more WD-40.






 To learn more about surviving wet conditions, click here.

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  1. Hey! Great tips and tricks! I have been into the hobby for around 1 year with dad and about a month alone with my own car. I have a stampede 4×4 and I have only been driven it in snow and some wet grass. I have taken care of it by drying, checking the spur and the gearmesh, and that everything is tightened. I haven’t really had any peformence problems, but i have some rusty screws on the reciever box and on the back of the truck. What is your experience with wd-40? does it make alot of mess as i think, or do you just have to use it after some runs? Also, how often should I check my bearings?

    Thanks alot!


    1. I use WD-40 and don’t find it too messy. Before winter snow or mud running, I have used silicone spray and WD-40. I used the silicone spray when out of WD-40. I find the WD-40 to be far less messy. Most of the carrier in WD-40 evaporates.

      Today’s sealed bearings are pretty good. They last worlds longer than the “shielded” bearings we used not that long ago. The best bet is to lightly brush bearings off with an old tooth brush. You don’t want unintentionally force grime past a seal and into the bearing. When bearings do feel “notchy,” you can try blasting them and soaking them in cleaner such as motor spray, but with companies selling quality bearings for $1, it is best to just replace them as needed.

  2. I’ve switched from wd40 to Moo Slick from Cow RC, and everybody knows we have snow and cold here in Chicagoland! After a run, the vehicles get hit with the air compressor, re-sprayed then hung up to dry with a blow dryer set on warm, not hot, so no warping occurs. All the vehicle I run in the wet conditions use a Traxxas slash receiver box and Holmes Hobby waterproof ESC. The servos are sealed Hitec units of various specs, depending on the vehicles needs.

  3. Bran new Rustler out of the box to cold and snow (-11c / 12°F ) for it’s inaugural run and it work out just great. Every parts were WD-40’d, no mess, swept. Our main concern was fog in the battery pack but it eventually came out as it is not perfectly sealed. Brushed off snow and air dried the whole thing a couple of time. WD-40’d again, ready for next time.

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