It is official; nitro racing season is here! For many, it is time to bring out their nitro cars and trucks from winter hibernation. It seems strange, but over the months of sitting around, things start to go bad in many areas of your car. Before your fire-up your nitro vehicle for the first time this season, there are a number of things to check and maintain first. Simply starting your car after months of sitting around can be catastrophic.
Do a good cleaning
Sure a “responsible” person meticulously cleans their car before going into storage, but most of people don’t. Start by using compressed air and blowing-off as much of the chassis and engine components as possible. Wash the wheels and tires if necessary, and wipe off any areas caked with dirt, fuel or road grime.
Check the batteries
Inspect the batteries for any signs bulging or leakage. If they are damaged, replace them immediately. Even if you are using Li-Po’s, you still need to check and recharge your receiver pack and transmitter batteries as well. And if you are using NiMH batteries, you may need to “shock” and recycle the charge.
Tighten important screws
With the excessive vibration of nitro RC engines, screws rattle themselves loose very easily. Before running your car this season, go through the entire chassis and check for loose screws—especially where metal-to-metal contact occurs. If you find loose screws in these areas, you may need to reapply new thread-lock.
Replace the glow plug
Depending on how you stored your engine, you should consider replacing the glow plug off the bat. If any oil or nitro settled onto the coil, it may have oxidized over the winter, throwing-off the engine tune or making starting and idling difficult and finicky.
Clean the air filter
Unless you did it at the end of last season, thoroughly clean and re-oil the air filter. If any part of the filter element is damaged or flattened, replace it immediately. Breathing dirty air can harm your engine and effect performance. Finally, make sure to use new zip-ties when attaching the assembly onto the carb neck.
Replace the fuel filter
If you use a fuel filter, replace it before the beginning of the new season. The filter can hamper engine performance if it is clogged, and if any particles get through, the engine can become damaged internally. Most people overlook the fuel filter, which is actually there to prevent problems, not create them.
Empty the fuel tank
Most people have enough commons sense to see this coming, but if there is any fuel left in the tank from last season, empty it out before you add new fuel. Old fuel separates and degrades over time, and you don’t want to cycle that kind of sludge through the engine to start off the New Year.
Check the fuel lines
Rubber and silicon can dry rot over time, so it is important to inspect all of your fuel and air lines. Look for any breakage, splitting or holes. Usually, it is easiest to simply replace all of the lines are the beginning of the season. Just remember to cut them to similar lengths for tuning purposes.
When you are bringing-out your vehicle for the first time this season, don’t simply fill the tank and hit the dirt. It is important to fully-inspect your car, because storage can wreck havoc in most areas of your car’s operation. It is hard to believe that your car can break by just sitting there, but it kind of does!