How to Start a Nitro Rc Car With a Drill?: A Complete Guide!

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The gas-powered nitro RC cars really have the RC car fans losing their minds. Most RC enthusiasts turn on their cars by the string, but it is problematic sometimes.

In such cases, using a drill to start the car can be an option. Yet, people seem to be confused about nitro RC car ignitions using drills.

So, how to start a nitro RC car with a drill?

Firstly, you have to remove the servo horn, the nitro engine, and the pull starter. Set all of these components aside for future uses. Secondly, install the drill starter using the power starter kit. Finally, put back the servo and the nitro engine and connect the peripherals and you’re done.

This chunk of information’s necessary but not enough. Read till the end to know all about these nitro cars!

Get started here.

Why Should You Choose Drill Start for a Nitro RC Car?

As you may know, there are a lot of ways to start a nitro RC car. Among them, the string and drill start method is the most famous one. The string method is also known as the pull start.

Now by convention, many people go for the pull start method. The pull start method works, but it has some downsides.

This method fails a lot of times. You may have inspected the RC car not budging after using the pull start method. Also, the string can break when pulling it. Then the ignition of the RC car won’t be completed! 

So you can consider a drill start for these cases.

Note that, a drill start is not the default starting method of any RC car. 

It has to be installed separately. After installing the RC drill starter, you have to keep using it. The string start method won’t work when the drill start is installed.

Now, if you have a drill starter installed or you are planning to install one, go ahead! It is a better option than the old string start method. The drill start does not change anything about the nitro RC car.

The drill start method is faster than the string start method. This makes the driving of the nitro RC car more convenient. 

Also, the start process is easier than the string start method. So, between the string and drill start method, the drill wins for being hasty and easy.

Now, can you start a nitro RC car with a drill? Well, the short answer is- yes! You can do it too. For you, I have explained the whole process step by step below. 

Give it a good read!

How to Drill Start a Nitro RC Car?

Before I start telling you the methods, just know that drill-starting nitro RC cars are easy. It can get rid of many annoying problems as well. Additionally, if you’re not keen on using a glow starter, drill-starting is pretty useful.

However, you will be needing a few tools to properly drill and start your nitro RC car. I’ve mentioned the tools; here is the list of tools you will be needing-

  • Backing plate
  • Hex gear
  • Starter rod
  • Drill and screws

These are the elements of a power starter kit for RC cars. Now that you have the tools, you only need to know the method right? Do not worry.

Below, I have condensed the drill start method procedure into 6 simple steps. Following them precisely and in sequence will result in successful drill starts every time! 

So, give it a good read and try to understand the steps. 

Step 1: Take out Servo Horn

Servo horns are a great tool for nitro RC cars. Still, they need to be removed temporarily, in order to drill start the car. It’s the same for all engines, starting from regular to vertex nitro engines.

But let me tell you, the servo horn removal process is a bit tricky. 

Firstly, locate the servo horn and take it out of the engine of your nitro RC car. The horn is usually attached with hex screws.

You have to remove 3-4 hex screws in order to remove the horn. The screws should be located at the links of the throttles and brake actuator. Unscrew these and also unscrew the hex screw at the top of the horn.

Depending on the screw type, you will need good quality Allen and hex screwdrivers. Here are some suggestions for these screwdrivers-

Product 1 
Product 2 

By using these screwdrivers, the screws won’t be corroded. Also, you’ll be saving tons of time!

Step 2: Take out Engine

After the servo horn, take out the engine too. The surface plate of the car should be protecting the engine.

So, unscrew the screws associated with the surface plate. Finally, take out the nitro engine and set it aside.

Carefully detach the fuel lines and exhaust pipes. They should take no force to get detached. Remember, using too much force may cause damage to them.

Step 3: Take out Pull Start 

This step should be commenced after properly taking out the nitro engine from your car. After the engine, you have to remove the pull start from your car. 

The drill start method can only be implemented after removing the pull start. So, it is an essential step.

Behind the nitro engine, there should be a plastic section. That is the pull start section of the car. The plastic cap section should be attached to the engine by some screws. Unscrew them gently.

Whilst unscrewing, you should put slight pressure on the cap. It will prevent it from bouncing back as there are springs under it. 

Also, if any of the screws are stuck, follow any methods of removing stuck screws.

Finally after unscrewing the pull cap, set it aside. Although you won’t be needing it for the drill start method, you can keep it. Downgrading start methods in the future will require a pull cap.

Step 4: Drill Starter Setup

Now is the moment you have been waiting for, install the drill starter. You can use the required components mentioned earlier.

Remove the backplate of the drill starter and align the screw holes. Take a couple of screws from the kit; long ones if possible. Then, screw the backplate in again.

Step 5: Put The Nitro Engine Back to its Place

Now that the drill starter is in place, it is time to put the engine back. Place the nitro engine back in the car. Note that, you will have to keep a front-facing flywheel while doing this.

Flip the car over and screw the engine in. Keep some free tension so the engine can move. After screwing the engine in, flip the car straight. 

Now, the brake, and throttle screws should be screwed back to the servo horn.

After that, take the throttle linkage and connect it with the carburetor assembly. Look for the T-shaped hole in your car to find the carburetor.

Finally, join the servo board and brake connector together. Then when the servo is attached, reconnect the fuel and exhaust line.

Step 6: Drill Start the Nitro Car

Now you are ready to drill start your favorite car! Turn on the RC controller and the ESC. Prime the nitro engine and insert the igniter in the exhaust plug.

Connect the drill machine with the drill rod and insert the head of the rod into the socket. Then, turn on the drill.

Turning on the drill will basically ignite the engine and you’re good to go! It will take a maximum of 4-5 seconds to initialize the engine. 

That’s about it; Congratulations! Now you know how to start a nitro car without a pull start.


Can you make your own nitro fuel for RC cars?

Yes, you can actually make your own nitro fuel for your nitro RC cars. Knowing the proper measurements of the different chemical compounds is essential for this. You will be needing methanol, oil, and nitromethane. You can mix all of them in a Pyrex glass and shake them to produce the nitro fuel.

How long does it take to break in a nitro RC car?

Break in a nitro RC car can take up to 3 hours in total. The break-in is really important for the performance and overall longevity of nitro RC cars. The break-in can be performed at home. You will require about 3-5 tanks of nitro fuel to perform a successful break-in. Then, the car should be good to go!

Is nitro real?

Yes, nitro is actually real. Many people think that nitro is some fictional element that’s only seen in movies. Yet, the nitro actually exists that boosts the car. Nitrous oxide is commonly used for nitro in cars. Burning the nitrous oxide in presence of oxygen is what gives the car the boost it needs.

The Final Words

You’ve reached the end of this article. Hopefully, now you clearly know how to start a nitro RC car with a drill.

If the drill start seems too complex for you, downgrade it to pull start. Both can get the nitro RC car running!

Wishing you many successful drill starts!

About the author

Travis Murray

I am Travis Murray, and my love for RC began in 2017. It gradually turned into a passion, leading me to become an RC enthusiast and blogger. I write in-depth reviews and DIY guides for RC enthusiasts to provide troubleshooting tips and insider knowledge to help starters find the hidden gems in the hobby.
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