Whether you’re replacing your old worn-out tires with fresh ones or just replacing one damaged tire, there are a number of methods you can use to get the job done. I have compiled a list of six tried and tested techniques from most common to the more frowned upon.
I’ll explain how to carry out the procedures and also layout the pros and cons of each method. Here are the 6 ways to remove RC tires that I will cover:
- Heat gun.
- Goo Gone.
- Brake cleaner.
All of these different methods have their own pros and cons to deal with but some have fewer cons than others. The option you go with will depend on what type of tires you have and how many tires you need to remove.
In some cases, you won’t be able to get all of the glue off the rims and that’s where some chemicals or sandpaper are going to help clean things up. If you don’t plan to save the tires for re-use, cut them off before any of these methods. But before I get ahead of myself here, let’s go through all of these RC tire removal techniques individually.
Check out this post: Can you Reglue RC Tires?
Make sure to wear heat resistant gloves when working with anything hot.
Also, wear rubber gloves when working with any of the chemicals mentioned in this article to protect your hands from getting badly dried out.
When you’re pulling at your tires to remove them, don’t force it too much or you’ll tear them. Rather heat them up some more or add more chemicals to dissolve the glue better.
- How To Remove RC Tires With Acetone
Using acetone to remove the tires and glue from RC wheels must be the most popular method. Most high-quality rims aren’t going to dissolve in acetone, only the tires will get very soft. Don’t try this with cheap plastic RC wheels though as they will dissolve. If you can, store the container in a cool room so that it doesn’t expand and pop open due to acetone fume build-up.
What you’ll need:
- A container with an airtight sealing lid.
- Scissors if you plan to cut most of the tire off.
- Gloves for your hands to avoid the acetone.
- Glass jar to keep the tires above the acetone or to push them down into the acetone.
Using acetone fumes
- Find a container that can seal with a lid.
- If you don’t need the old tires, cut them off with scissors leaving only the glued pieces behind. The acetone will take care of the glued pieces.
- Put your rubber gloves on so that the acetone doesn’t dry out your hands.
- Pour the acetone into the container anywhere from 20 to 50% full leaving empty space to fit the tires in the top half.
- Now it’s time to put the tires inside without touching the acetone. You can achieve this by placing a couple of glass jars in the bottom inside the acetone and then stacking your RC wheels on top of those glass jars.
- Once your tires are placed on top of the glass jars, seal the container with the lid tightly and leave it for 24 to 48 hours to work.
- Wash your gloves off with soap and water.
- After the waiting time has passed, put your gloves on, open the container, and take out the wheels. The tire material and any glue should be soft enough to rub off easily.
This method allows you to re-use the acetone time and again without getting it dirty, it also lasts longer because your tires aren’t soaking it up.
Submerging into the acetone
Submerging your tires in the acetone will save you some waiting time but you’ll still need to leave them to soak for at least 12 hours before you can easily strip the rubber off. The process is the same as the above except you submerge the wheels into the acetone and put the glass jar on top of the tires to keep them submerged rather than under them to keep them up.
Check out this post for more on RC tires: How to Make RC Tires More Grippy
- Using only the fumes to soften the tires prevents your acetone from getting dirty and you can reuse it many times as long as you keep it sealed up tightly in its container or it will evaporate.
- You won’t get burnt using this method as you don’t need to heat up the tires.
- In terms of hands-on attention, this method is quick and easy, around 10 to 15 minutes to prep the tires and seal them up in the container and another 15 minutes for cleaning the rims off the next day.
- If you have an RC that’s built with cheap plastic materials, your rims might melt. Although most well-known brands of RCs use higher quality plastic so you more than likely won’t need to worry about that.
- If you wanted to get your tires off to reuse again, this isn’t a great method of doing so because the acetone will break down the compounds in your tires and dry them out. You could soak them in WD-40 overnight to get the grip back but it might not be worth the effort.
- It takes many hours for the acetone to break down the tires and glue so if you wanted to get your new wheels on today, you’re out of luck.
- Acetone will eat any chrome on your rims.
You can see a wide selection of Acetone products on Amazon by clicking here.
- How To Remove RC Tires By Baking
Heating up the RC tires to the point where they’re soft and flexible enough to pull off is another popular method that many people prefer to use. Here’s the baking method of removing tires from rims.
What you’ll need:
- An oven to heat the wheels in.
- Heat resistant gloves for handling the hot tires.
- A baking tray to bake the tires on.
- 1000 grit sandpaper to clean up the remaining glue.
- Preheat your oven to 300°F. (150°C)
- Switch the oven off and place all the tires inside on a baking tray. If you forget to switch the oven off before putting the wheels in, you might melt them.
- To avoid any hot rubber smell in the house, wrap foil around the baking tray and open it up outside once it’s heated up.
- After 10 minutes, check the tires while using heat resistant gloves to see if the rubber will pull off yet. If it’s not soft enough, leave them in the oven for another 5 minutes before checking again. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to heat them up enough for you to pull the tires off.
- Once you’ve pulled the tires off, you might notice a little glue and rubber still stuck to the rims. You can remove it with 1000 grit sandpaper for quick results.
- You can heat up multiple tires at once without much effort.
- The whole process can be completed within 1 hour.
- This method might leave a bit of a hot rubber smell in the house especially if you don’t wrap the tray with foil.
