How to Best Clean a Dirty Nitro RC Car to Extend Life

By Josh •  Updated: 03/23/21 •  7 min read

Nitro RC cars are almost the same as regular cars as they both use a fuel-powered engine. Therefore, cleaning them properly is necessary just like you’d have to do with a real one. In order to do that, you need the proper knowledge of how to clean nitro RC car.  

Cleaning a nitro RC car is necessary for its longevity and performance. Using simple household cleaning materials, you can clean your dirty nitro RC car and extend its life. All you need is a bit of time to spent every day and give some effort to clean your RC car.

So, cleaning is important and you already know that as an RC car enthusiast. But what you don’t know is how to do that. Quit asking everyone “What can I use to clean my nitro RC car” and read the whole article. I hope you will get your answer by the time you finish reading this piece of writing.

How to Clean an RC Nitro Car?

In order to keep your RC Car clean, you need a set of tools and accessories to start with. Here is a list of the stuff you need.

After you got your hands on the materials I have listed above, it’s time to start the cleaning process. Read the following steps carefully and do not miss a single step. Else your car might not get cleaned properly.

Get rid of the fuel

First of all, use an empty fuel bottle to draw out the leftover fuel. Dispose of your old fuel and do not mix it with your new fresh fuel. Squeeze the empty bottle and enter the tip in the fuel tank.

By doing this, the leftover fuel will come out from the fuel tank at ease. Keep doing this until your fuel tank is completely emptied.

After you finish emptying the bottle, start the engine so that the last bit of fuel is burned off. In my opinion, it’s best to use the fuel completely before you prepare it for cleaning. In that way, the leftover fuel will not get wasted. 

Clean the engine case

Before moving forward, wear safety glasses and gloves. You are going to work with some hazardous chemicals so get ready for that.

Now, you need to clean the outer portion of the engine case including the carburetor. In order to accomplish that, blast the grease and dirt away using the denatured alcohol.

Remove stubborn particles

Use the small brushes to remove the stubborn particles in the engine that do not want to get out easily.

Get the compressed air in order to dry the engine. Once you finish cleaning the engine, remove the plug including the air filter from it.

Clean the cooling fins

Make sure that the cooling fins of the cylinder head are cleaned perfectly. There should be a lot of dirt and grime inside it. If you do not clean it properly, the engine will get hot and its lifetime will be decreased.

Moreover, a hot engine is very difficult to tune. If you want to extend your RC car’s life, you must clean your engine regularly.

Use WD-40

Next, you should get to the carburetor and remove the air filter. Fully open the throttle and insert the tip of the WD-40 inside the carburetor. Press the trigger and burst the preparation in it for a second. Do the same for the glow plug hole inside of the cooling head.

Take a paper towel and use it to catch the WD-40 that may come out of the engine. Placing it over the glow plug area of the cooling head should work. Use a pull starter to circulate the WD-40 so that the whole engine gets cleaned.

Clean the air filter element

Now, get the air filter element out of the filter housing. Use the dishwashing liquid with warm water to clean the element, and then let it dry.

If you do not have much time to spend, you can use compressed air in order to dry the element quickly.

Apply oil to the air filter

Try to apply some air filter oil to the filter element after drying it. The element should get the color of the oil on every side. Use your fingers to apply the oil properly. At last, reinstall the filter element to its place.

After you finish doing all of these, assemble the car back again. Reinstall everything, do not forget to set up the glow plug and get your engine ready for another day. 

Chassis Cleaning

To clean the chassis, use some denatured alcohol in order to wipe the dirt away. Spray alcohol on the dirty area so that the dirt gets soaked and gets away.

Remember, you should not pour the alcohol on the electronic parts. Remove the radio gear from the chassis and take a small brush. Use your hand to clean the chassis swiftly.

Once the alcohol removes all the grime and dirt, use the compressed air to dry the car. Do the chassis cleaning every single time you run the car on the street. Regular cleaning will surely increase the longevity of your RC car.

How Often Should You Clean Your RC Car?

It’s hard to tell how often an RC car should be cleaned. The interval between the cleaning sessions depends on a lot of factors including the fuel you are using, the amount of racing you do, the surface you run your car on, etc. 

In my opinion, cleaning it after burning every gallon of fuel is good enough. If you are using low-quality fuel, you need to clean the engine more frequently. If the car looks dirty, you must clean it no matter if it’s your cleaning day or not.

Clean it or not, you must check the car before every session. In that way, even if you do not have the time or energy to clean the car, your car should run just fine. Nitro RC car maintenance is important, and you should do the work of maintenance frequently. 

First, take the car in your hand and check the screws. If a screw is loose, tighten it. Look at the screws of the engine carefully. If you were doing some stunts, look for cracked, damaged, or bent parts. 

Make sure the wires are connected properly and not a single one gets cut. Tighten them if you have to. As you are looking at a nitro car, look at the fuel lines too. A torn or kinked fuel pipe can cause severe damage to the car, so keeping it secure is important.

In addition to the pipe, check if there is a fuel leakage somewhere. A fuel tank or pipe can get cracked and drop fuel all over the engine.

Clean the fuel and fix the pipe or tank as soon as possible. At last, check the drive gears. Stripped or damaged drive gears are not ready to run. Make sure they are fitted correctly. 

This maintenance should be done in between every race and trust me, it is important. A good branded fuel may reduce the need of cleaning the car, but checking the car before racing cannot be avoided under any circumstance.


After reading this article, I hope you have an idea about how to clean nitro RC car and what can you use to clean your nitro RC car. Cleaning a nitro RC car is a tiresome job, but it is important for the health and longevity of your beloved car.

Good luck with your cleaning job and make sure to get the fun from running your nitro RC car. Thanks for reading and until next time, farewell.

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