Is Your RC Car Faster In Reverse? This Might Be Why.

It’s a nice weekend, and you’re outdoors pursuing your RC racing hobby. You miss a turn and go off the track. You reverse back to the track and notice that your car is faster in reverse. You wonder how can this be?

The following is a list of the probable issues that can cause your RC car to go faster in reverse:

  • Electric motor failure.
  • Motor timing issues.
  • Controller malfunction.
  • Improperly programmed throttle range.
  • Low battery charge.
  • Inverse connection of the wires from the motor to the ESC.

Most issues that cause this are mostly mechanical. Failure of some electrical components also causes a high reversing speed. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at these issues and their solutions so you will be back to shredding the track ASAP.

Electric Motor Failure.

If your RC car is electrically powered, it uses either a brushed motor or a brushless motor. High-end electric RC cars tend to be fitted with brushless motors and electronic speed controllers (which control the throttle). They last much longer, are more powerful and have no expiry date. Brushed motors are cheaper, have a lower life span and are less powerful than brushless motors.

Related post: Why your RC Car is Going Slow All of A Sudden

If your RC car has a brushed motor, there are chances that a short-circuit might have damaged you ESC (electronic speed controller), making it produce more power while turning in reverse. 

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Motor Timing Issues. 

Motor timing issues are a known cause of higher speeds while reversing. RC cars running Tekin motors are the most common models to suffer these issues. 

Controller Malfunction. 

After repeated use, some controllers like the Traxxas 2.4GHz TQI develop an issue with a reversed throttle.

Mishandled remote controllers/transmitters develop problems with the programming (menu and Set) buttons after suffering multiple drops on hard surfaces. Loose connections that develop on the soldered components cause the rotation direction to change randomly. 

The whole system is designed to get the RC car to go slower in reverse than forward. An inversion of the rotation direction will now cause the RC car to go faster in reverse and slower while moving forward. 

Related article: RC Car Remote Control Not Working? Here’s What To Do

Improperly Programmed Throttle Range. 

If your throttle range is not well programmed, it might transmit the wrong information about the stick position to the Electronic speed controller.

Improper programming affects full throttle, neutral and full brakes. Not only can this make the RC go slower when in forward motion, but it can also cause the car to run while in neutral, give only a fraction of the intended power, and cause brake application issues (no brakes and not enough brake pressure). 

Related post: Why your RC Car Won’t Go in Reverse and How to Fix it

Low Battery Charge. 

In some cases, trivial problems such as having a low charge in your batteries can cause this effect. The prevalence of this mostly depends on the battery type, capacity, and manufacturer. 

Inverse Connection of your Leads(Wires) 

For brushless motors, running faster in reverse is caused by improperly connecting the 3 wires that run from the motor to the ESC. Wires from the ESC are color codded, while those from the motor all tend to be black. If interchanged, the signal sent to the motor that controls the speed and direction of motion changes. 

Does this Affect Nitro-Powered RC Cars? 

Since very few Nitro-powered RC cars have a reversing feature, having the RC car go faster in reverse than in forward motion is very unlikely. On the off chance that it occurs, this could be because of your throttle direction being inverted.

Tried and Tested Solutions 

Replacing your Brushed Motor with a Brushless One 

Considering we already know brushless motors are more efficient, upgrading is a great solution.

Not only will your motor now last longer, but there will also be less chance of a malfunction. The brushless motor is sealed completely, making sure no fluids or dust enter and interfere with its rotation. Due to their robust build, few RC car enthusiasts ever complain about brushless motors being faster in reverse. 

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You can also see a selection of brushless motors here at Walmart

Programming your Throttle Range 

Throttle range Programming is quite straightforward, and multiple video tutorials exist on the matter.

It involves first making sure your radio system is properly paired up and then turning on your transmitter.

