Any RC car enthusiast knows the hassle of replacing the tires when their threads get eaten away after some time, and you’ll want to replace and interchange the RC tires instead of getting new ones. The hassle comes in ungluing the beams, which can either further destroy the tire or give you a perfectly working alternative. So, what’s the best method in remove RC tires from rims?
To remove RC tires from rims, you can use a hair dryer, use your oven to bake them, boil them, or put them in an acetone-filled bucket. If you’re in a hurry and want a quick solution, go with the baking option, but it can smell. For the most effective method and won’t damage your tires, use acetone.
Want to know how each method works? Read on!
Use a Hair Dryer To Remove RC Tires
Using a hair dryer is the simplest way of removing RC tires from rims. All you have to do is heat the tires using the dryer at its max setting.
Make sure to heat the beams and around them. This weakens both the rim and the tire beams, enabling you to remove the tires easily. It should take about 5-7 minutes of heating. But it depends on how hot and powerful the hair dryer is and how strong the RC tires were glued to the rim.
Since the RC tires will be hot, make sure to use a glove or towel when you twist and turn the tires to remove them from the rim.
If removing the tires still feels difficult, continue using the dryer until the tires are soft enough to remove both from the rim and the insert foam.
This method takes a lot of patience and persistence because you’ll have to handle each RC tire separately with typically only one dryer.
You’ll also notice minor residue left on the rim. But this shouldn’t be a problem because you can remove them by using sandpaper like the 3M aluminium oxide sandpaper (available on Amazon.com), which is great for any DIY project, to make it smooth and dry. And yes, there will be very little damage to the tire, if any!
Remove RC Tires by Baking
You can always unglue RC tires by using your oven to heat them. The rubber and rim’s plastic materials will be heated, thus weakening their bonds and making it easier to separate the two.
The process is quite simple, which is as follows:
- Set the oven at 350°F (176.67°C) and let it heat.
- As you wait, look for a flat wooden surface (perhaps a chopping board) and cover it with foil.
- Once the oven is heated, place the tire on the foil and place it inside the oven.
- Wait for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the tire from the oven, and use a towel or gloves to remove the RC tires from the rim.
- Grab 100-grit sandpaper to get rid of scratches and make the rim look good.
NOTE: You'll notice the damage on the tires isn't that much, but the beams will seem slightly bulged out. Don't worry, though. When it cools down, it'll go back to its original shape.
If there’s one thing you won’t be able to avoid with the baking method, it’s the smell. It can really stink up your house, so be careful not to use it while your kids are around.
In case you need a visual demo, here’s a video on how to remove a tire using baking method:
Remove RC Tires by Boiling
The boiling water will have the tires hot and weakened at the beams for you to easily unglue the rubber from the rims.
The process is also simple, but I don’t recommend this method because it leaves the tires in pretty bad shape. It works, though!
Here’s how you can remove RC tires from the rims by boiling:
- Find an old ceramic or metal pot and fill it with water. Place it on your burner and turn it on.
- Insert the tire, while the water isn’t boiling hot yet. Since the tire will be buoyant, give it a few squeezes to make it sink, and then leave it there.
- Once the water starts to boil, set a five-minute timer.
- Use a tong to turn the tire, so the other side boils too. Set the timer to three minutes or so.
- Remove the tire from the water and place it on a towel.
- Use the towel to carefully separate the rubber beam from the rim. (NOTE: The first attempt to squeeze the tire will have water squirting from the tire, so be careful because the water might still be a bit hot.)
- Once there’s no more water coming from the tire, continue removing the rims and the insert foam from the tire.
Unfortunately, you should know that this method isn’t effective enough, and it should only be your last resort.
Use Acetone To Remove RC Tires
The best and most recommended method of ungluing RC tires to separate the rims is using acetone. However, you’ll need to arm yourself with certain materials for safety precautions.
Get safety glasses and rubber gloves. Using towels for this method won’t give you enough protection. And use rubber gloves instead of latex ones because though they may work, the acetone will start to eat the material away after a time, which can get on your hands.
Now that we’ve gone through the safety measures, let’s get started with the process.
- Get a 1-gallon (3.8-liter) paint bucket. You can either buy new ones from a local store or clean up an old paint bucket. Or, simply use the pot you used to boil the water in the previous method.
- Fill the bucket with acetone, making sure it’s about half full.
- Put the tires into the bucket of acetone.
- Put the bucket’s lid on and tightly close it using a mallet, such as this Coleman Rubber Mallet from Amazon.com.
- Leave the tires for about 12 hours.
- Come back, open the lid, and flip the tires, then close again. Leave it for another 12 hours. That’s a total of 24 hours. You can increase this period to about two days in total, which means you’ll come back after another day to flip over the tires again.
- Once the 24 hours have passed, put on your safety glasses and gloves. Open the lid, remove the tires, and place them on a table.
- Remove the tires from the rim.
KEEP IN MIND: Compared to other methods, acetone takes very long to separate the tires. However, it’s the best method if you don’t want any damage to the tires.
The acetone method doesn’t leave a residue like baking or using a hairdryer. The tires come off very quickly, and both the rubber and the rim are pretty much separated.
The only caveat with the acetone method is that some tires don’t like acetone, and you may still end up damaging the tires. You’ll still be able to use the wheel, but the tire will be kind of stretchy and destroyed.
The same thing applies to the insert foam. Most tires for ready-to-run RC cars have nice, open, and squishy insert foams, making them fine to use acetone. However, lots of other tires, especially the closed-cell style (which are meant for racing), may not do well with the acetone method.
Nonetheless, acetone is a much better way of removing RC tires than the other alternatives – boiling, baking, or using your hair dryer.
Here’s a video of how to remove a tire using acetone:
Things To Note When Using Acetone
- The 1-gallon (3.8-liter) bucket is a better option than a pot because you can leave the acetone in it for storage for the next time you’ll need it. But you have to remember to completely tighten the lid using a mallet.
- When tightening the lid with the tires inside, it’s best to throw a rag over the bucket before hammering the lid. This will prevent the acetone from splashing on your face.
- Also, get a flathead screwdriver for opening the paint bucket. If you don’t have one, you can get this Jetech Screwdriver from Amazon.com.
- The number of tires to fit in the acetone-filled bucket depends on their sizes. Normal-sized RC tires can fit about 3 of them. But, if you’re using larger tires, you’ll need to reevaluate the 1-gallon (3.8-liter) bucket situation and get a larger alternative.
- The amount of time required to leave the tires inside the acetone-filled bucket depends on the type of tires. Some will detach faster depending on the glue used at the factory. Still, the longer you wait, the better. If you’re not in a hurry with the tires, you can wait the entire weekend, and when you come back, the tires will peel off right away.
- What if you forget to flip the tires over? Don’t worry because the steam of the acetone will loosen the tires’ beams.
- While using acetone helps retain the tires in good condition, you have to be cautious of its effects on some wheels. Remember that plastic rims may be affected by acetone. Therefore, watch out for different brands of tires. The likes of Traxxas Tires and Proline Tires (both available on Amazon.com) are okay, but the Tamiya RC tires may dissolve.
Why Is Acetone Recommended?
There are reasons why using acetone is the most preferred method for removing RC tires from rims.
Even though it takes very long to achieve its purpose, using acetone leaves the tires clean and with no residue, so there’s no need to clean up afterward.
If you’re a racing enthusiast looking to improve on balancing RC tires, then acetone should be your go-to technique. It enhances the car’s handling and translates to faster lap times and a much better bashing experience.