Person fixing an RC car

RC Car Maintenance Guide: How to Clean RC Cars

- Laegendary Brand Team

If you’ve raced a remote-controlled or RC car, you know how dirty they can get (if you haven’t, the answer is very). After taking it for a spin, you realize that this mucky mess needs a thorough clean. It’s true that a thorough clean will get your car to shine, but there are plenty of other reasons why you should tend to it quickly. Consistently washing your car helps maintain peak performance and longevity. 

Unfortunately, since these vehicles are electronically operated, a simple scrub with soap and water won’t suffice. So now you may be wondering – how do I manage RC car cleaning? 

Luckily, we have answers. From simple post-race street debris to caked on mud from an off-road spin, we’re here with all the tips and tricks to help you perform a great RC car wash

Cleaning methods & maintenance

As we previously stated, regular maintenance is imperative to help maintain the lifespan and performance quality of your RC car. Below are tips, tricks, and tools that can help you get your car in race-ready shape.

Basic cleaning 

When to do a basic clean: According to multiple sources, you should give your RC car a surface-level clean immediately after racing on grass, dirt, or pavement. Even though the car might not look very dirty, this is a great way to prevent potential water damage, rusting, and short circuiting. 

Getting started: Finding the proper tools

Before beginning the cleaning process, we recommend getting situated with the tools to disassemble the car parts. It’s important to look for a set that has a diverse array of tools that are both ergonomic and durable. We love the 25-piece RC car tool kit by Laegendary for its vast selection of equipment made from precision-ground hardened steel.

Other supplies:

  • Soft brush or toothbrush 
  • Microfiber cloth 
  • Low-pressure hose
  • Compressed or canned air 
  • All-purpose cleaner spray
  • Glass polish or spray

Tips for cleaning RC cars

Step 1: Remove the batteries 

Before cleaning your car, it’s imperative to remove all electrical power sources to prevent damage to the car or injury. After removing the batteries, use an air compressor, or canned air, and a soft brush to loosen dirt and debris from the chassis. 

Step 2: Remove & clean tires

This will allow you to better handle the vehicle (and give those muddy tires much-needed TLC). Carefully wash and scrub the tires with a low-pressure hose and soft brush to loosen dirt and other debris. Follow the same procedure when cleaning underneath the car. Dry tires and undercarriage with a microfiber cloth.

Pro tip: Cover any breathing holes on the tires to prevent water from leaking in!  

Step 3: Spritz & wipe with all-purpose cleaner 

There are several RC car cleaner spray options on the market, but an all-purpose spray will get the job done. If your vehicle is waterproof, spray it generously with your preferred cleaner after removing the loose debris. Gently work your soft brush in circular motions to scrub and dislodge excess dirt. Dry completely with a microfiber cloth before reassembling your RC car. 

Step 4: Make it shine 

If you’re looking to elevate your wash to the next level, simply polish your vehicle with glass cleaner and a dry microfiber cloth to give it that fresh-out-of-the-box feel.

Step 5: Lubricate joints & moving parts 

After cleaning your car, you might have unintentionally removed some of the lubrication needed to keep everything running smoothly. No worries! Simply grease the moving components with WD40 oil or similar certified lubricants to get everything back in shape.

Next-level maintenance

By now, you know the best way to clean an RC car every time you take it out for a ride. According to, deep cleans should be performed once a month to further ensure the longevity and top-notch functionality of your car. Below is a quick list of how to perform a more intensive clean. 

Chassis servicing 

The chassis, or the skeleton of the car, safeguards the engine, wheels, and other major components. Because of this, it is very important to maintain the structural integrity of the chassis. 

  • Ensure screws holding the frame together are properly tightened. We recommend using the RC car tool kit packed with a wide array of equipment. 
  • Varnish, or the hard coating applied on top of screws, often deteriorates after multiple basic cleans. To prevent this, reapply a fresh coat each month when doing a deep clean.

Air filtration maintenance

The air filter keeps the engine clear from particles picked up from the road such as dust or sand. We recommend cleaning the air filter each month in order to extend the life of the car’s engine. 

  • Disassemble the filter into individual parts for a thorough clean.
  • Wash the outer layer with pressured water and leave to air-dry. 
  • Pro tip: Never apply air filter oil to the outside layer as it can leave a sticky residue that collects dirt and debris.
  • Douse the inner part of the filter with air filter oil, wash out with water, and let it air out until it’s completely dry.

Engine care 

*Only applicable to nitro-run RC cars

Your engine is extremely important if your RC car runs on nitroglycerin, or nitro. If your vehicle is completely battery operated, feel free to skip this step. The engine keeps everything running which makes it one of the most important aspects of your RC car. Below are some key ways to keep your engine operating in pristine condition:

  • Empty tank and fuel pipes to remove stale oil and keep the engine dry. 
  • Add one drop of post-run oil to the fuel carburetor. This protects the engine from harmful nitromethane which can cause damage to the car.
  • Dry-run the engine once more before reinserting the air filter. 

Batteries, gears & more 

Batteries and gears have a tendency to corrode, rust, and break. Luckily, they are easy to adjust and change out. We recommend checking your batteries and gears each time you take your vehicle out for a drift. 

And we’re off!

Caring for and maintaining your RC car will help improve performance and extend its longevity. Now that you feel more confident cleaning your car, feel free to take it out for that messy, muddy whirl you’ve been waiting for.

Check out to discover more tips, tricks, and tons of sweet RC cars and trucks to start (or add to) your collection.

Contributing Writer: Jamie Hurt