By Joe Rich
How Long Do RC Car Nitro Engines Last?
Nitro engines can last a very long time if looked after and well maintained they can out live most other components of the same age of your RC Car
Racing remote-controlled (RC) cars is a long-existing pastime. Those of all ages enjoy buying their kits, creating their own racers, and seeing how they stack up against the competition both in their areas and across their countries.
There are so many different questions to be asked and answered regarding these miniature vehicles that it would take a dissertation to cover it all. But one of the most important questions that RC enthusiasts want to know is just how long the engines in these nitro cars last. So, what can you expect?
How Long Do Nitro Engines Last?
There are a ton of factors that go into the life expectancy of an RC nitro engine. As is the case with anything else in life, it all comes down to just how well one takes care of it. With proper maintenance, cleaning it, using after-run oil, using fuel that has castor oil in it, not running it too lean, etc. comes a longer life expectancy.
That said, with the utmost care, a racer can expect to get 25 to 30 years out of a single RC nitro engine. Though they are miniature versions of the combustion engines that we see in most standard vehicles, they don’t see the same wear and tear
Components may need replacing from time to time, but with that proper care, getting the full life expectancy out of it is not unreasonable. Of course, circumstances are different for everyone. Components fail, things break, and there is the possibility that yours could die far sooner than the expected life of most engines.
What Is Nitro Fuel?
These engines also make use of something known as nitro fuel. Most of the nitro fuel that you find at local hobby shops contains the same components. But finding the right mixture is what can set one brand apart from the rest. There are, however, a few basic components in each.
Nitromethane: The “nitro” component that racers refer to is from nitrogen. Nitrogen makes up the majority of the air that we breathe, and nitromethane is not only flammable but actually has an extremely high burning point.
The nitro percentage is crucial for RC racers. The higher the percentage, the quicker the fuel will burn, which means higher horsepower and RPM. But finding the right mix is a delicate balance.
Methanol. This is the main ingredient behind the fuel’s explosive properties. Because it absorbs moisture, keeping it sealed and properly stored is of the utmost importance. Too much moisture exposure can cause the methanol within to spoil.
The methanol works to ignite the glow plug and then it ends up releasing substantially more energy per pound of air than traditional gasoline would. This all comes together to provide the punch of fuel that RC cars need to race around the track at such high speeds.
Finding that delicate balance is part of the balancing act that keeps engines healthy and running for a long time. Experience and a little bit of homework can go a long way for an RC racer.