Are RC Cars Waterproof?
RC cars are able to go anywhere. Or at least, that’s what manufacturers have been advertising for decades now. And actually, it’s kind of true. depending on the model that you have, riding through dirt tracks, grass, and even snow is definitely a possibility. But how about water? can an RC car ride through puddles and be unscathed? Are RC cars waterproof?
And the answer is that yes, most RC cars nowadays have waterproof components, but you can’t submerge them in a body of water and expect them to keep working. The waterproof components are meant to withstand moderate amounts of water, like for example the splash of a puddle, or rainy conditions, but if you want to ride the car on a shallow pool or something similar, then you might have issues with the internal components.
There are models that will be more waterproof than others. For example, truggies, monster trucks, and buggies will tend to feature waterproof components more often than an on-road car, which as the name says, will ideally only be raced on a track without water or moisture.
Waterproof RC cars are a good fit for people who live in snowy or rainy areas. If you want to learn more about them, check below for more info!
Most RC Cars Are Not 100% Waterproof
So like I said above, 99% of RC cars available today have waterproof components, but that doesn’t mean that the car is completely so. Steering servos and some internal parts of the batteries tend to be waterproof, but not other components like the receiver and some external metallic parts of the battery. In general, RC cars will only be able to handle small amounts of water inside or light rain conditions.
When it comes to the engine, only brushed engines will be a 100% waterproof. If you have a brushless motor, then it most likely won’t be able to handle significant amounts of water (submersion) without some damage to the internals. Brushless motors will only be able to handle light rain conditions. If your brushless motor has sensors, then obviously that means that it’s not waterproof at all!
Other parts that are not waterproof include the transmission. As you probably know, the transmission has a bunch of gears that work to transfer the power from the motor to the wheels, and submerging it in a body of water will cause damage to 99% of RC cars. There are a few higher-end models that feature truly waterproof transmissions and watertight bearings, but they are dime a dozen though.
Now, don’t get me wrong, riding your car in light rain conditions is fine, but submerging it in water is what you shouldn’t do. Some cheaper RC cars might also suffer from rusting so that Is another thing to keep in mind.
Most servos will be waterproof like I said above, other components that tend to come waterproof from the factory include the ESC and the car’s tires.
What To Do If Your RC Car Isn’t Waterproof
If your car isn’t water resistant, you could always do some mods to the car so that you can use it without worrying about damaging it. I will be making a complete guide on how to waterproof an RC car in the future, but for now, Here is a small summary on how to do so. Here are the steps:
Familiarize Yourself With Your Car And Know Which Components Are And Aren’t Waterproof.
Obviously, the first thing that you must have in mind is which components are waterproof and which components aren’t. This is something that is going to depend a lot on the price and quality of your car. If you have a cheap (under 250 dollars) car, then most of the components won’t be completely waterproof most likely.
It might be a good idea to check with the manufacturer of your car of choice to know if the ESC, steering servo, the Receiver, the batteries, and the tires are waterproof. If you can’t find any information about those components, then I would just assume that they won’t handle water at all.
Protect The ESC And Receiver With A Balloon.
The ESC and the receiver are the components that most likely won’t be waterproof. To protect these parts from water damage, you are going to need a few balloons, plastidip, a small brush, Cable tie wrap, and screwdrivers.
The first thing you are going to do is disconnect the ESC from the car and stick it into the balloon. The cables should be sticking out of the balloon with the connector obviously outside so that you can connect it to the car.
After that, it’s time for the Plastidip, which is a liquid coating which hardens when applied to a surface or item. This coating will ensure that no water comes inside the balloon. Simply apply the Plastidip into the balloon’s opening. Hold the opening tight for a few minutes until it hardens. After it completely hardens, apply a second coating if you see any small cracks or openings on the balloon’s hole. After this, use the tie wrap to secure the cables.
The same steps apply to the receiver. (NOTE: The fact that the ESC is inside the balloon means that it’s more likely for it to overheat, so it’s important to keep that in mind if you have an RC car with a lot of power)
Cover The Steering Servo With Plastidip
After you are done with the ESC and the receiver, its time to waterproof the servo. The way to do so is by getting Plastidip, and covering several parts of the servo with it. You should be covering the seams, the exit where the cables come out, and the screws. You should NOT cover any metal parts other than the screw (commonly found in more expensive servos to dissipate heat), and you shouldn’t cover the spline either.
If You Have A Brushless Motor, Make Sure It Doesn’t Have Sensors
If you have an RC car with a brushed engine, then you don’t have to do anything with it. Brushed motors tend to be waterproof, so as long as your motor doesn’t have any faults in it, you are going to be fine.
Brushless sensors are a different story though. There are 2 types of brushless motors: sensorless and with sensor. If you have a brushless with sensors, then it is most likely not waterproof and you are going to have to use a different sensorless motor.