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Choosing the right shock oil for your RC car

One of the essential parts of an RC car's suspension system is the shock absorbers. Shock oils play an important role in determining how well your RC car can handle various terrains and obstacles. In this article, we will discuss the importance of shock oils and guide you in choosing the right shock oils for different types of RC cars.

Understanding Shock Oils

Shock oils, also known as damper oils, are specialized fluids used to fill the shock absorbers in RC cars. These oils control the damping rate, which is the resistance the dampers offer when compressing and extending. The damping rate determines how quickly the suspension reacts to bumps and hits, helping the RC car to maintain stability, traction and total control.

The viscosity of shock oils is measured in "weight" (wt) or "cst" (centistokes). A higher weight or cst means thicker oil, which makes for a slower and stiffer suspension response. In contrast, lower weight or cst equates to thinner oil, offering a quicker and softer suspension response.

Different types of RC cars

  1. On-Road RC Cars: On-road RC cars are designed for smooth, asphalted surfaces such as roads or racetracks. These cars need high speed and precise turns. For on-road RC cars, lighter viscosity shock oils are ideal, usually ranging from 20wt to 40wt. The lighter oil allows the car to maintain better traction and more responsive during high-speed cornering.

  2. Off-Road Buggies and Trucks: Off-road buggies and trucks are built to handle rough and uneven terrain such as mud, gravel, grass and sand. To effectively address these conditions, thicker shock oils are desired. A common range for off-road buggies and trucks is between 40wt and 60wt, which provides more cushioning and stability to handle jumps and landings.

  3. Rock Crawlers: Rock crawlers are slow moving RC cars designed to navigate challenging terrains with large obstacles such as rocks and hills. In this case extremely thick shock oils are used, often above 60wt. The high viscosity of the oil causes the suspension to move very slowly, helping the RC car maintain traction on steep hills and uneven surfaces.

  4. Short Course Trucks: Short course trucks are versatile RC vehicles that can run on both road and off road tracks. Therefore, the shock oils for these trucks usually fall in the mid range, around 30wt to 50wt. This balance offers a good compromise between stability and agility for different types of jobs.

Convert WT to CST

WT (Weight) CST (Centistokes)
10 100
15 150
20 200
25 275
30 350
35 400
40 500
45 550
50 650
55 700
60 800

Note that these conversions are not exact, as the viscosity of oils can sometimes vary between different manufacturers. It is always best to check if the shock oil manufacturer provides a conversion guide.


Choosing the right shock oils is essential to optimizing the performance and handling of your RC car. Remember that shock oils should be chosen based on the type of RC car and the specific terrain you want to drive. Always refer to manufacturer guidelines and experiment with different viscosities to find the setup that suits your riding style and preferences.

Finally, when changing shock oils, make sure to clean and properly maintain the shock absorbers regularly. Proper maintenance will ensure that your RC car performs at its best and extends the life of its essential parts, giving you countless hours of thrilling RC driving pleasure.

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