RC Car Not Working? Top 4 Most Common Reasons And Fixes!

If you’re an RC car enthusiast, you know that there’s nothing quite like the thrill of racing your miniature machine. However, it can be equally frustrating when your car suddenly stops working.

The main reason behind your non-functioning RC car is most likely faulty batteries. But, there could be other reasons as well, such as loose connections in the wirings that are linked with the ESC, or problems with the switch or the servo.

RC Car Not Working? Top 4 Common Reasons And Fixes!
RC Car with it’s body and controller next to it

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about an RC car that is not working along with solutions to make it run again. So keep reading till the end to explore more!

Why Your RC Car Is Not Working And How To Fix It

Common ReasonsFixes
Faulty BatteriesReplace The Faulty Batteries
Loose ConnectionReattach The Wires Firmly
Switch Not WorkingRepair Or Replace The Switch
Servo IssueReplace The Damaged Servo
Table showing the most common reasons why your RC car is not working

#1. Faulty Batteries

Issue Explanation:

One of the most common reasons why your RC car may not be functioning correctly is faulty batteries. This issue can arise due to overuse or prolonged storage without use, leading to reduced battery life. When your batteries are faulty, your RC car will fail to respond or turn on. But to determine if this is indeed the issue, you’ll need to take a closer look at your batteries.

First, remove the batteries from your RC car and check if a voltage reading is displayed. If you don’t see any reading, it’s likely that your batteries have gone bad.

Most RC cars use LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries, which can last up to three years with proper maintenance. However, if you’ve been using your batteries frequently or leaving them unused for prolonged periods, their lifespan may be significantly shorter.


The good news is that this issue is easy to fix. All you need to do is replace the batteries with new ones that have a full charge. Once you have new batteries, your RC car should be up and running again in no time.

To ensure your batteries last as long as possible, it’s essential to take good care of them. Avoid overcharging or over-discharging them, and store them in a cool, dry place when not in use. 

Also read: How, Where And When To Store Your RC Trucks

#2. Loose Connection In Wiring

Issue Explanation:

If replacing the batteries didn’t fix the issue, the next step is to check for loose wiring connections.

To start, you’ll need to remove the outer coverings of your RC car using screwdrivers. Once you have access to the internal wiring, inspect it carefully for any signs of looseness or disconnection.

In most cases, the wiring that’s connected with the ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) can come loose over time, making it unable to transmit the electric current properly to the rest of the parts of the RC car.


If you do find loose connections, it’s crucial to reattach them firmly. You can use a soldering iron to re-solder the wires back to their original connections. Alternatively, you can use wire connectors to fix any loose connections.

Make sure to double-check that all the connections are secure and that there are no loose wires left before reassembling your RC car.

#3. Switch Problem

Issue Explanation: 

If you’ve already checked the batteries and wiring, the next step is to investigate the switch.

To do this, you’ll need to remove the switch from your RC car and test it to see if it’s functioning correctly. This can be a bit tricky, as you’ll need a voltmeter to test the switch accurately. A voltmeter is a device that measures the electric potential difference between two points in a circuit.

Once you have a voltmeter (Amazon link) handy, connect it to the switch and test its voltage reading. If the switch is working correctly, you should see a voltage reading that corresponds to the on/off position of the switch. If there’s no reading, or if the reading is erratic, it’s likely that the switch is faulty and needs to be replaced.


If you’re having trouble with a switch in your RC car, don’t worry – there are a few things you can do to get it working again. One option is to try fixing the switch yourself, while the other is to replace it with a new one.

The first step is to remove the switch from your RC car and give it a good cleaning with a relevant lubricant oil. This can help to remove any dirt or debris that may be causing the switch to malfunction.

Once you’ve cleaned the switch, it’s a good idea to test it by turning it on and off a few times. This can help to loosen any stuck parts and get the switch working again. If the switch still isn’t working correctly, you may need to try disassembling it and inspecting it more closely for any damage or wear and tear.

If repairing the switch doesn’t do the trick, you may need to replace it altogether.

Replacing a faulty switch can be done relatively easily, even if you’re not particularly skilled at DIY projects. You’ll need to purchase a replacement switch that’s compatible with your RC car’s electrical system, and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install it properly. Usually, you can purchase a replacement switch from your local hobby store or online retailer.

With a bit of patience and some careful work, you can get your RC car’s switch back in working order and hit the road (or track) once again!

