What are Foam Tire Inserts For RC Cars We Explain All

What are Foam Tire Inserts For RC Cars We Explain All

By Joe Rich

RC cars use inserts because they are more practical than trying to fill the tires with real air. Inserts support the tire at high speed to keep it stable.

Most RC cars use foam inserts in their tires instead of air. However, unlike air, these do not exert the same amount of pressure towards the tire walls and this might cause the car to be very unstable. This happens because the tire reacts differently as different pressure points along its periphery hit the tarmac. The result of this is that the car might flip over, especially if you run it at high speed.

Well, you might be wondering, why not use pneumatic tires instead? The reason is simple.

We have a article explaining all about RC car tire measurements click here if you would like to view.

What do foam inserts do for RC tires?

Foam inserts are a type of insert that is commonly used in RC car tires to help maintain their shape and provide additional stability. Foam inserts are typically made of a material that is specially designed to fit inside the tire and support it from the inside. The foam insert helps prevent tire ballooning, which is a common issue in RC cars when the tires expand beyond their normal size due to high centrifugal forces. Foam inserts help maintain the tire’s shape and provide added support, ensuring that the car can handle tight turns and maintain proper traction. Foam inserts are highly recommended for off-road vehicles that navigate through rough terrain as they can reduce punctures or accidental damage to the RC car wheels.

Why use inserts for RC cars instead of pressurized air?

  1. The reason for not using air-filled tires in RC cars is all due to their tire construction.
  2. RC tires are not reinforced and thus, will bounce off unevenly on the surfaces they roll on.
  3. Normal tires are reinforced using steel wires, multiples layers of rubber and chemicals that hold the air inside at an even pressure across the entire inner surface.
  4. RC car tires do not have these reinforcements, making them basically be like rubber balloons when inflated.
  5. This means that they will expand unevenly, with some areas swelling more than others, causing them to bounce around unevenly when rolled around.
  6. Another reason is maintenance.
  7. Imagine if that small sized tire gets a flat? What would you do? How would you even start mending it? This makes foam inserts a much better alternative

However, there are different types of foam inserts that are meant for different uses.

What are Types of foam inserts

They come in 3 basic types. These are:

Normal or regular Foam inserts

As the name suggests, these inserts have nothing that makes them special or gives the car extra performance.

This means that they are also the cheapest of all the types. In terms of appearance, they are square cornered and have a flat face on all sides.

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Duel stage foam inserts

These are also square cornered and have a flat face on the outer side.

The difference between these and the regular ones is that they either have a firm foam forming the inner half and a softer foam forming the outer half or the vice versa.

However, the most common one is the firm inner foam and soft outer foam combination.

This dual layer is the one that gives it its name.

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Moulded foam inserts

These inserts are actually “moulded” to fit inside the tires perfectly.

They have a curved outer face, curved sidewalls, and a curved inner face, making them fit snugly over the rim and inside the tires.

However, this intricate construction means that they are the most expensive among these 3 types.

What are Foam Tire Inserts For RC Cars We Explain All
What are Foam Tire Inserts For RC Cars We Explain All

Functional differences between 3 types of foam insert

The design and structural differences of these inserts might not matter to most people but they play a crucial role towards their functional differences.

Basically, when you buy an RC car, you want to take it on smooth roads, rough roads, and rocky surfaces and probably do some drifting along the way.

All these different conditions need different inserts.

Most RC cars come with regular inserts but for extreme performance, you might want to change them to the dual stage, moulded or any other wide or narrow foam inserts that fall in between.

The difference is this:

Width of tire insert

Wider inserts are always better than their narrow counterparts.

These wide ones press firmly on the tire sidewalls, enabling the tires to maintain their shape and rigidity as you take sharp corners.

This means that if you are a drifting fan, you need to get moulded foam inserts because they hold the entire inner side of the tire firmly in place.

