Preparing Your Slot Car For A Race
Slot cars come off the production line with the best setting and performance according to its capacity. This is not to say though that you, as the driver, can’t add some changes to the original product to optimize its performance.
Most cars won’t perform their best when raced straight out of the box. They are just not competitive enough for racing against other cars that have received some modifications. Fine-tuning is very much needed to shake off the mass production settings of the car.
The original braids of slot cars are often too small for good performance. A little push to keep them apart will do the trick of allowing them closer contact to the rail. For better performance, exchange the original braids with softer ones to reduce friction and enhance electrical conductivity. Always do routine maintenance to the braids to keep them free of dirt.
Rims and Tires
Slot cars are molded from plastic and as such, are likely to have burrs in some areas which could affect the performance of the car. Remove all burrs as much as possible. Remove, especially, the burrs on each wheel and polish the rim to make it completely round.
To do this, remove each wheel and give the rim a more round profile. Put back the wheels and run the car on sandpaper for a few seconds. This process, called ‘truing the tires’, should polish the entire circumference of each wheel. For further polishing, you can soak the wheels with oil to soften the rubber.
Clean the tires. Use light fuel to rub the entire with a clean sheet to remove dirt. You can do this for routine maintenance and every after race to keep the tires free from dirt.
Some people glue the tires to the rim to prevent these from spinning. You can do this if you don’t want the axles of your car’s wheels to move during the race.
Routine maintenance is a key component of keeping the car’s performance at its best. After each race, cars get dirty. This is especially true if you are racing on simulated rally courses that use either cocoa powder or flour to substitute for dirt or snow.
Check the entire car for dirt, especially the interior or chassis. Check the chassis for dust and dirt and wipe these out.
Serious attention should be given to the car’s motor. Needless to say, the motor should always be clean and well maintained.
Prior to the race, most racers make it a habit to warm up the motor before putting the car on the track. This should take more or less a few hours to complete. When doing this, be sure to gradually increase the voltage to ensure that the car gets the power it needs to perform well.
To prevent wear and tear, most racers attach the motor to the chassis permanently. Do this by either gluing the motor to the chassis or by taping it.
Just like real racecars, the chassis of any slot car should be optimized for performance. Sanding the sides of the car as well as loosening the screws will do the trick.