#4. Servo Problem

Issue Explanation: 

A servo is a tiny motor-like component that helps control the movement of your RC car. Its purpose is to take instructions from your controller and turn them into precise movements that make your car go in the direction you want it to go.

If your servo is not working correctly, your RC car may not move or respond to your controller’s commands. This is because the servo is responsible for controlling the steering and acceleration of your car, so any problems with it can cause your car to stop moving or even move in the wrong direction.


To fix problems with your servo, you may need to open up your RC car and inspect the component closely for any damage or wear and tear. You can also try cleaning the gears and replacing any worn out parts to help get your servo working properly again.

If you’re having trouble with your RC car and suspect that the servo may be the issue, there’s a simple way to test it.

First, unplug the servo from your original RC device and plug it in a known RC device that you know works well. Then after setting up the servo and matching the frequency of the device and the controller, you can check if the device is responding properly or not.

If the device is responding properly, then the servo is not the culprit. However, if the new RC device is not moving, then most likely the servo is the cause and you will have to replace it with a new one. Please take a look at my article: How To Choose A Servo For Your RC Car

By taking care of your servo and keeping it in good working order, you can ensure that your RC car is always ready to hit the road and provide you with hours of fun and excitement.

Now, I would like to touch on some of the most common issues that you may experience with your RC car. By reviewing these issues, you will be able to identify the underlying cause of the problem and address it accordingly.

RC Car Not Turning On?

The most common cause for an RC car not turning on is usually the batteries. Ensure that the batteries are properly installed and that they are fully charged.

If the batteries are fine, then it could be a loose connection in the wiring. It is not uncommon for the wiring to become loose over time, especially in the battery compartment.

To fix this issue, you will need to open up your RC car parts and check for signs of loose connection in the wiring. If you see any loose connections, reattach them firmly. 

Although batteries and loose connection are usually the most common causes, there can also be other reasons why your RC car is not turning on. For instance, a damaged servo wire or a loose connection in the servo.

RC Car Not Moving Backwards?

As an RC car enthusiast, nothing can be more frustrating than your car not going in reverse. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the main reasons and how to fix them. You may be surprised at how many reasons there are for this issue.

The first and most common reason is a faulty ESC (Electronic Speed Control). The ESC controls the motor’s speed and direction, so if it’s not functioning correctly, it could be the culprit.

Check out my article: How To Tell If Your ESC Is Bad

Another reason why your RC car won’t go in reverse is that your drive mode might not be set to allow reversing. Make sure you check your race mode settings and switch to reverse mode if needed.

You may not be giving enough time between shifts. Just like a manual car, you need to give your RC car enough time to shift gears properly.

The idle speed could be too high, which can cause issues with shifting gears. Check your idle speed settings and adjust them as needed.

The transmission could be overloaded, causing it to stall and not go in reverse. Make sure to avoid overloading the transmission and keep it in good condition.

Incorrect trim settings can also cause your RC car to not go in reverse. Check your trim settings and adjust them as needed.

If your transmission has damaged gears, it will not function properly, causing your car not to go in reverse. Check for any damage to the gears and replace them if necessary.

Lastly, moisture buildup inside your radio can cause issues with the signal, preventing your RC car from going in reverse. Make sure to keep your radio dry and clean.

Try checking all of these potential issues and see if it fixes the problem. If not, consider taking your RC car to a hobby shop or RC club for further assistance. With a little patience and troubleshooting, your RC car will be back to reversing in no time.

To get a more in-depth knowledge on this topic, check my guide: Why Your RC Car Won’t Go In Reverse And How To Fix It.

RC Car Not Moving Forwards?

RC car with the body off

First things first, let’s check the basics. Is everything set up correctly? It’s possible that something as simple as a misplaced battery or loose screw could be causing your RC to stall. Double-check all the components to make sure they’re in their proper place.

Next, let’s try recalibrating the RC. This is often a quick fix for minor issues and can be done easily by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If recalibrating doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to test the transmitter. Sometimes the problem lies in the communication between the transmitter and the receiver. Ensure that the transmitter is properly synced with the receiver and that the batteries are fresh.

If none of the above steps work, it’s time to dig deeper. Check the wiring and connections to make sure everything is secure and in good condition. Damaged wires or faulty connections can cause your RC to malfunction.

Servos are also a potential culprit. These little motors are responsible for controlling the steering and throttle. Test them to ensure they’re working properly and replace any that aren’t.

If all else fails, check the gears.Usually, a loose gear can cause malfunctioning in your RC car’s performance. So open the internal RC car parts to access the gears, and then reinforce it firmly to prevent any issue.

