How Does an RC Car Work?

The Radio Transmitter Control Box

Transmitters send radio waves or electromagnetic frequencies to an RC car or other remote controlled device. The operator moves the controls on his remote control radio. The transmitter talks to the receiver via the radio carrier wave. This in turn drives the motor. A large variety of radio controllers are available on the market, and although these mostly operate on the same principles, choose the style for gripping, holding, and maneuvering that is most comfortable for you.


The receiver can be a circuit board with internal antennas or a larger antenna on the exterior of the remote controlled car. The receiver is the interpreter for the motor. Any radio signals coming from the transmitter end up at the receiver. The receiver then converts these signals for the servo motor.


The motor is the strength of the remote controlled car. Motors control wheels, propellers, or other oscillating parts. A motor is the part of the remote controlled car where energy from the power source is converted into mechanical work. This mechanical work increases or decreases electrical activity to electric powered RC cars. The motor is really nothing more than a go and stop mechanism. In more advanced RC cars, this motor may have three gears or more. The latter type of RC car motor is part of a miniature transmission system, and is useful for rugged and off-road terrain.

Power source

Power sources for remote controlled cars range from batteries to gasoline. Other than the power source, most remote controlled cars function the same. The choice of appropriate power sources depends on the design of the remote controlled car, as well as the terrain the operator wishes to run the RC car over.

Patching it all together

If the remote control car is entirely electric, then only the battery needs to be recharged. However, there are some remote controlled cars that require an additional power source. Gasoline can bring your remote controlled car to the next level of performance. That’s because a gasoline engine will give your remote controlled car lots of power, and spin the engine faster. Gasoline powered RC cars are best for rugged terrain, while electric engines are fine for practicing in the neighborhood driveway.