RC Cars Glossary

Are you new to the thrilling world of RC cars?

If that’s the case, you might come across unfamiliar terms and jargon that can feel a bit overwhelming initially.

But fret not! In this RC Car Glossary, we’ll unravel technical terms commonly used in RC vehicles to assist you in navigating the realm of remote control cars with confidence.

1/5 Scale RC Cars

1/5 scale RC cars are even larger, around one-fifth the size of the real vehicle. These RC cars are usually massive and have a high level of detail, making them popular among serious collectors and enthusiasts.

1/8 Scale RC Cars

1/8 scale RC cars are larger than 1/10 scale models, being approximately one-eighth the size of the real vehicle. They are often used for off-road racing due to their larger size and increased durability.

1/10 Scale RC Cars

1/10 scale RC cars are approximately one-tenth the size of the actual vehicle they are modeled after. They are one of the most common scales and are popular for both on-road and off-road RC racing.

1/24 Scale RC Cars

1/24 scale RC cars are smaller in size, around one-twenty-fourth the size of the actual vehicle. They are generally used for indoor racing or as collectibles due to their compact size.

1/28 Scale RC cars

1/28 scale RC cars are among the smallest RC cars available, being approximately one-twenty-eighth the size of the real vehicle. They are often used for indoor racing or as beginner-friendly models due to their small size and low cost.


In the context of RC vehicles, 2WD (2-wheel drive) refers to a configuration where power is transmitted to only two vehicle wheels. This means that either the front two wheels or the rear two wheels are responsible for providing traction and propelling the vehicle forward.

Unlike 4WD (4-wheel drive) or AWD (all-wheel drive) RC vehicles, which can distribute power to all four wheels for improved traction and stability, 2WD RC vehicles may have slightly less traction and handling capabilities. However, they are often lighter, simpler, and more agile, making them suitable for certain types of RC racing or specific driving conditions.

2.4 GHz

2.4 GHz is a radio frequency commonly used by the transmitter and receiver of RC vehicles for long-range communication. Modern 2.4 GHz radio systems are designed to be explicitly programmed for a particular RC car, ensuring that they do not cause any interference with other RC cars nearby.

Alternating Current (AC)

Alternating Current (AC) refers to an electrical current that undergoes periodic reversals in direction.

Typically generated by generators, AC power is commonly supplied through standard household wall outlets. An AC charger is a type of charger designed to be plugged into the wall for charging purposes.

Approach Angle

Approach angle is a measurement, in degrees, that determines the steepness of an incline an off-road vehicle can ascend without the bumper getting hit.

A greater approach angle enhances a vehicle’s ability to navigate obstacles like curbs or rocks, making it more capable in off-road conditions.

After-Run Oil

After running your nitro engine, it is advisable to take out the glow plug and add a few drops of After-Run oil into both the cylinder and the carburetor throat. That’s exactly what it sounds like.


In RC jargon, the body refers to the slender, typically polycarbonate, transparent plastic component that envelops the car and defines its shape. On many vehicles, particularly touring cars and certain others, these bodies can be effortlessly swapped, enabling users to switch from a street truck body to a sedan body, for instance. They are also commonly referred to as shells or lids.

Body Clip

The body clip is a pin or clip utilized to secure the polycarbonate shell or body of a radio control vehicle to its chassis.

Blinky Mode

Blinky mode is a setting or mode commonly found in electronic speed controllers (ESCs) used in RC racing. In this mode, the ESC is configured to turn off any additional motor timing features, such as boost or turbo.

Blinky mode ensures that all participants in the race compete on an equal footing without any artificial timing advancements that could give certain racers an unfair advantage. The motor operates solely based on its default timing settings rather than any additional enhancements, promoting fair competition and skill-based racing.

Brush Motors

Brushed motors utilize small copper “brushes” to transmit electrical power to the motor’s central armature. When electricity is supplied, it generates a magnetic force that rotates the motor’s central shaft. Brushed motors are affordable and have a straightforward design, but it’s important to note that the brushes will gradually wear out over time.

Brushless Motors

The brushless motor incorporates a robust magnet on its central shaft, propelled by the magnetic force produced within the surrounding can. Not having a physical “brush” to experience wear and tear, brushless motors offer enhanced efficiency, increased power, and virtually maintenance-free operation.


The brushless-ready vehicle is designed with extra durability to withstand the increased forces produced by brushless power systems. This implies that you can easily upgrade from a brushed power system to the more potent Velineon® brushless power system without any need for additional expenses to reinforce the vehicle.


The carburetor, commonly seen on nitro vehicles, is a mechanism that blends nitro fuel and air to produce a combustible mixture within the engine. It is adjustable and needs occasional tuning to maintain the engine’s peak performance.