Hold down the program button on the ESC (this is either a black or red button depending on your type), then switch on the ESC while still holding down the program button. Release the buttons as soon as you see a steady flashing red light. The light indicates you have entered the throttle range programming mode. 

Leave the throttle stick in neutral, then press the program button once. A single beep and a green flash of light will indicate that the neutral has been set. Pull the stick to full throttle and press the program button once. Two light flashes and 2 beeps will show that the full-throttle has been set.

Related post: Top 7 Reasons RC Car Steers But Won’t Move (& What To Do)

To set the full brake, push the stick completely forward, and press the program button once. 3 green light flashes and 3 beeps will indicate that full brake has been set. 

Lift your RC car’s wheels off the ground and test if all 3 settings work as expected. Throttle programming should be done whenever you replace parts of your model. The process is easy. Don’t you think so? 

Testing your Motor with a Servo Tester 

Maybe wear and tear have damaged your motor, and you can’t tell the damage using visual inspection. Then it’s time to connect your motor and battery pack to either a multi servo tester or the normal servo tester. Connect the servo tester as instructed by the manufacturer and check the rotation. If the results are not up to par, then my friend, it’s time to replace the motor.

This servo tester by “HJ” comes highly recommended.

Changing the Timing 

For motors with 2 wires like the Tekin 35T, adjusting this is fairly simple and only requires a small screwdriver. First, take out the motor and loosen the two screws that hold together the stator and rotor. You’ll notice that there are markings that indicate the centered position. When centered, the reverse speed will match the forward motion speed. 

Rotating the stator clockwise in relation to the motor has an effect of increasing the reverse speed while reducing the speed for forward motion.

To remedy this, turn the stator in a clockwise direction, making sure the markings are off-set and not centered. It will now make the motor run faster in the forward direction and slower in the reverse direction. You should keep adjusting and testing the speeds until you find your preferred sweet-spot. 

Other models come with inbuilt software that allows you to change the timing without making the adjustments on the physical motor manually. 

Related post: Why Your RC Car Is Stuck In Reverse And How To Fix It

Throttle Reversing on your Transmitter 

Depending on your model, the process might vary. First, make sure that both transmitter and receiver are both switched on and properly paired. You should then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the later. Most transmitters have a reverse switch on the transmitter, which changes the rotation direction as soon as the switch is turned on. 

Watch this short video. It shows how to reverse the throttle on a Traxxas TQ controller:

Resetting the Running Modes 

This method can be a bit tricky as it requires you to press the program button on the ESC a couple of times, and you might find yourself wondering in what section of the menu you are.

If you have some extra cash on you, I’d advise you to buy a programming card from a reputable dealer. This will greatly help. There are many video tutorials, depending on the type of model you have, on programming the running modes to help you with this process as it will show you what beeps and light flashes to watch out for to ensure your RC car is perfectly set-up.

Switching the Wires 

An easy, fast fix for RC cars using brushless motors is to switch the wires running from the motor to the ESC.

Brushless motors have 3 wires that connect to the ESC. I advise you to switch the connection of any 2 of the 3 wires and test if the rotation changes direction.

Keep switching any 2 random wires until you notice the rotation has inverted. 

This method should be used only on motors without sensors. Switching the wires on a motor with inbuilt sensors might cause the ESC to burn out, leaving you with an unplanned repair/replacement cost.

Charge your Batteries to Full Capacity 

As simple as a solution as this might seem, it has been known to work. Just connect your charger to the battery pack and charge it to full capacity. Be sure to test the batteries with a voltmeter after engaging full throttle. Check the output rating to confirm they meet the recommended specifications for your RC car. 


After reading this article you now know that the fix could be something simple, so check your battery charge before you consider resetting running modes, swapping motor wires, or reversing throttle mode on the transmitter.

Test your motor with a servo tester or change the timing before considering to replace it. These processes could save you some money!

I hope you have found this article helpful. Please check out some of my other content to help you with any problems you may encounter with your RC.

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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