In the RC car world, there are 2 different types of cars. These are electric and nitro cars. Unlike electric models, nitro cars use actual fuel to move forward. This fuel has between 10% and 40% of nitromethane. Now, I’m sure that you might be wondering: Which nitro fuel percentage is best for you? As you probably know already, there are significant differences between 10% and 40% nitro, so if you want to know which percentage nitro fuel you should be getting, read below!
And the short answer is that the best nitro fuel percentage is between 15% and 25%. However, this will also depend a lot on which RC car you have. Different models will ask for different nitro fuels. A 1/5 scale car with a bigger engine will generally only use 25% fuel and up, which RC car with smaller displacement motors will work well with less than that.
Usually, the manual that comes with RC cars will specify which specific fuel is best for the car. But if you aren’t sure what to use, just buy a 20% quart bottle. You most likely won’t have issues with your motor. To know more about differences between nitro fuels, check below.
Differences Between Nitro Fuel Percentages
So not all nitro fuels are created equal. The main difference is the nitromethane percentage inside the mix. This can be between 10% and 40% depending on the fuel. Generally, the more nitromethane on the mix, the more powerful the fuel is.
Nitro fuel with a high nitro percentage will also burn faster than fuel with a lower percentage. So not only is the higher percentage fuel more expensive, but you also burn it up more quickly!
Nitro fuel with a higher percentage also tends to be a little bit more harmful to the motor. Nitro fuel also has methane, oils, and other additives included in the mix, which helps cool and protects the engine from combustion inside. Since these oils aren’t as plentiful on high-powered nitro fuel, the engine tends to suffer slightly with these types of fuels.
When it comes to 10% and 15% nitro fuel, they aren’t as powerful as fuel with bigger percentages, but they tend to be cheaper though. If you tend to use RC cars daily like me, then you are going to be buying nitro fuel bottles very frequently, and so to avoid making a hole in your wallet, buying 10% or 15% might be the only option.
Nitro fuel with a lower percentage tends to be much easier to find. If you aren’t buying your fuel online, then you probably know what I’m talking about. There’s always the chance of hobby shops not carrying high percentage nitro fuel at all, which means that 15% or 10% might be your only option.
Can Lower % Nitro Fuel Damage An Engine?
Lower % nitro fuel might damage your motor only if the motor in question specifically asks for high % nitro fuel. It might be wise to check your car’s manual to see if this is the case. Also, if your motor is running too lean, then there’s also the chance of damaging the motor. If you are going to change from high % fuel to a lower %, then you are also going to have to adjust the carb. running a motor with high displacement too lean with a lower % nitro fuel is a recipe for disaster.
How To Do Your Own RC Nitro Fuel
If you are tired of buying premade nitro fuel, then let me tell you that there’s an alternative: making your own fuel. mixing your own fuel is perfect for those enthusiasts who use their cars every day and need a bigger supply of nitro than normal. In the future, I will be making a comprehensive guide on how to do your own nitro fuel mix, but in the meanwhile, here is a simplified process of how to so.
- Get All The Supplies Necessary: First of all, you are going have to buy a gallon of nitromethane, 3 gallons of methane, a quart of Klotz 2-stroke oil, and a small bottle of castor oil. It’s also wise to get measuring cups, a spare gallon, and a funnel. You can buy all of this on the internet.
- Start Mixing The Ingredients: Mix a quart of nitromethane with 2 quarts of methane, then add a quart of Klotz oil mixed with the castor oil. If you are using a gallon jug to mix, it should be almost completely full. After this, very gently shake the jug for a minute.
- Try The Fuel On The Car: After mixing, you should be ready. Simply refill your car and start it. Making your own fuel can save you a lot of money over the long term, which is why I recommend doing so for anybody that rides often.
Can You Use Diesel Or Petrol Instead Of Nitro In An RC Car?
So this is a very common question in the RC car world, and while I would personally love to use diesel to save on fuel costs, the reality is that no, you can’t use diesel or petrol in your typical RC car motor. If you would like to know more about why check this post out.
But to do a quick summary of what I said on that article, the reason is that diesel is way too energy dense for the typical motor found on a nitro car. The internal materials used on a nitro motor are much more flimsy than the materials found in a diesel engine found on a truck. The energy release might be sufficient enough to dent or even break the motor’s insides.
But that’s only if the diesel ignites in the first place. It’s more likely than not that the motor won’t be able to burn the fuel in the first place. This is because the glow plugs found in the typical RC car motor do not provide as much heat as needed to ignite the diesel. The RC car motor might not be strong enough to compress the diesel either so…
And if your car miraculously manages to ignite the diesel without breaking, then the engine misfiring is a possibility. This could happen because of several reasons, including running too rich or too lean, and fuel viscosity, among other things.
To know more about why diesel is likely to destroy your car’s motor, click here.