Everybody’s Scalin’ – Getting the Most of Your RTR Tires
As Christmas approaches, there is a good chance that a number of you may wind up with a fancy new scaler under your tree. There’s an even better chance that it will be of the RTR variety. And if that is indeed the case, it probably has some bunk tires.
Tires are usually the most important thing on any r/c vehicle, but a set of really bad ones can render a crawler completely useless. The average r/c vehicle can still drive around and be fun to wheel with substandard rubber, but in the case of something like a scaler, what good is your truck if it just sits next to an obstacle and spins the tires in futility? This is made even worse by cold winter weather.
The easiest recommendation to make here is to just grab a new set of tires/wheels from someone like Pro-Line, but I get that that isn’t in the cards for a lot of folks. After purchasing or receiving that new truck, there isn’t another $100 lying around to immediately spend on it. I get it. Luckily there are a couple things you can do to make the best out of the situation.
Deep Clean Your Tires and Soak Them in Simple Green
The best thing you can do to “wake up” a set of RTR compound crawling tires is give them a deep clean with soap and water. Many times the tires have mold residue or release still on them from the creation process. Giving them a good scrub will instantly make them better.
You will then want to get a bottle of Simple Green cleaner and saturate the tires. Let them sit over night (some people keep them in Ziplock bags, I do not) and by morning you should have tires that are drastically softened up versus how they are when you opened the package. You can repeat this process as often as you’d like to keep your grip at a maximum.
The above process is a good idea even if you do go the aftermarket route, by the way.
Sipe or Cut Your Lugs
A more drastic approach is to start cutting your tires to have a more aggressive pattern. If you take a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel to notch out the big lugs on a tire it will in turn make them smaller and more flexible. This really helps a harder compound to grab the rocks.
A more extreme thing to do is start cutting certain parts of tread completely out creating a more open pattern. The cleanest way to do this is use a pair of snips to cut out the majority of tire you want removed, then use a dremel for clean-up.
By using one or both of the methods above hopefully you can get some life out of those RTR tires. Just remember though, a quality set of soft compound performance scaling tires NEEDS to be your top upgrade priority. A crawler with no grip is about as much fun as an airplane that has no lift.
Merry Christmas to all and may Santa bring you the rig you’ve been asking for!