Wondering Why We Punch Holes In RC Tires? Here’s Why.

You’ve probably seen on many forums about punching holes in RC tires. If you are new to this you’re probably thinking, what on earth is this about? anywhere you look there are debates as to whether punching holes in RC tires should be done, and if it is done then how do we go about doing it in the correct way. The main question is why punch holes in RC tires? I’ve done some research to find out.

Why punch holes in RC tires? The main reasons for punching holes in RC tires, also known as tire venting is to create an escape path for dirt and moisture, a smoother driving experience and to prevent RC tires from bouncing.

So for whatever reason you choose to vent tires on your RC vehicle, theres a lot of things to take into account;

  • The type of vehicle you have.
  • How you use your vehicle.
  • Your vehicle’s performance.
  • Having knowledge about RC tires.

RC Tires Explained

Having some knowledge about RC tires will help you decide whether venting them is right for you.

The difference between RC and real tires is what supports the tire. RC tires are supported by foam inserts, as opposed to compressed air. There’s no valve on an RC wheel.

An RC foam insert is a major factor that plays into how RC tires perform.

There are many types of foams, and if you start looking, it can get very confusing and you may wonder which type would suit you best. The only way to know this is to keep driving your RC vehicle. Take note of how it handles on different surfaces, and get to know the way you want to drive it to see which type would suit you best. To keep it simple, the main three are:

  • Regular foams. These usually come provided by the manufacturer and suitable if you are a beginner.
  • Moulded foams. These are more expensive, they are reusable and let the tire work to its full potential.
  • Dual staged foams. These are usually firmer on the edges but softer in the centre, suited for bumpy terrain, the firm edges handle corners better and the soft centres handle the bumps.

When it comes to venting, you need to know whether your foams are open-celled or closed-celled.

Open-celled foams are usually cheaper, and mostly provided by the manufacturer when you buy your car. They are cheaper to produce and are cut from larger pieces of foam to produce a basic shape. As they are open-celled they become porous, allowing them to breathe, but they break down easily and soak up water. If you vent your tires this will help the water to escape and you may get more use out of them for a little longer until having to replace them.

Closed-celled foams are usually put into moulds and have unique shapes that contribute to different types of handling. These types of foams are non-porous and prevent water from soaking in, so venting your tires won’t affect the foams as much, but it’s still a good idea so water and dirt can escape allowing for a more balanced drive.

If for what ever reason you remove your foams after a drive and they are wet, theres a few ways to dry them out:

  • Put your foams in a room with a dehumidifier.
  • Use a tumble dryer.
  • If its nice outside, put them in the sun!

As opposed to tires on a car, RC tires are glued to their rims, if the tires are not glued to the rims, this will cause the tire to spin on the rim causing loss of speed.

There’s loads of special tire glues out there but if you’re a beginner just try using some loctite for practice.

If you have glued your tires before and wondering if you can reglue your RC tires. My article covering this subject should help.

Glueing tires to rims is quite an easy process and there are many videos out there that explain how to do this.

As RC tires are glued to the rims, this creates a total seal. If your tires and your rims are not vented you may find that your tires become rigid causing you to lose traction to the surface you are driving on, they will bounce when going over bumps or jumps and possibly tear the tire from the rim on landing.

Now you have some knowledge on your RC tires, let’s look at what type of RC vehicle you have and how you use it.

How Do You Use Your RC Vehicle?

The type of vehicle and kind of terrain you run your vehicle on has a big impact on whether you should vent your RC tires.

If you have a rock crawler, in most cases it’s not recommended to vent the tires, if you vent the tires it’s hard to get rid of any dirt and water because the wheels don’t spin fast enough to fling any debris out. If the foams get wet then the only way to dry them out is to disassemble them. It’s best to keep the tires well sealed, but let’s say you take your crawler to a high elevation and you see that the tire expands due to change in air pressure, pop the wheel bead out to release some air.

If you have race tires, its recommended to vent them as you will be driving at high speeds and this will cause them to expand and doesn’t help traction. With this said most on-road racers that usually only race on asphalt, don’t vent their tires.

If you have a monster truck, the wheels are usually vented and prevents the tires from expanding so there isn’t the need to vent the tires unless you are driving on dirt or sand or in wet conditions, then venting the tires will allow anything that gets in to escape.

In conclusion, if you use your RC vehicle for bashing, off-road racing, or you have a buggy or a truggy where the conditions are wet and dirty then its recommended to vent your tires.

NOTE: With all the above mentioned, these are only general recommendations, you should seek advice from an expert or the manufacturer of your specific car or tire before venting your tires.

So Why Are There Holes In The Rims?

Holes in the rims are there to allow the tire to breathe when driving. Let’s say you are driving your RC vehicle at a high rpm, it allows air to escape so the tires can keep their shape. As the tires are glued to the rims, they are totally sealed so if you do a jump then your vehicle would bounce on landing if there are no holes in the rims.

Most rims come vented from the manufacturer, but if the rims are not vented and you’ve noticed by your car’s performance that they need venting, then you can drill one or two 1/8″ or 3mm holes in them.

How To Punch Holes In Tires.

There are lots of ways to punch holes in tires, some say to drill them, some use a hobby knife, and I’ve even heard of some people using a soldering iron.

The idea is to punch a clean hole in the tire to prevent tear.

Best Method For Unmounted Tires.

The best tool to punch holes in RC tires when they are unmounted is by using a revolving leather punch. A leather punch has various hole size settings and you can get one from most hardware stores. It’s used to punch clean holes in belts, it can also be used for cork, thin wood, card and rubber.

Click here for a good priced leather hole punch from Amazon.

There are many opinions on how many holes to punch, and where to punch them on the tire, and what size hole to punch.

In most cases, it’s best to punch two 1/8″ or 3mm holes in the centre of the tire at opposite ends.

Watch this helpful video on how to punch unmounted RC tires;

Best Method For Mounted Tires.

This is a real easy way to punch nice clean holes in your RC tires if they are mounted to the rims.

Buy a 3/16″ or 5mm brass rod, you can get one in most hardware stores or hobby shops, put it in your drill and sharpen the end with a razor blade. Make sure its really sharp and drill your holes, this will produce a nice clean 1/8″ or 3mm hole in the tire.

Click here to check their price on Amazon.

Watch this helpful video on how to drill holes on a mounted RC tire with a brass rod;

A good tip after driving your RC vehicle in wet conditions is to pick up the vehicle, give a little throttle and you’ll see the water spray out.


There is no definite answer whether you should punch holes in your RC tires, it’s really down to you to see if you need to do it. We all have our own ways of using our RC vehicles and where we drive them.

To play it safe, why not buy a cheap set of tires, start off with just one small hole and give it a try and go from there… then add holes if needed. Keep tinkering and find what suits you best for your needs.



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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