Most Common Reasons Why RC Car Blinks Red (And Fixes)

Red light blinking on the RC car, and the steering–working, but the throttle not working, sounds familiar? Then you’ve landed at the right place. In this guide, we’ll explain in detail why an RC Car blinks red, and how you can fix it.

In short, if your RC car is blinking red, the problem could lie in the ESC or receiver. Some simple process of elimination checks will help you determine the cause and resolve the problem. Most flashing red lights can be resolved by checking some settings or recalibrating the ESC.

RC Car Blinking Red? These Are The Reasons Why

Let’s get into the details about what each of the blinking red lights mean, why they occur, and what you can do to fix it.

Where Does The Red Light Blink In Your RC Car?

  • The ESC
  • The Receiver Box (Radio Tray)

For those who just got into the hobby, the ESC (Electronic Speed Control) is a small circuit board that controls the speed of the electric motor powering the RC car. It is typically located in the RC car’s body or chassis.

The size and shape can vary depending on the manufacturer and the power requirements of the RC car. Still, it’s generally a blue-colored rectangular-shaped bar, often with brightly colored wires extending from it.

The receiver box or the radio tray consists of the radio receiver receiving the throttle and steering commands from the transmitter (the controller you hold in your hands).

If you have a Traxxas RC car and it’s receiver is not working, then check out this guide to learn all the causes and solutions: How To Fix A Traxxas Receiver That Doesn’t Work Properly.

What Does The Red Blinking Light Indicate?

The red blinking light can indicate different things based on where it is blinking and how it is blinking. Here’s a chart showing the meaning of different red blinking lights:

Red Blinking Type:What It Means:
Fast Blinking Flashing Red Light In Receiver Box/Radio TrayThe Throttle trim on your controller is not set properly. Rotate the knob while keeping your RC car on, and keep turning the knob gradually until you see no more red light blinking.
Red And Green Light Flashing One After The Other (Or Slow Red Light Blinking) In ESCIt indicates a low voltage detection issue. Either replace the NiMH battery with a LiPo battery. Or reset/recalibrate the ESC.
Very Fast Blinking Red Light Without Losing Throttle or Steering PowerIt indicates a loose connection in the wires that connect to the ESC. Remove them and re-insert them properly (tighten if necessary.)

Common Reasons Why Red Light Blinks

  • The throttle Trim/Knob in the controller is not adjusted to the neutral position.
  • NiMH battery is installed whereas the ESC is in LiPo battery mode.
  • There is a loose connection in the wires that connect to the ESC.
  • The receiver has gone bad or the ESC has burned out (replace those bad parts to fix the issue.)
  • Low battery or battery is damaged (battery replacement becomes necessary.)

If you are not sure whether your RC car’s ESC has burned out, be sure to check out this guide which goes in detail about why RC motors and ESCs burn up.

Why Is My ESC Blinking Red?

ESC Blinking Red
The ESC on my Traxxas Slash blinking red

Do you have Traxxas and is its ESC blinking red? Then I highly recommend checking out my detailed guide where I explain the exact reasons and troubleshooting guide of why Traxxas ESC blinks red.

One of the most common indicators on the ESC is a blinking or flashing red light when the RC car is turned on.

The red light indicates an error state in the ESC, but the type of error is not clear since the light illuminates due to several different possible error scenarios. It is up to the RC car owner to figure out whether the problem is serious or a simple issue that is easily remedied.

If you switch your RC car on and the ESC  light flashes or blinks red, try turning the steering control on the controller to see if the wheels respond to the signal. If the wheels respond to your steering control, then the ESC unit is receiving a signal from the controller.

If the red light is flashing, there will be no response to the throttle. What does this indicate, and how can you fix it?

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

How To Fix An RC Car Blinking Red

Adjusting The Throttle Knob/Trim

An adjustable knob on your RC controller labeled “TH” stands for “Throttle” and is used to feather the throttle control in certain situations. The position of this adjustment knob is crucial when switching on the RC car.

