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

Radio-controlled cars are great fun, but they are not immune from the occasional problem. A common problem experienced by most RC car owners is a remote control that is not working or a car that is not responding to the remote control. If you are experiencing this common issue, there are several potential solutions that you can try to fix the problem. 

If your RC remote control is not working, check the batteries and battery connections in the RC car and transmitter, and ensure that all internal wires and connectors are connected. Check that the antennas are working, re-pair the controller, and ensure the car and transmitter are on the same RF band. 

The good thing about RC cars and their controllers is that they are relatively easy to troubleshoot and repair. If you are having problems with your RC car controller, following a few simple steps to troubleshoot and rectify the problems will likely solve this common RC issue. Let’s learn what to do if your RC car remote control is not working. 

RC Car Remote Controller Not Working? Here's What To Do
RC controller on a table

What To Do When An RC Car Controller Stops Working

There are few things more frustrating than taking your RC car out for a spin, switching it on, and discovering the RC controller is on the blink and has stopped working. Every RC car owner must know how to diagnose issues with their gear and how to fix them to get back on the road as quickly as possible. 

There are several causes for a faulty or non-functional RC controller, but the reality is that it may not cause the problem you are experiencing; it could be a fault with the RC car instead

The best thing to do when your RC car and transmitter are not working is to work your way through some simple troubleshooting methods to discover the root of the problem and take the appropriate steps to rectify it. 

The fact that there are several causes for an issue like this is a good thing, as it also means there are several solutions for the issue, even if some are more straightforward than others. 

If your RC car control has stopped working, here’s what you can do to get it working.

Related article: RC Car Not Responding To Throttle? Here’s Why

Check All Power Switches On The RC Car And Controller

A common cause for a non-functioning RC car or transmitter is simply a deactivated power switch. Every transmitter and every RC car must be switched on before they can read each other’s signals and work together. 

This is a simple problem, but it is far more common than you may realize. It is very easy to accidentally turn off your transmitter or car without knowing it. The first step in troubleshooting a problem like this is always checking that the controller and car are turned on correctly. 

If the power switches on your gear are all turned on, turn them off and back on to ensure that the starting sequence for the controller and the car occur correctly. Check the system synchronizes as it should. 

With certain RC cars and controllers, the sequence of the power-up matters and can result in no communication between the car and controller if they are powered up in the wrong sequence.

Sometimes, this is a quirk of certain controller and RC car combinations, but it is a worthwhile option to explore before you pack up your RC gear and go home!

In many cases, the RC car must be powered on before the controller is powered, allowing the controller to find the car’s signal immediately. If this sequence does not work, try powering the controller up first and then the car.

While these issues may seem silly, I cannot tell you how many times I have scratched my head as to why my RC car and controller are not working, only to find the car was not powered up.

These solutions may seem simple, but is a worthwhile first step in your troubleshooting sequence that may negate further investigation.

Check Or Replace RC Car And Controller Batteries

Traxxas NIMH battery with AA batteries in front

Another easy problem to miss in the world of RC is flat batteries or loose battery connectors. Both the RC car and the transmitter require batteries or a battery pack to function well. This is even true for Nitro RC cars, as they require a battery back to power the electronics within the car. 

Check all of the batteries in your RC car and controller. Check the connectors that plug them into the devices are properly seated. A loose connection can result in no power being delivered to the car or the controller.

If a battery has not charged properly, or if it has failed and discharged unexpectedly, simply install fresh batteries, and the gear should come to life and operate correctly. 

If the batteries are fresh but not connected properly, unplug them and reinstall them. Batteries can become disconnected by bumps and vibrations when using the car or even when traveling to the locations where you want to drive your car

Checking these issues should be your second step in resolving the problem of your RC car remote control not working. Always check that your batteries are properly functioning and connected before looking for other issues. 

By the way, do you have Traxxas RC? Have you ever experienced its ESC blinking red? Then check out this detailed guide about Traxxas ESC blinking red to learn more about the exact reasons and solutions.

Confirm The RC Transmitter And Car Are Working

If your RC transmitter or car is not working, it is important to determine if the issue is with the car or the transmitter. The most straightforward method to do this is by the process of elimination. Pair the controller with another car or the car with another controller. 

If the car works with a different transmitter, then the issue lies with the original controller. If the car does not work with a different transmitter, the original controller is not the problem, and the car should be inspected for faults. 

Finding the solution to the fault is far easier when you have determined in which device the fault has occurred. 

Inspect RC Car And Controller Internal Wiring For Faults

After ensuring that your devices are powered correctly, the next thing to do is inspect the wiring in your transmitter and the receiver on your RC car. 

If the receiver on the car or the transmitter has any loose connections, they may not receive or transmit the signal correctly. In this instance, the controller and the car will not have a working way to communicate and will be unresponsive. 

Unscrew the transmitter housing and take the body off the RC car. Inspect the wiring in both devices and look for any loose connections or any wires that are not connected to anything. 