The capacity of a battery refers to its ability to store energy, which is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). It can be compared to the size of a gas tank in a traditional car. A higher mAh value indicates that an electric vehicle can run for a longer duration.

Clutch Bell

The clutch bell connects to the crankshaft of a nitro engine and engages with the spur gear, serving a similar purpose as a pinion gear in an electric motor.

Modifying the tooth count on the clutch bell affects the performance of the vehicle. A lower number of teeth generates greater low-end torque, while a higher number of teeth enhances top-end speed.

Clutch Shoes

The clutch shoes, typically crafted from aluminum or a composite material, are connected to the engine flywheel. As the RPM increases, these shoes expand to effectively activate the clutch bell. Consequently, the clutch bell engages the spur gear, facilitating the movement of the vehicle.


A “clunk” is a weighted fuel pick-up that is utilized in a fuel tank to ensure that the intake line remains submerged in the fuel at all times.


A compact interchangeable component in radio systems is responsible for determining the operating frequency of the radio. Both the transmitter and the receiver contain a crystal.


A differential, also known as a “diff,” is a component that transfers power from the input shaft to the output shaft in a vehicle. It enables the outer wheel of the vehicle to rotate faster and cover a greater distance than the inner wheel when making a turn.


Discharge refers to the act of depleting the stored energy of a battery, which can be achieved by operating a vehicle or connecting the battery pack to a discharge device.


DMSS is an abbreviation for Dual Modulation Spread Spectrum, which refers to a 2.4GHz radio system that selects one or two of the available “free” frequencies and exclusively transmits on the chosen ones. Similar to FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) systems, DMSS exhibits resistance to electrical noise.


DSSS stands for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, which involves applying digital sequence modulation to the carrier frequency. When observed on a spectrum analyzer, DSSS appears as noise-like signals. It is the recommended modulation technique utilized by FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) for data transmission.

Dog Bone

The dogbone is a shaft that is employed to transmit power from a transmission outdrive to the drive axle. Its appearance is akin to that of a dog’s bone due to the presence of roll pins at each end.

Double Wishbone

Double wishbone refers to a suspension design that incorporates two wishbone arms positioned parallel to both the ground and each other. One wishbone arm serves as the main suspension arm, while the other acts as the upper arm. This particular configuration aids in preserving a consistent tire camber even when the suspension undergoes compression.


In automotive terms, the “draft” refers to the region immediately behind a car where the airflow is disrupted, and wind is minimal. Vehicles positioned in the draft experience increased speed compared to the leading car, as they can leverage the absence of wind resistance without expending power to combat it. Essentially, the power generated is solely dedicated to propelling the vehicle forward.

Drag Link

In a bellcrank steering system, there are two posts linked together by a bar. This bar, commonly known as the drag link, is also sometimes referred to as the Ackerman link.

Dual Rates

Dual rates are a feature in transmitters that allow users to adjust the sensitivity or responsiveness of their control inputs. By using the dual rate switch, operators can choose between different levels of control throw, effectively regulating how much a vehicle’s control surfaces or functions respond to their input.

This feature is especially useful for beginners who may prefer lower sensitivity to prevent over-controlling or making abrupt maneuvers until they gain more experience and confidence in their piloting skills.


Dyno, short for dynamometer, is a device employed to assess and compare the performance of electric or nitro engines. It measures various factors, including RPM, torque, horsepower (HP), efficiency, power, and amp draw.


The flywheel, positioned behind the clutch bell, is a larger metal wheel that assists the engine’s crankshaft by providing momentum and aiding in idling. Opting for a heavier flywheel enhances torque and promotes a smoother idle, while a lighter flywheel enhances top speed and throttle response.

In non-pull start models, the flywheel also indicates the method of starting the engine using a bump starter or a starter box.

Foam Inserts

Foam inserts are used within tires to help maintain their shape. Various densities of foam inserts are available for different track surfaces.


A glitch, also called radio interference, describes a brief interruption in signal transmission. While external factors like overhead power lines can cause occasional glitches, persistent and frequent glitching is typically attributed to internal issues within the vehicle itself. For instance, it may be caused by metal-to-metal rubbing, often encountered with control linkages.


The header is an aluminum exhaust coupling that connects to the engine’s exhaust port. Typically, a muffler or tuned pipe is attached to this curved section of aluminum tubing.


A description is used to illustrate the engine’s condition when it is receiving insufficient fuel in relation to the amount of air. This results in excessive heat generation and, if left unaddressed, can lead to potential engine harm.


LiPo, short for lithium polymer, refers to rechargeable battery packs that boast unique chemistry, enabling them to achieve remarkably high energy density and current capacity within a compact form factor. These advanced batteries demand specific precautions and handling, making them suitable primarily for experienced users.