It is important to make sure that the foam is a little bit wider than the tire so that it fits tightly in order to deliver good results

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Firmness of tire insert

When it comes to firmness, a compromise needs to be made.

Firm inserts support the tire better, giving you superb cornering capabilities.

However, they do not have the ability to absorb shocks from rough surfaces.

Therefore, if you intend to drive on a smooth road, firm inserts are the best for you.

However, if you intend to drive on a rough track, firm inserts are obviously not the best choice.

The car will bounce a lot and probably destroy some internal components if you drive too fast.

This is where you will need dual stage inserts.

Their firm inner layer will provide some good cornering abilities while the soft outer layer will absorb the shocks.

With these inserts, you get a little bit of both worlds and this makes them ideal for going off-road.

Rock crawlers, in particular, perform best with dual stage inserts because the stiff core gives you great stability and steering accuracy, which is important for navigating through the rough terrain.

On the other hand, the soft outer layer cushions the rims while also providing all-around traction as they compress inwards and let all the tire treads bite into the rock surface.

Alternatives to foam inserts

There are a couple of alternatives but none are as good as foam tire inserts. However, some people do make their own “inserts” from foam boards.

Foam boards are basically the same as foam inserts but are firmer and can be cut to form round inserts, which are good for driving on smooth surfaces.

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Another alternative is to remove the tire and if you can turn it inside out and wrap it duct tape.

If you are unable to turn the tire inside it is still possible to reinforce the tire by cutting the tape into strips and carefully sticking the strips to the inside walls being careful not to create a imbalance on the wheel.

The other option is using foam sprays. Although not popular, foam sprays can be sprayed into the tires to create permanent foam, which is also good for smooth surfaces

Another alternative is to remove the tire and if you can turn it inside out and wrap it duct tape.

If you are unable to turn the tire inside it is still possible to reinforce the tire by cutting the tape into strips and carefully sticking the strips to the inside walls being careful not to create a imbalance on the wheel.

The other option is using foam sprays. Although not popular, foam sprays can be sprayed into the tires to create permanent foam, which is also good for smooth surfaces.

The stiffness caused by these alternatives can reduce each tire’s grip significantly.

Remember how the soft outer layer of the dual stage inserts improves a tire’s traction?

Well, these types of DIY alternatives are firm throughout. A temporary solution to give them a little bit more traction would be to use tire additives.

What are RC car tire additives?

Tire additives are not only for use in such situations.

Their purpose is to increase traction by softening the rubber tires so that they grip more.

These additives are quite easy to apply and usually come with an applicator to help you spread out the liquid so that it penetrates deeper into the rubber.

This penetration will ensure you get continued traction even as the tires continue getting worn out.

What is RC car tire Ballooning

Tire ballooning is a common issue in RC cars where the tires expand beyond their intended size due to high centrifugal forces. It typically happens when a car is running at higher speeds or making tight turns.

This expansion can cause a number of problems, including decreased traction, stability, and loss of speed. That’s where tire inserts come in handy. Tire inserts are typically made of foam or rubber that is fitted inside the tire, filling up the space between the tire and the rim.

The inserts provide additional reinforcement to the tire and help to prevent any ballooning. Fitting inserts can ensure that the tires retain their intended shape and size, increasing stability and traction, and improving the car’s overall performance. It’s important to choose the correct inserts for the specific type of tire and car to ensure a good fit and optimum performance.

All in all, inserts are an essential part of RC car tires, as they help to provide the stability and performance which RC cars rely on. Although opinions are divided on which insert works best for each car setup and racing conditions, there is a consensus that, overall, inserts can make RC car tires better suited to the task they’re designed for.

Whether you go with foam or plastic, reusable or not, the right insert choice can be the difference between victory and defeat. It pays to do your research, understand your auto’s needs and pick the insert that best suits your particular setup before sending it out onto the track. In short – if you want to get the most out of your RC car’s potential performance then don’t forget about inserts!

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