This could be as simple as a connector that has become unplugged or a wire that has become disconnected from a circuit board

Look for unshielded wires that could be touching or any connections that have been made in the wrong place. 

Any one of these wiring issues could cause the transmitter or the car to not send or receive a signal. Restore these wiring connections, and the connection between the transmitter and the RC care should be restored, allowing normal operation. 

If the writing has been disconnected in either the car or the transmitter, you may be required to repair the car and the transmitter before they function normally. 

Inspect RC Cars And Controller Antennas For Faults

Another common but sometimes less obvious issue that could cause a failure of transmission between the car and the controller is a faulty antenna. 

Both the car and the transmitter have a radio antenna for transmitting and receiving signals from each other, and if these antennas have been damaged or disconnected, they will not allow this signal to be transmitted. 

Take a close look at the antenna and the antenna wiring on the car and the controller. Any issues that may have occurred should be easy to notice, such as broken components, damaged casings, disconnected wires, or broken connections

Resorting these issues should restore the working function in the RC system and allow the car and the controller to communicate correctly. No RC car or transmitter will work with a non-functioning antenna. 

Related article: Can Any Controller Be Used On Any RC Car?

Re-Synchronize The RC Transmitter And RC Car

If both the car and the transmitter seem to be working, but there is still no signal between the two, or the car is still not functioning, the controller and the car may have become desynchronized. 

If the transmitter and the RC car lose connection in this way, the solution is to simply re-pair them to re-establish communication. 

This process can be different for every car and controller combination, so it is best to consult the manual for your RC car and your RC controller to determine the pairing process. 

The process is usually very simple and takes very little time at all. If this is the issue that caused a breakdown in communication between the RC car and controller, your should be racing again in no time!

Be sure to pair the devices correctly by following the right sequence to ensure they function well. If desynchronization occurs frequently, take the transmitter and car in for repairs, as there may be an issue with the electronic components in the units. 

Inspect The RC Car For Internal Faults

Close up of the inside of an RC car

If controller inputs cease to control an RC car effectively, even though they are paired correctly and there are no signal interruptions, then the issue is likely with the RC car itself. 

If your RC car is behaving strangely, or if only certain inputs cause a response from the car, it is likely that some internal component in the car has failed and is not responding correctly to signals. 

This problem is likely to occur when actuators or servos within the vehicle have been damaged or failed. 

If this describes the issue that you are having with your car, or if you discover this to be the source of the problem, then the only real solution is to replace the damaged components within the RC car

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

If you have the skill and knowledge to make these repairs yourself, then replacing the parts should get the RC car on the road. Otherwise, you will need to send the car to a repair shop to be repaired by a professional. 

Change The Radio Frequency Of The RC Car And Controller

A relatively common problem with RC cars is radio interference. Most RC cars receive control inputs from the transmitter via a radio frequency, and if another nearby device is emitting a signal that is occupying that bandwidth, the signal between the controller and the RC car can be interrupted. 

The same is true if the RC car and the controller somehow desynchronize and end up on different radio frequencies. If this occurs, the controller and the car appear to have a full function but will not work together. 

The only way to resolve this frustrating issue is to change the frequency the RC car and controller are operating on and ensure they are both running on the same clear frequency with no interruptions. 

The process to make this change is different depending on the hardware you are using, and if you are unsure about how to do it, then it is best to take your car to an RC shop and ask the staff to help you. 

Otherwise, consult the owner’s manual for the controller and the RC car to learn how to change the frequency they use for signal transmission. 

There are reports of short-band radio enthusiasts causing interruptions and interference with RC signals in some areas, and if this is a common issue, then it is a good idea to permanently change the radio frequency that you use for your RC gear to prevent the issue from recurring. 

Related article: Can WIFI Interfere With An RC Car?

Take The RC Car In For Repairs

If you have exhausted all other options and all potential solutions to the problem and your controller and RC are still not working together, the only option left is to take both to a repair shop, RC store, or an RC repairer to resolve the issue. 

These people are very skilled at what they do and fully understand the inner workings of RC cars and equipment on a level that most people will never realize. 

There are many intricacies to RC cars and transmitters, and if the troubleshooting steps here are not enough to get your car working again, then you may need help from a professional, especially if you are new to RC cars. 

This will ensure that the car will work well, solve any other problems with the car and its controller, and keep the car running well into the future. 

Consulting a professional repairer is always a good option, as it will teach you more about your RC car and its hardware and help you learn how to solve these issues on your own in the future. 

Employing the services of a professional RC repairer is always the best way to maintain and repair your RC car and controller, regardless of how well they are working and their condition. 


There are several reasons why an RC control may stop working with an RC car, but there are solutions to all of these problems that will get the car moving again. Take the time to evaluate what has caused the problem before you take steps to resolve it, and your RC car should be back on the road in no time. 

Always consult a professional repairer if the problem is serious or if you do not know how to resolve it on your own, or you may risk causing more damage to your gear, prolonging the issue and incurring more costs. 

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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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