Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Quick Troubleshooting Secrets for Your RC Car or Truck

What is broken? You’re just driving along and suddenly your RC car or truck stops. And there’s that other all-time favorite, “It was working the last time I put it away.” Tracking down what is really causing the problem can be a nightmare in itself. It’s time for Troubleshooting Secrets for Your RC Car!

Many problems are straightforward. For instance, your throttle operation stops or your steering stops. Those are usually simple to troubleshoot, but experienced troubleshooters cover these basics before getting too crazy with buying replacements.


Servo stoppage is typically related to the servo being damaged directly; it could be gear damage or a burned up servo motor. However, other factors can also make the servo quit so it never hurts to cover your basics.

The simplest way is to plug in a second servo to make sure the ESC or receiver battery pack is still giving the receiver enough juice to power the servo. Make sure it keeps working after that in case there is something malfunctioning in the power system to the receiver, whether it’s the ESC, BEC or the receiver battery in a nitro vehicle.

Often, high power servos can overload a BEC or receiver battery and cause the servo to stop working when the servo itself is perfectly fine. Many gremlin haunted users have installed a brand new servo only to have the mystery servo stoppage return on the very next run. This is usually tied directly to a lack of voltage in the ESC’s internal BEC.



When the motor system quits, it isalways a challenge to know if it was the motor or the ESC. The simplest test is usually installing a second motor and doing some basic bench testing.

The same principles apply here. The testing should be over a brief period of time and under some basic loads to ensure it is actually fixing the problem. The same testing can be done with a second ESC as well.



These are the times when good old fashioned brick and mortar hobby shops can be true heroes of the RC world. Many have basic testing gear, spare motors, ESCs, servos and the like so customers can do basic troubleshooting and purchase the correct replacement.

If you have a local shop, ask if this is an option. It’s amazing how helpful local hobby shops can be and really, who doesn’t need an excuse to go to the hobby shop, right?

Your RC buddies can be very helpful as well. Most have spare gear just for these reasons!


In some situations, everything is dead. Either the lights are on and nobody is home or the vehicle is completely non responsive. Most start with the radio system in those cases and the first place you should focus is the wiring.

Look closely at the wires that run from the ESC, or RX battery, into the RX itself. These wires are where your RX and servo get their power. Damage results in everything not working.



Next up is the receiver itself. One channel of a receiver can die on its own, causing either the steering or the throttle to work when the other refuses to operate. Test with a second receiver or better yet, another radio system. In a pinch, simply plugging your throttle and steering into another vehicle’s RX and doing basic bench testing will get the job done.



On/off switches can go bad as well. They feel fine on the outside, but internally there is no switch action happening. Bypassing the switch by connecting the two wires will rule that out. You can remove the case from the switch and make electrical contact between the terminals without cutting the wires. If the switch is bad, you can simply connect the switch leads for an always on situation.

Long term, this should be fixed. It is not healthy for the system to see the sudden jolt of incoming power with the switch on. The on/off switch in RC electronics is a crucial part of the system and should be used if originally installed. Equally, the switch is rarely cutting power completely; it simply puts the electronics to sleep.

If you are not actively driving your vehicle, it should always be unplugged. Never transport your RC vehicle plugged in or store it plugged in.


By  Charlie Suangka


*Notice: Some of our articles, videos and descriptions may contain affiliate links or coupon codes, which means that if you click on or use one of the product links/ codes, we may receive a small commission. This helps support the website and social media channels and allows us to continue to produce content. Thank you for the support!


  1. I didn’t see this as an example, but my problem is the steering servo and the ESC are jittery. first thing I thought was to replace the batteries. the radio is only about a month old, and I would hate to buy another and still have the same problem.

    please help!

  2. Question, RC takes off without touching the control just propels at full speed in forward any suggestions?

  3. hi, I hope you can help me. you see my son have monster jam RC and only the right back and forth can you help? Thanks.

  4. hi, I hope you can help me. you see my son have monster jam RC and when i turn the truck on alone without moving the control, the tires on the right as well the front and the rear tires spin on in one direction

    • When I turn flip the switch to “on” on my hpi savage 25 it doesn’t do what it normally does where the wheels straighten up it just does nothing when i flip the switch and the batteries are good because they are fresh out of the box and I cleaned all of the connections is it time to buy a new receiver and transmitter because I dunno what to do at this point.

  5. my rc car recently stopped working, and i need help. So my rc car turns on and a light blinks, i connect the transmitter and receiver and the light goes away, and both steering and throttle are unresponsive.

  6. the remote light keeps blinking all of a sudden.

  7. hi I have extreme matching dual motor monster 4×4 from radio shack
    was working fine, but today the car don’t go forward only backward what you think can be?

  8. Hi there I have a problem I’m looking for help with please. I have this Remote control car And Suddenly it stops working after about a week of it being fine. It switches on ok but there is just no acceleration in the car at all.

  9. my throttle and steering wheel controls the motor, any help

  10. Hello, I have an interesting problem with my RC. I drives with good power, turns well, but shuts off within a few minutes. I thought this was a heat issue (and still may be). I ran the car without the body on but, when the truck shut off, none of the components seemed to be very warm. Can you let me know how to trouble shoot this?

  11. my rc car recently stopped working, and i need help. So my rc car turns on and a light blinks, i connect the transmitter and receiver and the light goes away, and both steering and throttle are unresponsive.

  12. When I lightly pull the trigger to go forward my rc buggy will reverse at full speed and then I let off and pull the trigger again it will drive forward for a bit and then want to go in reverse again, and suggestions? Just got it yesterday to make into a crawler wants to test it first and see how she drove but this is what I have been dealing with. It is just a cheap rc but everywhere else says they have never had a problem with it. 1:12 scale hbx protector/transit 4×4 buggy

  13. Have power to the car left steer only if I turn right I have full throttle throttle control does not work by finger trigger not sure what happened the servo got wet you know it was sealed some water got in it looking for suggestions

  14. if you lose hold down pins for body i use paper clips plus they easy to put on also does any one know where to find round battery to fit in chager for bezdar 1/10rc truck battery is a 18650 kan 1500mAH 3.7 v cb

Leave a Reply