Finally, it’s time to test the motor. A malfunctioning motor can cause your RC to stall or fail to move forward. 

These tips should help you diagnose and fix any issues with your RC car. But for a more detailed guide on the topic, be sure to check out my article: RC Car Not Moving Forward? Here’s What To Do!

RC Car Not Responding To Throttle?

First up, your basic setup might be incorrect. Check to make sure that all of your components are properly installed and that your radio is programmed correctly.

Next, consider whether there might be a problem with your transmitter or radio. If you’re experiencing signal loss, for example, this could be the culprit.

Another common cause of an unresponsive throttle is battery failure. If your batteries are not charged or are otherwise not working properly, your car won’t respond to the throttle. Similarly, if your throttle servo has failed, you won’t be able to control your car.

Damaged servo wires can also cause your RC car to stop responding to the throttle. Make sure to inspect all of your wires and connections for signs of damage, including frayed or loose wires. If your ESC is not calibrated correctly, this can also lead to an unresponsive throttle. Make sure to calibrate your ESC according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In some cases, motor failure might be the issue. If your motor is damaged or worn out, it might not respond to the throttle. Additionally, if your gears are not aligned properly, your RC car might not respond to the throttle as expected.

Finally, your optidrive might have switched your throttle servo off, or you might be using an incompatible transmitter and receiver combination. These are all potential causes of an unresponsive throttle.

To learn more, check out my detailed guide about the problem of an RC car not responding to throttle.

RC Car Is Steering But Not Moving?

My Traxxas Slash stood still with the wheels turning

Firstly, let’s start with the most common culprit: loose wiring connections. Check all the wiring connections in the car, particularly between the motor and ESC, to ensure that everything is securely fastened. Loose connections can prevent power from reaching the motor, which could explain why your car is not moving.

Another potential cause of this issue is battery problems. Check that the batteries are correctly installed and that they are fully charged. Low battery levels can result in insufficient power to the motor, which can cause the car to steer but not move.

Next, let’s consider frequency issues. Ensure that both the transmitter and car are set to the same frequency. If they are not on the same frequency, the car will not receive the signals from the transmitter, and cause the malfunctioning in movement.

Another possible culprit is a damaged or malfunctioning antenna. Check the antenna in the car and make sure it’s not bent or damaged. If it is, replace it immediately.

A faulty servo can also cause the steering but no movement issue. Check that the servo is receiving power and that its wires are correctly connected to the receiver.

Lastly, it could be the motor or ESC that’s causing the issue. Check the motor’s connections and make sure the ESC is receiving power. 

For an in-depth guide on this topic, check out my post: Top 7 Reasons RC Car Steers But Won’t Move (& What To Do!)

RC Car Remote Control Not Functioning?

Firstly, let’s start with the batteries. It might seem obvious, but dead batteries are a common cause of unresponsive remote controls. Check the batteries in both the RC car and transmitter and make sure they’re fresh and properly connected. If the batteries are not the issue, move on to the next step.

Next up, check all the internal wires and connectors in both the car and transmitter. Sometimes a loose wire or bad connection can prevent the signal from reaching the car. Check everything is securely connected and in good condition.

Now, let’s focus on the antennas. If they’re not working correctly, your RC car will struggle to receive the signal from the remote control. Check the antennas in both the car and transmitter and make sure they’re straight and not damaged. If they’re too damaged, replace them.

If none of the above steps have solved the problem, it’s time to re-pair the controller. This involves syncing the transmitter with the receiver in the car. Refer to your instruction manual for specific pairing instructions.

Lastly, make sure the car and transmitter are on the same RF band. If they’re not, they won’t be able to communicate with each other. Check your instruction manual to see how to change the RF band.

These simple steps should help you get your RC car remote control back in action. I highly encourage you to check out my guide on RC car remote control not working for a more thorough explanation on the topic.


In short, while RC cars can be a great source of entertainment, it can also be frustrating when they stop working.

Luckily, most of the issues can be easily resolved with a little bit of troubleshooting. The most common problem is often due to batteries that need to be replaced. Other issues like loose wiring, switch problems, and servo problems can also be fixed with some repair work or replacements.

It’s important to remember to take good care of your RC car by maintaining the batteries, storing it correctly, and avoiding overcharging or over-discharging them. By following the tips I’ve discussed with you in this article, I hope you’ll be back to having fun with your RC car in no time!

I hope that you found this article 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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