RC Car Not Moving Forward? Here’s What To Do

If you just bought the RC car and it has throttle issues, I recommend following only the basic setup, calibration, and transmitter sections in this guide. If those don’t work, it’s best to return the unit to the supplier for a replacement if it’s faulty.

However, if you’ve driven your RC for over a month and it won’t move today, you should definitely go through everything I’ve laid out for you here.

I’ll go through the most common issues and progress to the less common, more complicated issues.

RC Car Not Moving Forward? Here's What To Do
RC Truck

Check Your Basic Setup

Before you totally strip down your RC, check all the basics.

  1. Make sure the on/off switch is in the ON position. If it is, switch it off and on again to check if it feels normal. It’s not common that the switch breaks, but it’s very easy to feel if it does.
  2. Check if the batteries are inserted correctly into the transmitter and the vehicle.
  3. Confirm that the batteries are fully charged.
  4. Test the RC with other compatible batteries.

If everything looks good but it still doesn’t move forward, switch the vehicle off and go through each section below until it works.

Recalibrate Your RC

To recalibrate your RC on most Traxxas models, follow these simple steps.

  1. Remove the body.
  2. Connect a fully charged battery and switch the car on.
  3. Turn the transmitter on.
  4. Press and hold the ez set button until the LED turns red and then release it.
  5. When the LED blinks once, squeeze the throttle on the transmitter all the way back to “full throttle” and hold. The LED should blink twice as it receives the full throttle signal.
  6. Now push the trigger forward into “full reverse” position and hold it until the LED blinks green repeatedly. When this happens, the calibration is complete.

The process is usually just as easy for most other hobby-grade cars, so check the manual for the steps for your exact model.

Related post: RC Car Not Turning? Here’s What To Do

If the calibration process doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to test the transmitter.

Test The Transmitter

You can test your transmitter by checking if the RC has any steering control. If you can steer the wheels but have no forward or reverse, it’s not the transmitter. (Very unlikely at least)

You can also check if the RC works with another transmitter if you have a spare one that’s compatible. Lend one from a friend or at the hobby shop.

Check The Wiring

Remove the RC body to expose the wiring. Disconnect, inspect, and reconnect the wiring to make sure none of them are loose. Sometimes they rattle loose and just need a solid reconnection.

Check out this article: RC car steers but won’t move?

If that doesn’t work, inspect the wiring for any damage. If you have an old RC with corroded wires, you’ll need to replace them.

Test The Servos

Swap the connectors that go from the steering servos to the throttle servos. If there’s throttle and no steering, it’s probably the servos that need replacing.

For more on servos you might want to check out my article: How To Choose A Servo For Your RC Car: Ultimate Guide

Check The Gears

Unscrew any parts that cover the gears and check if they’re properly meshed together. The teeth of the spur and pinion gear should be interlinked. If the gears come apart from each other, the vehicle will make a noise on throttle but won’t move forward. If your motor doesn’t make any noise on throttle, you can skip this step and move onto the next one.

If the gears look like they’re a bit loose, follow these steps to tighten them up.

  1. Loosen the motor screws.
  2. Insert a piece of paper between the two gears.
  3. Push the pinion gear up against the spur gear while keeping the paper in between.
  4. Tighten the motor screws. (The paper should be the only gap between the gears)
  5. Turn the spur gear to eject the paper away.
  6. This should give you the perfect gear mesh.

Related post: RC Car Stuttering? The Causes, And How To Fix It

Test The Motor

To test the motor, unscrew the screws of the motor casing. Take the motor out of the RC and try to turn it with your fingers. It should be able to turn easily, if it doesn’t, your motor might be seized. That means that the parts inside the motor are damaged and can’t move freely anymore. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy a fresh motor.

Motors fail because of dirt getting inside, overheating, and many other reasons.

Get A Professional Evaluation

If you’ve gone through everything in this article and your RC still isn’t moving, you’ll have to take it to your nearest hobby shop for a checkup. If they aren’t too busy, they’ll identify your problem within minutes. They have all the testing tools and spare parts to check everything quickly.

They already know what the most common issues are because they have so many people coming to them with the same problems every day.


If at first, your RC isn’t moving, check the basic setup and then run through the more difficult procedures I’ve laid out. RC cars aren’t very complicated and after you have a few hundred hours of experience with them, all these things will become basic knowledge for you.

The most important thing to remember is that you should never feel embarrassed to reach out for help online or at a hobby shop. That’s the way everyone else learned what they know.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful. Here are some more articles that may be of interest;

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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