By Joe Rich
Table of Contents
Can RC Cars go in Reverse? If so Which RC Models Can
RC cars are iconic toys that many of us have grown up playing with. And they also make for a fascinating hobby for many adults across the world.
Their versatility and interest are unmatched and the interest in the hobby remains throughout the years.
But there is far more to these sleek, tiny vehicles than you may have previously thought.
While making them zip around as quickly as possible is certainly a major part of experiencing and enjoying the hobby, it definitely is not all that there is to it.
One question that gets asked often about RC cars because it is not blatantly obvious is whether or not RC cars can go in reverse.
Before we can get to the bottom of that answer, we must first understand RC cars in general.
The Different Types of RC Cars
In general, there are three different types of RC cars: gas, electric, and nitro.
Aside from how they are fuelled, there are some fundamental differences between the three different types of RC cars.
Electric cars are the most common.
These are powered by a simple lithium-ion battery that you can buy replacements for when they stop working.
Depending on the brand of RC car that you choose, there may even be a charging option available as well.
Gas-powered, meanwhile, might sound like as if they are simply powered by gas instead but there is a substantial difference between the two aside from how they are fuelled.
With the gas-powered RC car, it is constructed much as a standard full-size car is.
You can customize and take apart your gas-powered RC car as you see fit whereas the electric model is fairly straightforward. It can allow for some pretty cool changes to be made to your RC car, making it truly your car.
Nitro-fueled RC cars are much the same as gas-powered RC cars with a slight difference.
Nitro RC cars use engines that are fuelled by a methanol-based fuel that contains nitro methane.
This is essentially the RC equivalent of engines for full-sized cars or trucks.
Which Type Is Better?
While there are certainly preferences that are wholly personal in nature, there is a distinct difference between electric RC cars and the gas/nitro-powered variations and that is in the engine.
Electric RC cars use what is known as brushed/unbrushed engines and they are significantly limited compared to the nitro variation.
This is because they are the most common type of engines available, most commonly found in toy-grade cars.
With gas and nitro engines, they are constructed very similarly to full-sized petro-powered vehicles.
They have air filters, carburetors, clutches, pistons, glow plugs, flywheels, and crankshafts.
This allows for more customization and even more power to be delivered to your RC car.
For those who have more of an interest in the details of their RC cars, the gas and nitro variations are certainly more comprehensive, allowing for further customization and greater levels of power than their electric counterparts.
How Does an RC Car Go Backwards?
Here’s the thing: technically, RC cars don’t have a “reverse” option. They are meant to go forward at varying speeds.
But depending on your Electronic Speed Control (the handheld device that comes with your car that makes it go), the capability of going in reverse is certainly there.
But it is important to note that your ESC may not support a reverse function.
Check your manual, do a little bit of research online, and you’ll be able to find out whether or not your car even supports going in reverse.
That is the easiest way to find out.
For example, nitro-powered RC cars in general don’t support the reverse functionality, though there are a select few that absolutely do.
Knowing your model number can allow you to find out if reverse functionality is supported.
For those that do support reverse functionality, it comes down to flipping a switch on the throttle of your ESC.
If this switch is available, you can flip the switch while pulling on the trigger, allowing it to go in reverse as opposed to forward.
You could try to figure this out by trial and error but it would be quicker to do a little bit of research on your model instead.
Ultimately, it is possible to go in reverse with your RC car but it is not a universal function and feature for every RC car.
Know your model, know your ESC, and implement a little bit of trial and error and you will know for certain if your car can go in reverse.
RC cars have a wonderful and interesting capability, which is part of the reason why they have remained a part of such a popular hobby throughout the decades.
There are just a few RC models that have what you would call a proper reverse gear.
One model is the Kyosho Nitro Tracker this model has a 2 speed automatic transmission with a Q R C quick reverse clutch.