For some hobbyists, the thought of packing up and storing RC cars for the colder months is unbearable. Unfortunately, driving your RC car through muddy waters and snow isn’t a great idea without adequately waterproofing the electrical parts. But how do you waterproof an RC car?
Here’s how to waterproof an RC car:
- Use silicone sealant and electrical tape on the batteries.
- Use a party balloon or Plasti Dip to cover the receiver.
- Expose the gears and cover the servo with grease and sealant.
How can you Waterproof your RC Car?
This article will cover exactly how to waterproof your RC car and look into some of the reasons you may need to do so.
1. Use Silicone Sealant and Electrical Tape on the Batteries
Batteries are crucial to the performance of your car. However, just a little exposure to water is enough to damage them for good and leave you counting losses.
If you’re using LiPo batteries, it is advisable to use silicone sealant, more specifically on the seams that join the upper and lower parts of the batteries.
Covering exposed terminals is also highly recommended when waterproofing RC cars, so use electrical tape to cover the exposed areas completely.
After covering the exposed areas with electrical tape, waterproof the battery further by applying a thin layer of liquid tape like this Star Brite Liquid Electrical Tape (available on Amazon.com), which will prevent water from seeping into the inside of the batteries.
NOTE: This specific tape will adhere to almost all surfaces and can even be built up in layers for added protection.
2. Use a Party Balloon or Plasti Dip To Cover the Receiver
The receiver is the brain of the electronic system in your RC car. A little exposure to water will be enough to damage the receiver and consequently affect the functioning of other parts.
Luckily, there are a few proven ways to waterproof the receiver.
The Party Balloon Method
The first (and highly recommended) method is using a thick party balloon to cover it completely. While this method might come off as fairly straightforward, you’ll need to be extra careful to avoid puncturing the balloon when sliding the receiver inside.
TIP: When picking balloons, it's best to choose slightly large balloons that can accommodate the size of your receiver.
It’s best to ensure that all the wires are connected before placing the receiver inside, and afterward, take a generous amount of silicone glue and seal the balloon’s tip, ensuring there’s no space between the wires.
While the silicone glue should be enough to waterproof the receiver, you can take it a notch further and add liquid tape to ensure that no water or moisture leaks in.
The Plasti Dip Method
You can also use high-quality Plasti Dip like the Performix Multi-purpose Plasti Dip to waterproof the receiver. This aerosol rubber coating is easy to apply and can get into nooks and crannies with ease.
That said, this method can prove a bit challenging for first-timers, especially since you’ll need to cover up all the empty slots.
After all of the slots are sealed, dunk the receiver in a can of Plasti Dip and allow it to dry. You can also use liquid tape as an alternative.
3. Expose the Gears and Cover the Servo With Grease and Sealant
To waterproof your servo, you’ll need to remove the outer casing to gain access to the gears.
While some people prefer removing the gears in order to waterproof the entire servo system, it will be a lot easier if you waterproof the servo with the gears in place, especially if you’re a first-timer.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Remove the top part of the servo using a small head screwdriver, ensuring that all the gears are exposed.
- Take a generous amount of grease and apply it on all the surfaces to prevent moisture from reaching the servo’s internal parts.
- After thoroughly greasing the gears, take the screwdriver and return the cover, tightening the screws just as they were before.
- Take your sealer, preferably liquid tape or Plasti Dip, and ensure you carefully apply it on all the seams.
NOTE: When using products like liquid tape and Plasti Dip to waterproof the servo, it is highly advisable to focus on the seams and not on the other parts on the exterior.
What Is the Best Way To Waterproof an RC Car?
The best way to waterproof an RC car is to use electrical tape to cover components like receivers. However, taping alone won’t be a sufficient waterproofing agent. You’ll need to add other products, such as thick balloons and silicone glue, to further seal the surface.
It is possible to buy RC cars that come with waterproof parts. However, there is no guarantee on these, and chances are, you’ll still need to waterproof the car further, especially if you intend to drive it in muddy tracks.
Using a combination of waterproofing methods is the best way to keep your RC car’s internal components safe.
Why You Should Waterproof Your RC Car
While it’s possible to drive your RC car on muddy waters and snowy surfaces without waterproofing, doing so isn’t advisable. This is especially true if you want your car to last.
Below are some of the most common reasons to waterproof your RC car.
Waterproofing Prevents Damage
Water and electric components don’t get along too well. Just a tiny drop of water can damage some components of your RC car, forcing you to make replacements.
However, by waterproofing the electric parts, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of damage, which translates to more time on the race track and less time on the garage table. Not to mention the chance to save some money.
Waterproofing Prolongs the Useful Life of Electronic Components
You’ll be protecting your electronic components from premature tear and wear when you waterproof the RC car before a drive.
And although waterproofing doesn’t guarantee 100% success, it reduces the chances of rusts and short circuits, thus enhancing your car’s durability.
Waterproofing an RC Car Increases Flexibility
RC cars that are adequately waterproofed can be driven on a variety of surfaces, including muddy tracks, beaches, and even snowy pathways.
Therefore, by waterproofing your RC car, you’ll have the peace of mind that your critical components won’t get damaged no matter the race track or bashing location.
What To Do Before and After Driving Your RC Car in Water
Before taking your waterproofed RC car out for a drive in muddy or wet terrain, it’s crucial to observe the following tips:
Grease up Your RC Car Before You Go Out
Even if you’re using an RC car that came waterproofed from the manufacturer, you’ll still need to prep it for potentially harsh weather conditions.
Grease is one way to ensure that all the metallic and electronic components are well protected.
Apply a generous amount of grease on the bearings and other metallic parts, paying close attention to the parts that are likely to come into contact with water. WD-40 Spray will also help provide additional protection to the metal parts in your RC.
Wipe the RC Car After Driving in Water
Waterproofing your RC car doesn’t mean you can leave it neglected after a muddy, snowy, or wet adventure. You should always clean your RC cars after a ride, but especially if you’ve taken them out during poor or wet weather conditions.
Removing the dirt, dust, and mud will help prevent damage to the sensitive components of your car. It is also a lot easier to clean fresh dirt than mud and debris than anything that’s been allowed to dry.
Use a wet cloth to remove mud and dust as well as clean up the excess grease that you applied before going for a drive.
After cleaning your car, it’s best to allow it to dry first before storing it. Place it in a warm area and use an air dryer to remove every drop of water that might have made its way to the internal components.