RC Car Not Responding to Throttle – Diagnosis & Fixes

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You look forward to your leisure time because that’s when you can take out your RC car for a spin.

But as you try to do that, your car doesn’t respond. You’re worried as to what might be the cause.

So, what can cause an RC car not responding to throttle?

Firstly you should check for basic errors like a dead battery or a loose connection. Then you can move on to an uncalibrated throttle. Sometimes incompatible transmitters can be the cause too. Damaged motors in the RC or any trouble with the throttle servo can also cause this problem.

So that’s the gist of it. But to fully understand it and tackle the problem, you surely need more. That’s why I have this article for you.

So let’s jump right into it!

What Can Cause RC Cars to Not Respond to Throttle?

Rc cars are really fun to play with in your free time. But nowadays the popularity of RC has soared through the roofs.

Not only people of all ages buy this for casual entertainment. There are casual tournaments and lots of enthusiasm going on around. 

But whether you are just a casual enjoyer or someone who is totally invested in RCs, one thing is for sure. If your controls don’t work how it’s supposed to, it is sure to irritate you a lot.

The way we signal our cars how to move around is the throttle. It takes our car forwards and brakes when necessary. Also, the direction changing to the sides is done by a steering wheel.

The throttle needs to be calibrated perfectly to make the RC understand when to go and when to brake. There are detailed instructions for that, which comes in the box.

But there are a few scenarios when you see your rc car not responding to controller. We need to know what are the causes behind that if we wish to solve them.

The most basic thing to assume would be a dead battery, an uncalibrated or incompatible throttle. Also, some problems are in the wiring.

These are certainly probable causes. But other than these, there are more complex problems that can occur. To know those issues, we must understand the signs and indications of those problems.

So let’s check out what errors can cause the throttle to behave badly. Alongside them, explore some solutions to those as well.

Unresponsive Throttle: Common Causes & Solutions 

If your RC car doesn’t respond when you turn the throttle, it’s sure that there’s something wrong. Now it can be the most basic thing with a quick fix.

It can be something that needs you to change your whole throttle. Whatever it is, we need to find out the cause behind it and solve it as efficiently as possible.

So let’s check out some of the common and probable causes behind why won’t my rc car move.

1. Dead Battery Or Loose Connection 

Let’s start off with the most basic thing that can happen. Dead batteries can happen all the time.

If you forgot to charge your battery or there is something wrong with it, it doesn’t hold as much energy as before. That’s why you should look out if your battery is going bad.


Check the batteries in your remote as well as your RC. Put another battery in them to check if they work now.

Sometimes a loose wire can be the culprit as well. If your battery works fine before you move on to any other complex process. Check if there is any wire that’s loose, and push it with a bit of force, or solder it if you can.

2. Calibration Problem & Troubles With the ESC

The way your throttle communicates with the RC is via radio transmission. The transmitter and the receiver need to be calibrated properly to get that communication.

You need to check for all of the compatible devices. Because most times you can not bind any transmitter to any receiver.

Also, you need to see if the ESC is calibrated properly. Because if that is not calibrated beforehand, your RC  might get the transmission but not understand how it works.


To solve the transmitter and receiver problem, the first thing you should do is to read the manual for your RC and figure out which is the right transmitter for it.

If you just want to skip the hassle, you can always use a universal transmitter.

If you think an uncalibrated ESC is the main problem, then you need to calibrate it.

Press and hold the button till it turns into solid light. Then turn your throttle to max speed. You’ll hear a confirmation beep.

Without delay, pull the throttle down to maximum brake and wait for another beep. That way you’ll be able to calibrate your throttle. Remember not to turn on the transmitter while holding the throttle away from neutral.

That might confuse the ESC. You don’t want that as the ESC is what basically runs your car using the command.

3. Damaged Throttle Servo & Motors

The throttle servos mainly control the driving of your RC and the steering is controlled separately. Sometimes due to a fault in the transmitter or wiring, you can see your rc car not responding to steering, as well as throttle.

If your RC car steers but won’t drive when you turn the throttle, that means your throttle servos are in trouble.

To be perfectly sure about it, you can buy a servo tester. Here are some options you can choose from.


Hopefully this makes it easier for you to troubleshoot your problem!

And if you notice that your throttle servos are fine too. Then as the last resort, you can say the RC motors are not working or the connection to the motor and ESC could be loose or shorted out.

In that case, you have to know how to connect esc to a motor.


The easy solution would be to just replace the servo and motor. But if you want to try some DIY then you can follow this.

Flip your servo over and unscrew it. Examine the gears. If you notice something is broken or damaged, you can take note of the parts number.

You can buy that part online and it comes with detailed instructions on how to properly install it.

For the motor, however, there isn’t much you can do. You can open it up and try to clean it with some WD-40 or change the ball bearing or magnets if they are misaligned or damaged.

But you do need some professional knowledge about mechanical working. A lot of things can go wrong. So it’ll be best if you just replace them.


What Frequency Is Used By RC Cars?

RC cars in both hobby grade and toy grade cars use the same radio frequency.  They use a 27 Mhz radio frequency with up to 6 colored bands. For example, the 26.995 Mhz is the brown band and 27.045 Mhz is the red band.

Is Bigger Antenna Better For RC Cars?

No, actually it doesn’t matter how big your antenna is. The antenna’s height is adjusted to their frequencies. So the longer the antenna is, the lower frequency it can catch. As the frequency of RC cars is predetermined, you can’t get any benefit from a bigger antenna.

Are RC Cars Waterproof?

No, the entire body of the RC car is not waterproof. There are places where the RC car won’t get damaged by water. So slight rain or splashes of water might be fine. But if you totally submerge it into water. Or let it in the rain for too long. It might get problems due to short circuits.

Wrapping Up

Now you should know what to do if you see your rc car not responding to throttle. Taking good care of your car and regular checks can lengthen your car’s lifetime. 

Until next time, take care!

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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