Just because it’s cold, wet, snowy, icy and sometimes just miserable weather doesn’t stop the majority of Axial drivers from getting their RC drive on. All of those conditions can translate to a lot of fun, cool photos and great stories to talk to your trail buddies about. But after your four-wheeling trek across the frozen tundra of your backyard or weather beaten nearby park, you need to give your machine a little TLC in order for it to continue to run at optimum performance. Here we’ll go over the key areas to focus on to check and maintain.
WHAT TO AVOID
Before we dip into the checks and techniques to maintaining your machine, there is one running situation we’d suggest you avoid when running your car in snowy conditions. This harmful situation for your machine is running in an area where salts and chemicals have been used to melt the snow. Sure a slushy parking lot four-wheel drive donut session sounds fun, but the salts or other ice melting chemicals mixed in with that slush can accelerate the corrosion of metal parts and even eat away at some finished plastics. Try to stay away from the tempting slush slides and if you do push the limits and put your rig through a salt bath, be certain to follow the cleaning and maintenance steps we’re about to outline.
MIND YOUR METALS
There is one thing to remember when running in any type of wet conditions, water goes anywhere it wants. So when running in water, your hardware, screws, nuts, pins, bearings, shafts, any metals are subject to getting wet and rusting or corroding. Each and every metal on your car should be inspected and addressed if necessary in order to prevent a problem.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A WET RIG
One of the first things many suggest to do to an RC car that is covered in water is to immediately spray as many metal parts and hardware as possible with WD-40 to combat any corrosion that is immediately setting in. Although WD-40 is known as a rust inhibitor, it should not be your only mode of defence. If possible, you should also blow your rig off with air, blow every last little area on the machine, an air compressor with some decent pressure would be the best here, but smaller blowers or in the worst case, a hair dryer would work too.
KEY COMPONENTS TO ADDRESS
Hardware- Screws, nuts, pins, screw pins and so on are obvious. However you can live it a little rust on these, there won’t be any performance or wear issue if most of these are not treated. The few items to watch though are the screws and sleeves in caster blocks. Rust here may cause issues later. Axle shafts are another area. Rust can build up and often make it difficult to remove from support bearings.
Universals- If your rig is equipped with universal driveshafts in the front axles, do yourself a favor and keep them dry and lube them or WD-40 them after wet use. It is even a good idea to pick the rig up and give the vehicle some throttle while blowing off the components or spraying them with a rust inhibitor to get water out and get the inhibitor into the moving parts. Water sitting in there will cause rust later. Your universal joints in your rigs center shafts should get the same treatment.
Bearings- Getting water out of your bearings is no easy task. If you submerge your rig, water will get in the bearings. Do your best to blow out the bearings with air, blast them with an cleaning spray like a motor spray and then with WD-40. Picking your vehicle up off the ground and running your driveline to help expel water is a good idea too. Once you feel you’ve done your best to get the water out, use a micro oiler to re-oil the bearings.
Gears- Depending on the gears you use, metal or aluminum, are subject to problems caused by water. Use a paper towel or any of the previously mentioned methods to dry them off and then be sure to coat them with a generous amount of grease for extra protection.
Yes, this blog is about your driveline, but we want you to know everything…
Electronics- Just because your electronics are weather-proof, water-resistant and whatever doesn’t mean you should put them away wet. It’s always a good practice to dry them off with towels or compressed air just as a extra precautionary measure to make certain nothing happens to these expensive components.
Tire foams- If your tires are vented and you’ve run in water, you need to do your best to get the water out. If you are running beadlocks, it would be best to pull your rims apart, take the foam out and dry them off by compressing them in dry towels. If your tries have been glued to the rims, try squeezing as much water out as possible and place the tire in a warm place to allow water to evaporate. If the hole in the tire can be place down, do so so water can drain out of the tire.
Batteries- If your battery gets wet, take the time to shake out any water and blow off water with compressed air. Always use caution when handling batteries.
IS IT WORTH IT
No doubt driving in wintry wet weather is fun, but proper maintenance afterward is time consuming. If you’re the type that loves maintenance or doesn’t mind the work after the occasional slush splash, then go for it, have fun. The worst case is, you may need to replace your bearings with a new set from Axial or a trusted bearing supplier like Team Fast Eddy Bearings. If rusty screws are not your thing, you can take a look at aftermarket screw sets like those from Team KNK. Keep an eye on those driveshafts and gears, they are a more costly item to replace. Take the time to maintain your rig and it will last you a long time, no matter what type of environment you run it in.