- How To Remove RC Tires By Boiling Them
This method will take around 1 to 2 hours at most to complete. 1 Hour to get the tires soft enough to remove and another hour for tire removal and rim clean up.
What you’ll need:
- A big pot to boil the tires in.
- Heat resistant gloves to protect your hands.
- Tongs to remove the tires from the boiling water.
- A towel to work on.
- 1000 grit sandpaper to clean up any leftover glue.
- Put enough water into your pot leaving space for your wheels.
- Bring the water to the boiling point.
- Put the wheels into the water and let it boil for 15 minutes.
- Turn the wheels over and let them boil for another 15 minutes.
- Using tongs, take one tire out and place it on your towel. (The towel will help control the water that will come out of the wheels)
- With your heat resistant gloves on, feel if the tires are soft enough to remove from the rims. NB: Be careful of the hot water that will squish out of the foam.
- If they aren’t soft enough yet, leave them to boil for another 15 minutes and check again. It shouldn’t take more than 1 hour to boil the tires soft.
- Once they’ve softened up enough to remove from the rim, remove any leftover glue and bits of the tire with 1000 grit sandpaper.
- The whole process takes 1 to 2 hours so you can have your new tires fitted on the same day.
- More often than not, you’ll be able to reuse your tires as well if they aren’t already damaged.
- You have to use heat resistant gloves as the water-soaked inside the wheel will burn you even if you use a towel to handle them.
- How To Remove RC Tires With A Heat Gun
Some people prefer this method because you can get everything done in the garage. It’s an easy method that doesn’t require any liquids and you can use a thick towel to handle the hot wheels while you pull them off if you don’t have heat resistant gloves. This is a good method for if you only need to replace one tire.
Related Post: How To Break In RC Crawler Tires
What you’ll need:
- A heat gun to heat the tires up.
- Heat resistant gloves or a thick towel to protect your hands.
- 1000 grit sandpaper to clean up any remaining glue.
- Place the first wheel onto your workbench.
- Use the heat gun to heat up the part of the wheel where the tire and rim connect.
- Move your heat gun in a circular motion around the wheel heating it up evenly.
- The amount of time it will take to heat up sufficiently will depend on your heat gun settings and the thickness of the tires.
- Feel the tires out after around 3 minutes using heat resistant gloves or a thick towel to see if you can peel them off yet.
- If they’re still sticking tightly to the rims, heat for another 2 to 3 minutes and check again.
- Once they’re soft enough to remove from the rims, pull them off and clear up any sticky remains with 1000 grit sandpaper.
What about a hairdryer?
A hairdryer can work but it will take a lot longer to heat up the tires and therefore take a long time to get the job done. Double your heating times and check the tires every 6 minutes or so.
- You can substitute heat resistant gloves with a thick towel to handle the hot wheels.
- You don’t stink up the house.
- You don’t get trays, buckets, or pots dirty.
- It’s a quick method for replacing a single tire.
- You need to heat the tires up one at a time which can add up to a lot of “hands-on time” spent busy with it if you’re working with four tires.
The “Genesis” Heat gun on Amazon comes highly recommended.
- How To Remove RC Tires With Goo Gone
Un-curing your RC tire glue with Goo Gone can usually be achieved with a little time and patience.
What you’ll need:
- Goo Gone.
- Pull the tires away from the rims while applying some Goo Gone where the tire and rim connects.
- Let the Goo Gone soak a bit into the wheel for around 5 minutes.
- Pull the tire away from the rim again and add some more Goo Gone.
- Wait another 5 minutes.
- Once the one side is loose you can apply the Goo Gone to the other side of the tire and repeat the process.
- If your tires aren’t too tightly glued on, this method should be quick and easy.
- If your tires are glued on very tightly, this method could leave you struggling for hours.
Check Goo Gone’s price here on Amazon.
- How To Remove RC Tires With Brake Cleaner
This one is pretty much the same as the Goo Gone process except that it’s a bit easier to apply the cleaner to the wheels if you use a spout.
What you’ll need:
- Brake cleaner
- Place your wheels down on your workstation and put the spout on the nozzle of the brake cleaner.
- Spray the wheels where the tire and rim meet.
- Allow it to soak for a few minutes.
- Check the tires to see how far they can pull away from the rims.
- Spray more brake cleaner inside the wheels between the tire and rim and let it soak again. Repeat the process until it’s loose on one side and then repeat for the other side.
- This method doesn’t take too much time or effort unless your tires are very tightly glued on.
- Brake cleaner will eat any chrome on your rims.
- Cheap plastic will also be ruined with brake cleaner.
You can see a large selection of brake cleaner products on Amazon by clicking here.
All these methods will work as long as you have the patience to follow the steps carefully and not try to rush things and land up tearing your tires. It all depends on which method you prefer considering the pros and cons laid out in this article.
If you don’t care about saving the tires, cut them off with sharp scissors so that there’s less rubber to remove. You’ll save a lot of time doing this.
If you don’t want to work in the house, use the acetone, heat gun, hairdryer, or brake fluid method.
If you need the tires off in the quickest way possible, use the heat gun method. If you can wait 24 to 48 hours, use the acetone fumes method.
Using the ways that heat up the tires will be your best bet if you want to re-use the tires after removal as chemicals will dry the tires out and possibly deteriorate them too much.
If you’re only replacing one damaged tire, don’t bother using the baking, boiling, or acetone methods, rather just use a heat gun if you have one.