Don’t you just love it when you take your RC car out and everything goes perfectly. Your RC car is steering around bends gracefully and taking the Straights at full speed. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and you are just out on the perfect run and then all of a sudden you bump in to the curb. Your’e pressing the transmitter, your RC car can accelerate but you can’t turn?
In this article, I will explain all the common issues that happen when the steering on your RC car doesn’t work.
The reasons the steering on an RC car isn’t working is usually down to one of the following issues:
- The battery pack could be low on power.
- Receiver or transmitter failure.
- Servo connection is loose.
- Servo wires are damaged.
- Stripped gears on the servo.
- The steering rate could be set to zero on the remote controller.
In this article we will look at each of the issues that could be stopping your RC car from turning and how to solve them. Also we will look at why your car is steering more one way and how to adjust the steering on your RC vehicle.
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Throttle Works, But No Steering.
The first thing to check if you have throttle but no steering is to see whether your battery is low on power. Simply replace the battery with a fully charged battery and if the steering still doesn’t work at least you’ve eliminated the battery from being a problem.
Another common problem but very easy to fix and you probably wouldn’t consider it or even realise you’ve done it, is to check the steering rate on your controller.
When driving your vehicle, your finger could be turning the steering rate to zero by accident, so check the steering rate and if it’s at zero, turn the steering rate back up and you should have your steering back.
RC Car steers but won’t move? Check out my related article
The steering wheel on the controller could be faulty. You can check this by swapping the wires around from channel 1 to channel 2, In other words, swap the steering servo plugs from channel 1 and try them in channel 2, and the speed control wires from channel 2 to channel 1.
By doing this if you see that the steering works by using the throttle but the acceleration doesn’t work by using the steering wheel, you now know both channels are working fine, meaning the steering wheel is faulty and its time to buy a new controller.
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Is the Steering Servo Faulty?
Anything that’s RC, whether its a car, boat, a plane or whatever needs a servo. Servos convert radio signals into movement. A steering servo is an electronic part that moves to allow your RC car to steer when you turn the steering wheel on your controller.
There are a number of things that could go wrong with a servo. If you suspect that there’s a problem with your servo, you should do the following checks.
Check to see if the servo cable is connected properly.
Check to see if any of the servo lead wires are damaged.
Check to see if the steering linkage is damaged. if you can hear the servo is responding to the steering input and the output shaft is turning, you need to see if the linkages are damaged or disconnected, connect or replace if necessary.
One way to check if you have a problem with your servo is to unplug it and try it in the throttle channel, that’s assuming that the throttle channel is working fine, if it’s still not working you know that your servo is faulty. You can remove the servo, disassemble it and check for any stripped gears.
If you find some stripped gears, you could order the parts and try to fix it yourself or take the servo to a hobby shop to repair it or it might be best to buy a new servo.
Please take a look at my article: How To Choose A Servo For Your RC Car: Ultimate Guide
I recommend replacing your servo with a good quality metal gear servo. For a bit of extra cost, metal gear servos last so much longer.
There’s a chance you could have the wrong strength or size of servo depending on how you drive your vehicle. Seek help from an expert for the correct servo for your vehicle.
Although you may need help choosing the appropriate servo for your vehicle, installing it is quite easy.
It’s usually just a case of unscrewing a few screws from the underside of the chassis to remove the old one and then fitting the new one.
If you find your car turns more to one side or if your wheels turn automatically hard to one side or if your servo only turns one way, read on. You will find some useful information on how to make the appropriate adjustments to fix the issue.
How do You Adjust the Steering on an RC Car?
The first thing to ask yourself is where to begin adjustments to the steering?
The first thing to check is to see if the car is steering in the right direction. To do this you need to turn on the controller and the car and check that when you push right on the controller that your car steers to the right and of course when you push left, your car turns left.
The Next Step is the steering trim.
If you have a digital radio controller, make sure that the trims on the digital screen are centred and check that your sub-trims are set to zero.
If you don’t have a digital controller you should find some knobs on the back and you should find some arrows on the knobs and just check that those arrows are centred to the marks on the controller.
Now it’s time to check the servo horn and check it’s perpendicular to the servo.
In some cases, the servo horn has to be offset so it’s best to check your manual when you are setting this.
So what do you do if the servo horn is not perpendicular to the servo?
You could pull the servo horn off and move it over one tooth, but by doing this you may not be able to set it accurately.
Related post: How Do RC Cars Turn? A Complete Guide
This is where you go to your radio controller and set the sub-trims to make it perpendicular. If you don’t have sub-trims just use your regular trim to set the Servo horn. Now you have the servo horn set it’s now time to check that the rest of the steering is set up properly.
Now it’s time to make sure that the servo horn and the Servo arm are parallel to each other.
You need to set the links to make them parallel.
This way the servo gives the steering arm an even throw in both directions.
Now you can adjust your steering tie rods to the setting that you want.
Now you should have everything set and maximum throw to your steering.
Now you want to set your dual rates. It’s good to set it to 100% to give yourself maximum throw to the left and to the right.
Now you have the dual rates set, its now time to set the EPA, end point adjustment.
While doing this you want to check the servo locks out the bell cranks and you want to look at the steering knuckle and make sure it’s not pressing too hard into the carriage, make sure that they only just touch. If you do it any more than that you are going to put a strain on the servo.
Now if you turn everything on and you hear a buzzing sound when you crank the steering, that means that the servo is maxed out and you need to adjust back on your endpoint adjustment. Now the endpoints should be set and you should have full throw both ways on your steering.
If you are using a budget radio controller then you can adjust the dual-rate knob right up to give maximum throw to your steering. In some cases this may not be enough, this is where you may consider changing the servo horn. For example, if you have a short Servo horn on your car it would be best to buy a longer one to give you a better range of steering.
Related post: RC Car Turns Off While Driving? Here’s Why
Another thing to consider is that your steering servo just isn’t strong enough, you may consider upgrading to a higher torque servo.
Also, you may want to consider adjusting the Servo saver nut. You want to make sure it’s reasonably tight to prevent the servo saver from having a soft feel and not giving you as much steering.
After reading this article you should have learnt how to identify why your car is not turning. You know that it could be something simple like a low battery or damaged wires.
You know how to check if the steering servo is faulty and whether to fix it or replace it with a better one.
You can make adjustments to your steering so it works to its full potential and at the same time fix any issues that you have with your steering.