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What to Look for When Buying a Used RC Car?

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Get a new RC car instead (For beginners)

Never buy a used RC car because you don’t know what the owner did to it. You don’t know if they maintained it properly, or had bashed carelessly and violently. You don’t know how many things may be broken on it or may need to be replaced; some screws on crucial spots might be stripped. Thus, it’s always good for someone who is new to RC to buy a new car.

The following content is for someone who is an experienced RC hobbyist, and looking forward to buying a used RC car.

However, if you prefer watching a YouTube video over reading, you can click here. 

To check if an RC car is abused, you can take a look at the back of the chassis.  Take a look at the picture included in this post.

Having option parts are an important issue

I usually make a list of upgrades that I want them on a particular RC car. I go and look for a used car that has those upgrades on it. For example, if I knew that I wanted carbon-fiber shock towers or aluminum shocks, I would look for a car that has those upgrades on it.

The important thing I always remember when buying a used RC car is that the value of the RC car will drop. Just because a car has a lot of upgrades on it or shiny aluminum parts. it doesn’t mean that it will be worth more than the kit was when it was new.  Thus, do not overpay for an RC car with option parts on it.

Do not buy the car for just its shiny metal parts

Paying too much attention on the shiny parts is a bad idea unless you have to have them, unless it’s something so rare you know that you’ll never be able to find it again, that’s the only reason I would look at shiny parts.

Check carefully if those aluminum parts are bent after a serious crash.

Electronics system can be valuable than the car itself

I definitely look for extra things like if it has a nice radio system, if it has nice a charger, if it comes with nice servos. Electronics are definitely worth more; they don’t deteriorate in value as much as a kit itself does because they don’t wear out as fast an RC car does. Usually, all electronics are inside the chassis and well protected by the body. They are something that you will use for months, if nor for years. They are not something that will wear out in six months and then you will have to replace them very often.

Do remember to smell the electronic system to see if it is burnt up.  Just keep all of five senses open when you inspect a used RC car.

Check if the RC car is clean and well maintained

You want to look at the RC car to see if it’s well maintained if it’s clean. You want to look at all the crevices, at the hinge pin areas, and the in-between parts and pieces of the car to make sure it’s clean. If it’s clean it’s usually well-maintained. Do not forget that you have to look at the parts make sure they’re not worn out but definitely a clean car.

Listen to the gear running sound

You need to listen to the gear running sounds before you pay for an RC car. You need to decide if the car is running smoothly. If it is not, there might be stripped gears inside the box. Fixing it can be costly and troublesome.

For nitro driven RC cars

Buying a Nitro RC car usually is problematic no matter what the person says about his car.

You can’t go back and see what they did to his car. You can’t see how they tuned it, you can’t see how they broke it in so unless you knew the person personally and had actually seen what they did with the motor I would steer away from nitro motors because you most likely will have to replace them

Do not buy an RC car for its beautiful body

Do not buy a car because of the nice shell or body or Lexan paint job that it has.  This is just a piece of thin plastic.  You should look at the car itself because you can always paint one of these.   it’s cost five to ten dollars to paint a body.  You can learn how to paint a Lexan body here.

Only in case you cannot paint it yourself or it is a very beautiful Tamiya carb body with a professional paint job, you should give extra consideration to it.

Instead, you should look at the parts again you want to make sure things are not worn ou;t you want to look at how clean it is how maintained it is and that’s a few of the tips that I use when I look at a used RC car and I want to buy it.

After reading this post, if you have any more suggestions or question about buying a used RC car, please post this in my forum.  Thanks.


Written by Carlos Santos


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