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Should I Upgrade the Driveshafts on My RC Car Or Monster Truck? Steel Or Plastic?

Should I Upgrade the Driveshafts on My RC Car Or Monster Truck? Steel Or Plastic?

Remote control cars and trucks are once again a very popular hobby, whether it's just driving one around your yard or street or taking it out for some serious racing. So, of course, there's also a big market for aftermarket spares and upgrades alongside the vast array of vehicles to choose from.

Remote control cars and trucks are once again a very popular hobby, whether it's just driving one around your yard, street, or taking it out for some serious racing. So, of course, there's also a big market for aftermarket spares, upgrades, and bodies readily available. With this information on mind, what upgrades should you go for, and what's the best route to take? In this post, I'm just going to barley scratch the surface and talk about driveshafts, as they're a part that many people ask about. This part is also a primary failure point, as they take a lot of wear and abuse.


What's the Best Material for My Driveshafts?

Unfortunately, this is not a straightforward question to answer. This truly depends on how you will use your RC vehicle and, of course, your budget. So what we will do here is break down available materials, as well as their pros and cons.



Aluminum is often the material used in the factory as a default material for driveshafts. It's lightweight and ideal for keeping weight down if you're racing. However, cheaper alloys are often used, which are prone to bending, cracking, and breaking. In engineering terms, these alloys have what is known as low tensile strength, meaning they are easy to bend and break. The drive for low manufacturing cost also means that these driveshafts often do not fit properly.However, don't write off aluminum! Some driveshafts are made from better quality and balance which ideal for keeping the vehicle weight down when racing.


Some aftermarket manufacturers try to make driveshafts that fit many models. This often creates the issue where the driveshaft is too long or too short. Alternatively, there are better brand name driveshafts like Hot Racing, Integy, Team Associated, and so on, that have personal customer support and products made with precision and care. The best practice when buying aluminum driveshafts is to check on the reviews where customers are using them on the model you are going to install them on to make sure they will work efficiently. Reading reviews also helps when you need to do some additional modifications for them to fit and work properly.


With speed run, extreme bashing, or  drag racing rc builds that are exceeding 80-135mph, we do not recommend using aluminum driveshafts. In most cases we see these driveshafts twist, snap, or break apart due to the high level of stress.


For light bashing, running, or for show rc cars/ trucks normally this part will hold out for it's intended purpose as long as the driveshaft is made with quality and care.



Plastic is such a large umbrella term of synthetic materials that it would be impossible to cover the entire range. In general, plastics can be split into two types:

  • Low-cost molded plastics. This type of plastic would be used in the factory-fitted driveshafts of some RCs, usually toward the low-cost end of the market. So if you're using your RC lightly, say in your yard or up and down the street, it will be absolutely fine. However, these plastics are pretty brittle and won't have the same quality of life as other materials.
  • Carbon fiber (or multi blend) reinforced plastics. This is a high-end material that is lightweight, strong, and very versatile. Driveshafts made from this material will usually last a long time and take some serious abuse. These won't usually be fitted as standard, but some excellent aftermarket carbon fiber driveshafts are available.

Many brands use different types of plastic blend recipes that are not normally disclosed publicly. An excellent example of different plastic thicknesses can be seen with Traxxas. You can physically see the differences between regular, heavy duty, and extreme heavy duty plastic driveshafts. To tell the difference you can see thickness and color change from heavy to extreme heavy duty going from lighter to darker. With the Arrma brand for example, we can see their plastic driveshafts are really thick and beefed up.

So, don't just assume that plastic driveshafts are low-end and poor quality; look into precisely what you are getting. Even if you do have cheap molded plastic driveshafts, they can be perfectly adequate if you're just a hobbyist driving your RC around your backyard with the kids.



Steel driveshafts are the most common upgrade for aftermarket RC driveshafts. Steel is a robust and durable metal that should be tough enough for most usage. The only two downsides are the weight and susceptibility to corrosion, meaning water damage would likely happen to this material.


Tip: For steel driveshafts prone to corroding you can always use some oil to keep them from corroding.


The susceptibility to corrosion can occur if your RC will gets wet or goes through the mud, beach, sand, or salt water, which is one of the worst for corrosion. However, many driveshafts will come with some anti-rusting coating, which looks like a powder coating. Remember that it is very important to  thoroughly check the specs before buying if you think rusting could be an issue.


Keep in mind there are also many other metal options out there like titanium which is more commonly used in racing models, extreme bashing, speed run, or drag racing applications. Titanium can take more abuse then steel or thicker plastics that are prone to breaks or bending under high stress.


Making the Choice

As you can see, there's a lot to consider when deciding whether to upgrade your RC's driveshafts. For example, the steel driveshafts on some models of Arrma RC vehicles are known to break, so often  customers decide to upgrade to much thicker, stronger, titanium aftermarket driveshafts.

A good piece of advice would be to chat with your local RC hobby shop. They've sold a lot of RC's and aftermarket parts, so they will have some great ideas or opinions to offer. Also, it's also great to support a local business! Would also like to recommend talking to Facebook groups for the models you have, or visit your local tracks and talk to racers, as they can have useful information on what to choose for your build. 


We only scratched the surface, but there is an abundance of information and newer materials coming out for our industry as its always constantly evolving. If you have tips for newbies, experienced rc enthusiasts, or just want to just give your point of view, please feel free to comment below!


Of course, we have in stock most upgrades at Blaze Imports, so feel free to browse our shop and contact us if you have any questions. You can call us, text, or even chat with us on our website with our live chat option (during business operating hours).


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