Slot Car Maintenance – Some Things You Should Not Miss
You can’t expect to win every race if your slot car is not in its best condition. Like real race cars, slot cars require routine check-up and maintenance to ensure that they are always running at the their best performance every time you put them on the track.
Carrying out routine maintenance on slot cars should be very easy. This is especially true if you are handling the larger scale sizes 1:24 and 1:32 which don’t have hard to reach very small parts, unlike with HO scale models and other scales in between.
Critical to performing car maintenance is knowing the model of your car. Although the basic components of slot cars are pretty much the same, there are some minor variations with each model. Before you open your own, check out model information first so you can be sure that you are not doing anything wrong with your car. If, for any reason, there is a need to replace a part, you should check available parts for that particular in online stores and hobby shops near you.
If you don’t wish to open your car yourself, it is advisable that you have a professional do it for. If, however, you prefer to do it on your own, you should take note of the first step to opening up a model – removing a few screws to separate the shell from the chassis. After opening the model, you should inspect the following:
Braids, or brushes as other drivers call them, are the wires connected to the side of the track that send power to the motor. Although these are generally for keeping the slot car powered and running, they are also very important to keep the car attached to the grooves on the track. Worn out braids won’t do that. Worse, they won’t guarantee that your car receives the power it needs.
It is, thus, very important to replace worn out braids with new ones regularly. To do this, simply pull off the braids and replace them. New slot car sets often come with extra braids. If you’ve run out of these, you can always buy them in packs of 4 in slot car or hobby shops.
If your car creates strange noise while running, you have problems with the gears. The best solution is often to replace the worn gears with new ones.
Motors, no matter how excellently built they are, do not last forever. After long hours of racing, your motor should be replaced. A good sign that your motor needs replacement is when problems with speed and performance start to crop up.
Your car’s tires should be replaced whenever necessary as well. Bad tires affect performance. Often cars with bad tires often perform slower than those with perfectly good tires. Also, these tend to fly off of the racetrack as they no longer have the grip suitable for racing.
Replacing parts is not the only thing you should do during routine maintenance. Cleaning the entire car should also be part of the process. Usually, cars collect fluff, dirt and other components on the ground. To prevent these from affecting your car’s performance, it is best to remove them regularly or after each race. You need not open the entire model every time though. You can simply scrape off the dirt or fluff using a small tool like a screwdriver or a pair of tweezers.
If, however, you wish to remove the fluff or dirt that has collected in the chassis of the car, you can unscrew the car and separate the chassis from the shell. This should allow you access to the gears which usually collect fibers, hairs and dirt.