Can Any Controller Be Used On Any RC Car?

Your RC controller is lost, and you are thinking about using another controller. Right? Or maybe, you are just curious to know if RC controllers are interchangeable or not. So, let’s see, can you use any controller on any RC car?

As a general rule, any controller can be used on any RC car, provided they have the same frequency and controls. If the RC car has a different frequency than the controller, then the frequency of both can be tuned to be the same, or a new controller can be bought that matches the frequency of the RC car.

Can Any Controller Be Used On Any RC Car?
My Traxxas Slash and its RC controller

Read on to learn whether RC transmitters and receivers are universal or not, how to match the frequency of both RC controllers and the RC car, plus answers to some related questions.

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Are RC Receivers And Transmitters Universal?

Before we answer this question, let’s start from the basics to understand the concepts better.

Remote-controlled cars are also called radio-controlled cars. To be precise, cars that you control from a remote location are termed remote-controlled cars. And cars that you control remotely using radio waves are called radio-controlled cars.

However, usually, both of these terms are nowadays used in a similar sense and refer to the same thing. So, you can consider the remote-controlled cars to be radio-controlled cars.

  • Now, in every RC car, there is a radio system that receives radio signals sent by the remote control to give the movement directions to the RC car. 
  • Remember that transmitter is just another way of saying the controller.
  • The radio system contains the receiver
  • And the primary function of the receiver is to translate the signals into commands that can be forwarded to hardwired components where the orders get executed by mechanical or electrical processes.

So now the question comes whether the RC receiver and transmitter are universal or not. (Means can you use any RC car transmitter with any RC receiver?)

The answer to that question is yes; you can use the RC transmitter and RC receiver interchangeably. However, the essential condition is that both should be at the same frequency.

If you are thinking about using a different RC controller with your RC car, then as a first choice, you can go to your local hobby shop if possible. 

If you have a local hobby shop nearby and if your RC car is one of the latest models, then there’s a chance you will get a replacement remote in one of those shops. Or, you can also try and look for the remote controllers compatible with your RC car model in an online store.

If your RC car model is new, then you probably have to buy only the transmitter and then tune it to your RC car’s frequency accordingly. 

However, if your RC car is an older model, finding a replacement remote controller is not that easy, then it is such a case you might even have to buy both the receiver and the transmitter.

Related Post: Can Any Motor Be Used In Any RC Car?

At hobby shops, you will get some good advice on how to set things so that they become compatible with each other.

But, if you can’t visit a hobby shop, don’t worry. There is a way to tune up the frequencies of both the RC controller and the RC car to be the same. Let’s go ahead and take a look!

How To Match The Frequency of RC Controller And RC Car?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to match the frequency of RC controller to an RC car:

  1. Remove all the screws of the RC car and detach all the outer covering components so that you can get hold of the inner parts. 
  2. Also, remove all the screws of the circuit board so you can do specific procedures as we are about to mention.
  3. Also, remove all the screws of the RC car remote control and take out the outer coverings.
  4. On the circuit board of the RC remote controller, you will find a variable transformer that determines the frequency.
  5. Take a screwdriver of appropriate size, push it inside that transformer slot and turn it almost a complete rotation.
  6. Now, look at the RC car board. There you will find a transformer slot.
  7. So take a screwdriver, push it inside the transformer slot and start rotating it. One important thing to remember while rotating it is to also have either of the buttons on your remote control pressed. This way, whenever your frequency matches up, you will immediately know.

Check out my article: RC Car Remote Control Not Working? Here’s What To Do

So that’s how you can match the frequency of the RC car and the remote controller. I know all the steps mentioned above might be confusing to read for the first time. So here’s a video that shows how to match the frequency of the RC car and the controller.

Can An RC Car Be Controlled With A Phone?

Yes, some newer RC cars are made with built-in capabilities to be compatible with your phone. But, if you have a back-dated RC car model, then it is highly likely that you will have to make modifications to control it with your smartphone.

Does your RC car support Bluetooth? If so, then there’s a good chance you can download an app on your phone and control the RC car.

Moreover, suppose your RC car already supports the capability of being controlled by the phone by default. In that case, you can also check for that information on the package description or the product description online.

Related post: Can WIFI Interfere With An RC Car? 

However, once you can make sure that your RC car doesn’t support the phone control functionality, then the only option that remains with you is to modify your RC car.

Here’s a video you can watch to learn how to DIY a smartphone-controlled RC car:

Have you ever wondered about the range of RC cars? Then I encourage you to read my article about how far an RC car can go.

Can A Drone Transmitter Or RC Plane Transmitter Be Used To Control An RC Car?

In general, you can use either the drone transmitter or the RC plane transmitter to control an RC car. However, you will have to do some setup and technical things to ensure the transmitter is compatible with your RC car.

If you are a beginner in this hobby and don’t want to deal with all the technicalities, you shouldn’t choose this route. But if you are curious, you can give it a try as a fun project.

I didn’t find many resources to use a drone transmitter to control an RC car. However, I did find a video that shows how to control an RC car using an Airplane transmitter:


In short, you can either buy a new remote control that has the same frequency and controls compatible with your RC car. Or you will have to set up the things and make the RC controller and the car at the same frequency. That’s it! I hope you found this article helpful.

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Last update on 2024-03-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Paul Good

This awesome hobby has something for everyone, whether you like to build your RC from scratch and keep modifying till you've got it to just how you want it, to track racing. You might be out with a boat, or perfecting your skills with a plane. Are you taking some cool pics with your drone? I'm sure my site will help you on your journey.

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