The TH control will have a “zero” position, indicating that the throttle trigger on the controller is in the neutral position (you are not pressing the throttle at all). 

When the TH knob is not zeroed when the car is switched on, the ESC goes into an error state because it thinks the throttle on the controller is being triggered

This is a safety feature to ensure the car does not go careening off when switched on and the throttle is accidentally not in the neutral position.

If the TH knob is not in the neutral position when the car is switched on, this safety feature is triggered, and the ESC blinks red and will not respond to throttle control signals.

The fix is quite easy. Switch the RC car off and turn the TH knob on the controller to the zeroed position. Switch the car back on, and with a little luck, you will find that the red light does not blink, and the ESC responds to the throttle control.

If this solution does not work, the ESC may need to be calibrated to tell the ESC where the neutral and full positions on your throttle are and the left and right steering signals.

The calibration process is different for each ESC, so try a recalibration if our recommended fix has not resolved the issue.

Fixing The Low Voltage Detection In ESC

Depending on the type of ESC in your RC car, you may have a blinking red light or a blinking red and green light when you power on the car with “low voltage detection” or LVD enabled and NiMH batteries in the car.

This indicates that the ECS must be recalibrated to recognize the batteries correctly to eliminate the low voltage error detected with NiMH batteries.

This fault often arises when you switch from LiPo batteries to NiMH batteries in your RC car. Low voltage detection is important when using LiPo batteries but must be turned off when using NiMH batteries.

Recalibrating the ESC with the NiMH batteries installed will allow the ESC to change settings for the new battery type, and you will be ready to go in no time!

Loose Connection In The Connecting Wires

If you have just put your RC car back together, or you have been riding over rough terrain, and you discover that the receiver is blinking red when you turn the car on, it indicates an error for the receiver.

The most common causes for this problem are the connector wires not plugged in properly, the wires plugged into the wrong channel, or the receiver is bad.

Double-check to ensure the plugs are properly seated on the receiver. If this does not resolve the problem, check to see if the wires are plugged into the correct channels on the receiver. You may have swopped some of the wires around when you plugged them back in.

If these solutions do not work, the receiver will likely be faulty and requires replacement.

Low Battery Issue

You may notice that the LED on your controller starts to flash red. In most cases, this is a relatively simple problem and easy to fix.

There may be some differences between different controller types, but a blinking red light on the controller usually means the batteries are close to being depleted and must be replaced.

Most controllers have a solid red LED to indicate the controller is switched on and is ready to control the car. Consequently, a steady red light on the controller normally means the controller is good to go, while a flashing light indicates attention is needed.

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

Why Is My RC Car Battery Charger Blinking Red?

RC Charger Blinking Red
My RC battery charger flashing

While an RC car battery charger is not directly linked to a problem on your RC car, we decided to include this topic or “red flashing lights” in the RC hobby.

If your RC car battery charger is flashing red, it generally indicates one or more of the following situations have arisen.

  • The battery is not connected properly. A faulty or inconsistent connection between the battery and charger can result in an error state and a flashing red light. Ensure the battery is seated properly in the charger.
  • The battery is too hot. If the battery has come straight out of your RC car, the temperature may be too high for safe charging, and the charger light will flash red. Take the battery out of the charger and give it time to cool down before trying again.
  • The charger is too hot. If the charger has been left in the sun or other warm location, its internal temperature may be too high to start the charging process. Place the charger in a cool place to let the temperature normalize before trying again.
  • The battery voltage is too low. Check the battery voltage with a voltmeter to ensure it is within the expected range. If the voltage is too low, the battery may not be able to take a charge and must be replaced.

These are general faults and solutions that may differ from your particular charger. Always consult the manual for the charger to find out what the flashing lights mean to ensure safe battery charging. 


A blinking red light can indicate a serious problem with some of the car’s electronic components, but if your car has not been subjected to getting wet, it is likely the problem easily be fixed.

Before you replace expensive components, run through the basic checks we have discussed to see if they will resolve the problem.

I hope 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts