Ball bearings take a lot of abuse in our RC cars. They spin up to outrageous RPMs, get caked with dirt, and eventually rust and seize up if not attended to.
It is extremely important to make sure your bearings stay free and well oiled. A seized axle bearing will put a lot more stress on your motor and speed control, which can lead to a big dent in your wallet.
How often should you clean your bearings?
If you were running your car or truck through water, I would recommend cleaning them at the end of the day with some WD-40 so they don’t rust. If bearings don’t get covered with dirt and or water, cleaning can be as simple as wiping them down with a rag. When a bearing gets gritty, thoroughly flush it out with motors spray until it smoothes out, then add a few drops of bearing oil to get them quiet and spinning free.
When should I replace my bearings?
Follow the cleaning steps above. If your bearings don’t free up or get smooth again, it’s time to replace them. Axle bearings tend to wear out pretty quick. Nitro clutch bearings take a lot of abuse and should be replaced often as well.
Are cheap bearings sourced online good to use?
Absolutely. OEM bearings would be my first choice since you know you are getting the right size and they are usually affordable for most platforms. I have purchased bearings from auction sites in the past. They have worked just fine and saved me a few bucks.
Are ceramic bearings really better than steel?
For the most part, yes, ceramic is better. Ceramic will not rust, is more heat resistant, should wear slower, and is lighter than steel. You should not have to replace these as much, but be sure to still maintain them and keep them well oiled.