Load Up

A term used to depict a tire that is entirely filled with dirt, accumulating around the lugs or spikes. This commonly occurs on wet tracks featuring loose dirt.

Low CG

A vehicle with a low center of gravity (CG) enhances handling by concentrating its weight closer to the ground, thereby reducing the risk of rollovers.


A nut that utilizes a nylon insert to securely “lock” the screw in place.

Low-Speed Needle

The low-speed needle, located on the carburetor of a nitro-powered engine, is an adjustable component responsible for controlling the air/fuel mixture during low-throttle usage.

Low-Voltage Detection

If the voltage of LiPo batteries decreases excessively, it can lead to permanent damage.

To prevent this, Traxxas LiPo-compatible speed controls include a low-voltage detection feature that consistently monitors the battery’s voltage. When the voltage falls below the safe limit, the speed control automatically reduces power by 50% and alerts the user to recharge. This protective function needs to be manually activated by the user. The speed control indicator light will turn green when the low-voltage feature is active.


A component affixed to the engine’s exhaust outlet is designed to diminish noise and enhance back pressure, thereby enhancing low-speed performance.

Muffler Baffle

A plate within the muffler acts as a sound reducer, diminishing engine noise. Removing this plate can enhance power output but will result in increased engine noise!


NiCd stands for Nickel-Cadmium, which refers to rechargeable batteries employed to power RC transmitters and receivers.


Nitro fuel, distinct from gasoline, is a mixture of nitromethane, alcohol, and lubricating oil that provides explosive power for nitro engines.

Off Road Car

Offroad cars, including buggies and trucks, are immensely popular when it comes to land vehicles. These vehicles are equipped with full-travel suspensions and boast high ground clearance, allowing them to conquer various types of rough terrains. With their knobby rubber tires, they can navigate and conquer any dirt terrain effortlessly. Offroad cars are available in nitro and electric versions and come in various scales to suit different preferences. Whether racing on a dirt track or enjoying a day at the park, these offroad vehicles guarantee an exhilarating and enjoyable experience.

On Road Car

On-road RC cars may not feature the robust suspension of their offroad counterparts, but they make up for it with their strikingly authentic appearances and incredible speed. Designed for high-performance racing on smooth, paved surfaces, these cars are available in nitro and electric variations, offering enthusiasts a diverse range of options across various scales. Whether you’re captivated by their realistic aesthetics or enticed by their sheer velocity, on-road RC cars are built to deliver exhilarating racing experiences on the tarmac.

Parallel (battery)

A parallel battery is a configuration where multiple batteries are connected in a parallel circuit. This setup allows the batteries to work together, combining their capacities and maintaining the same voltage output. This parallel connection increases the overall capacity and runtime of the battery setup.

Pinion Gear

The pinion gear is mounted on the motor shaft and is responsible for rotating the larger spur gear. There are various sizes of pinion and spur gears available, offering options to optimize the motor’s power for either speed or torque purposes.


Pitch in terms of gears refers to the size and spacing of the gear teeth. In metric measurements, this is referred to as a “module.” Gear pitch is determined by the number of teeth per inch of gear diameter. For example, a 32-pitch gear with 64 teeth would have a diameter of 2 inches. It is important to always pair gears that have the same pitch.

Pit Box

A pit box is a designated area or container to store and organize equipment, tools, spare parts, and supplies during races or practice sessions. It serves as a central hub where pit crews can access and maintain the necessary items to support the RC car’s performance and make any necessary repairs or adjustments during pit stops.


Pre-load refers to the use of spacers that are placed on the shock body above the spring in order to raise the ride height of a vehicle. These spacers, commonly included in the accessory bag of Traxxas vehicles, are designed to adjust and fine-tune the suspension system.

RC Cars Scales

The term “scale” here refers to the size comparison between the RC car and its real-world counterpart. For instance, a 1:10 scale RC car would be 1/10th the size of the actual car it’s modeled after.

So, if you’ve got a 1:18 scale model of a Ferrari, that means your model is 18 times smaller than a real Ferrari. Just like a smaller version of the real deal!

The scale can affect how the RC car handles. Larger-scale cars are typically more stable and can handle rougher terrain. Smaller-scale cars are great for indoor use or in smaller spaces.

Tweak Station

The RC car tweak station is a tool or device RC car enthusiasts use to fine-tune and adjust various aspects of their RC car’s performance. It allows for precise adjustments of suspension, ride height, camber, toe-in, and other settings to optimize the handling and performance of the RC car on different tracks or terrains. The tweak station typically consists of adjustable arms, gauges, and levels to ensure accurate measurements and adjustments.

Zip Tie

A zip tie is a term often used to describe plastic cable wraps due to the sound they make when tightened, resembling a “zipping” noise. A well-equipped pit box will always include various sizes of zip ties hidden among hex wrenches and used glow plugs.

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