How to Start Your Nitro RC Without Glow Starter: 4 Easy Alternatives!

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Depending on a glow starter to start your Nitro RC is annoying sometimes. Because a glow starter might have issues, and you can even forget it at home. But we can’t let this spoil all the fun, right?  

So, why don’t we find out how to start your Nitro RC without a glow starter?

Firstly, you can always go for an electric starter. But make sure you are going simultaneously from shaft starter to onboard starter. Pull start is another easy alternative. Attach the car to the starter box to bump start, or just build your own DIY glow starter.

Still not getting it? No worries, just head into the details and start your Nitro RC without a glow starter easily!

4 Simple Alternatives to Start Nitro RC Without a Glow Starter 

We need to comprehend a fact, that is, a glow starter is not needed to get the engine started. We only need a glow starter to ignite the fuel.

If other methods help you start your engine, you’re good to go!

The first method we need to focus on is the electric starter method. Let’s jump into it!

Method 1 of 4:  Electric Starter

There are two starters that you need to follow consecutively. 

The first one is the Shaft Starter. It’s noticeable because it has a unique gearbox. There will be an electric motor with the shaft.

Well, that’s all you need. Just push the button. Wait till the engine starts. This push will lead to spinning the engine.

Many RC vehicle models include an electric starting system. You can also retrofit with your one if you don’t have one.

Now, let’s go over the onboard starter. You are going to see a small motor on the electric system of your RC car.

The motor is a AAA battery-powered tool. This motor will supply power to your RC car. 

It’s just an easy way to ignite your nitro engine without a nitro glow plug.

If the first method did not work for you, try the second.

Method 2 of 4: Recoil Starter

The other name of this method is the pull starter. Have you ever tried starting your Lawnmower by pulling? Well, You’ve probably heard of it.

First, you need to find out the pull cord which is attached to your nitro engine. 

Found the pull cord? Now just give a sudden pull to the cord. If it is still not igniting the engine, give another.

Whenever you are pulling that cord, the flywheel of your RC car engages. That’s how your engine ignites.

This is our least favorite option. Because it shifts the engine’s gravitational pull.

Keep in mind that, you need multiple pulls if the temperature of your engine is less.

If your RC car doesn’t move even after the pull start, you can try the bump start method.

Method 3 of 4: Bump Start

If you are in an RC racing community for a while, you might already know this. A great method to start is the starter box or bump-start.

The starter box system does not come equipped with your car. So, you need a starter box fitted with a rubber disk.

To establish contact with the flywheel, the rubber disk will spin. This whole mechanism is electric-powered.

Now, just attach your RC car with the starter box. You can simply lower the RC car to directly interact with the flywheel 

This will ensure that the flywheel collides with the disk.

Wait for a while and let the engine get started. Your RC car will start moving eventually. If it’s not moving straight, there might be issues with the steering

Method 4 of 4: Building DIY Glow Starter

This might be a complex method. But trust me, It’s worth it!.

First of all, you need some supplies before assembling. You should find these supplies available locally.

Just know that we are making a simple glow starter. So, all you need is a pair of batteries (AA), wire (which should be at least 6 inches long), and electrical tape.

We need battery connectivity. So you need to attach two or more nails to any side of the battery. Make sure it is secured with electrical tape.

Make sure you have a single positive side and a single negative side. 

Additionally, you can attach alligator clips to the nail end. But don’t let those chips connect to each other. 

Make sure you are using rechargeable batteries. Keep your glow starter charged before you connect.

There you go with your homemade glow starter

Just connect the red wire to your RC car’s cooling head. The black wire must be linked to the housing of the plug.

Now, to fire up your RC car just connect the drill to the bearing. When you start the attached drill your Nitro RC car should start right up!

But if all these seem too much of a hassle, there are some glow starter alternatives on the market. 

We suggested some amazing glow starter kits for your Nitro RC car. Check them out!

Product 1 
Product 2 

 Now, you might be wondering about some ways to prevent this from happening again, right? Well, all it takes is a little maintenance.

Let’s know all about it so that you don’t face this botheration again.

Maintaining Your Nitro RC Car

If your Nitro RC car was in perfect condition when you bought it, you don’t need to do a lot. 

But it’s better not to overuse your RC car. Take a break while you have already used it for 1-2 hours. If you continuously use it, your RC car will stop responding to throttle at a time.

Avoid using the same fuel over and over again. It will lead to bad fuel storage. It might even leak the fuel pipes.

Make sure you are not overflowing the tank. Take care of the exhaust pipe of your RC car.

That is all!


Here are some of the most frequent questions people ask on this topic

Can I push start my Nitro RC car?

Yes, you can. However, pushing start your RC car might not be such a good idea. As there is a chance of the engine exploding. So we suggest you not go for a push start.

Can I make a glow plug igniter with an AA battery?

Yes, you can. The battery will provide enough power to run the glow plug ignitor. But you also need a small electric motor to start the engine. This device will burn the fuel in the air-fuel mixture to start your engine.

Can I start my Nitro RC car with a drill?

Tes, you can. But it’s better to try out other alternatives. Because if you only use the drill to start you have to worry about the string braking. So, we recommend you try using a glow ignitor.


Now you know how to start your Nitro RC without a glow starter. The alternatives we mentioned are safe for your RC car so stop worrying.

Now, grab your Nitro RC car because you can start it without the glow starter!

Thank you for sticking around with us till the end!

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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