How to Repair and Reinforce an RC Car Body Shell
By Joe Rich
Racing or bashing your RC car body is going to be damaged but fixing them is a simple cheap task. Using items you may already have laying around.
RC cars are a popular niche for those who want the racing experience without the astronomical costs that can come from full-sized cars. Even better, RC cars allow for customization, creating the type of experience that driving enthusiasts crave.
Eventually, the body shell of the RC car will start to wear and deteriorate. If you are lucky, it will be minor cosmetic issues – chips and dings. Those are relatively easy to handle. Cracks and rips, however, can be a bit more complicated endeavor.
Handling Touch-ups and Aesthetic Repairs
Before you tackle any repairs to the body shell, the first step should always be to clean the car. That initial cleaning, using an air compressor or bristle brush, will remove any debris or dirt lingering on the shell.
It is important that you use a little soap and water, as well as careful elbow grease. For bodies with a bit more shine and sparkle, consider specified cleaning solutions. The last thing you want to do is clean your car for repair only to strip away some of the finish and shine.
Not only will a good cleaning help to amplify the appearance of your car, but it will give you a cleaner surface to work with. The clearer the picture, the more accurate repairs and touch-ups that you are able to make.
For the most part, RC cars will have some kind of design to them. If you have a plain design, using a spray paint can is certainly possible. More realistically, though, you will have to use a little bit of paint (matching colors) and a small bristle brush.
Depending on the class of the car, there will be more common wear areas. Be aware of those beforehand and you can better prepare for these minor dings.
When applying the paint with your small bristle brush, do so in thin coats. The idea here is that you want the paint to be able to flex with the body of the car, preventing further chipping and cracking. Paint can and will chip away but you don’t want to make that process any easier than it has to be.
Cracks and Rips
While aesthetic inconsistencies are a minor annoyance, cracks and rips can potentially impact the performance of the car. Thankfully, with your RC car cleaned, you are ready to tackle those rips and tears as well.
In addition to cleaning the car, use a little bit of motor spray to clean the interior surface where the damage on the car is. Use a bit of drywall fiber tape cut down to size and put it over the full length of the damaged area. Then, using Shoe Goo, cover the drywall fiber tape.
Like the paint, try using as little as possible to give the body greater flexibility. Moreover, less weight is a good thing, especially when it comes to RC cars.
Reinforcing the Body Shell
If you want a little bit of protection, it is much the same as repairing the cracks and rips. Make sure that you start out by cleaning the body shell first and foremost; dirt and debris will keep the drywall tape from properly adhering.
Simply apply the drywall tape across the areas that you want to reinforce. Remember not to go too heavy as it could add unnecessary weight to the car. The tape will also provide structure for the Shoe Goo to properly adhere to. It is also important to eliminate bubbling that can occur during the installation of the tape.
With the tape down, use your Shoe Goo to provide a liberal coating. Try to keep it as thin as you can, simply kneading it with your thumb and finger. Give it some time to cure – generally overnight – to allow for proper adhesion.
Finally, cut off the excess tape to get a neater, more snug fit. Your RC car should be able to stand up to additional punishment without rips and tears that can normally plague them. It may take a time or two to find the proper level of tape/adhesive, but the end result will mean a much stronger body shell for your RC car.