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Essential Upgrades for Your RC Rock Crawler 

Upgrades for Your RC Rock Crawler

Nothing beats the fun of traversing and conquering one or more obstacles with your RC rock crawler. However, every so often, you have to replace a few broken lights, change the tires, and even repaint your rig. This is not as tedious as it sounds; it’s, quite honestly, incredible. Upgrading your RC rock crawler, whether to increase speed or general performance, is always a good idea. Sometimes, you might have the skills, but your RC rock crawler is holding you back. This write-up is perfect for you! Here are the essential upgrades for your RC rock crawler for better performance:

Modify the Gear Ratio

Do you want to make your rig faster? If so, this is the easiest and most affordable way. Your RC car features two gears: the spur and pinion gears. You can upgrade and modify them to improve your car’s acceleration or maximum speed. 

The pinion gear is directly connected to the motor and is commonly made of titanium, steel, or aluminum. Luckily, you can easily remove them using a hex driver, regardless of size or shape. The speed is based on the number of teeth on the pinion gear; the more teeth, the faster your RC rock crawler drives. 

Keep in mind that I’m talking about speed and not acceleration. 

If you switch the pinion gear, don’t overwhelm your rock crawler by adding too many teeth at once. This is because it will affect and even damage your engine’s temperature. 

Your best approach would be adding one tooth at a time, but if you’re feeling lucky, you can put two, then watch how your RC rock crawler behaves before you can add more. When I say check how your RC car behaves, I mean check the engine temperature and ensure it’s not overheating.

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Now, for those who want improved acceleration, switch to a smaller pinion gear. Also, make sure it has fewer teeth than the previous one. This combination will boost your car’s acceleration rate and won’t affect your RC rock crawler’s temperature. 

Regarding the spur gear, if you don’t know it, it is the much larger and less sturdy plastic gear usually turned by the pinion gear. 

Once you modify it, it will deliver either fast acceleration or increased top speed. Nonetheless, you will find that this change won’t be as effective as switching the pinion gear. 

All the same, when you switch to a smaller spur gear, it will increase your RC rock crawler’s top speed but, at the same time, compromise acceleration. Similarly, picking a larger spur gear will get quick acceleration and reduced top speed. 

My advice is to change both gears for the best results. 

Get Better Tires 

By now, this should be obvious; bad tires, terrible driving experience. It would be best to ensure you choose tires perfect for the terrain you drive. This is because the wrong set of tires will slow you down, which is not a good experience, especially in competitions. 

Here are your options depending on the terrain:

  • If you are driving on tarmac or similar roads, the best tires would be slick ones. 
  • Tires with full spikes are the perfect companion for muddy or grass-filled terrain. 
  • Mini-pin tires are ideal for driving on the carpet, while mini-spikes are more suitable for general terrain. 

Something else that’s important is the quality of the tires. Make sure you purchase top-quality options, as anything less will deliver poor traction, compromise longevity, and give you many issues you don’t want to deal with. 

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Besides, with such poor-quality options, you will end up spending more money replacing them, so it’s best to choose the premium option to ensure quality and peace of mind. 

Something else worth noting is that these tires also initiate corners better than the poor-quality options. This reduces your RC rock crawler’s susceptibility to rolling over after initiating a corner too fast. Additionally, this saves your maintenance funds, which will come in handy in buying more upgrade parts. 

I recommend choosing bigger tires. This is because they have a larger diameter. Therefore, they can cover considerable ground per turn, increasing your maximum speed. However, remember larger tires are weighty, so maintaining balance is imperative. 


This one is a must to upgrade. A brushed motor would be sufficient for beginners who are still learning the ropes. However, for better performance and speed, the more experienced driver will benefit more from a brushless motor. 

A brushless motor is an excellent decision for those looking for higher speed. These motors offer incredible efficiency, leading to higher speed and more power. 

Again, this motor has close to no energy lost via friction. Therefore, your RC rock crawler can move faster with increased power. 

Unfortunately, this is not the case with their brushed counterparts. The brushes turn electricity to motion, and a part of this energy is lost via friction. 

With a brushless motor, you get high speed and more power for your rock crawler. Nonetheless, this upgrade might make driving your RC rock crawler challenging, but you will get used to it over time. 

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My last recommendation is that you switch your RC rock crawler batteries. If you have NiMH batteries, consider investing in LiPo batteries. This will give your RC rock crawler more runtime and also help increase your rock crawler’s speed. Besides, LiPo batteries are more powerful and lighter. 

Due to this surge in power, you will get improved acceleration and a high top speed. However, LiPo batteries are not all sunshine and rainbows. Specifically, they wear out at a faster rate than their NiMH counterparts and are pricier. 

Typically, LiPo batteries need a specific charger and more maintenance, but the speed and power boosts beat the cons for some drivers. 

In Conclusion 

This is the part where I remind you that all these upgrades are unimportant and less worthwhile if your skills aren’t up to speed. Most of the recommendations here give your RC rock crawler more power, speed, and some less balance. For this reason, you must improve your skills to exploit all these benefits to the fullest. 

Drive on different terrain, register for competitions, and socialize on the necessary rock crawler platforms to learn more about this sport. Understanding your RC rock crawler and practicing as often as possible will help you know how to handle yourself and your car whenever you’re driving it. 

But don’t forget to have fun! 

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