RC Car Steering Not Working

RC Car Steering Not Working: Here’s How to Fix It!

RC cars are really fun to operate. But it is quite frustrating if you can’t steer your RC car properly. However, fortunately, it is super easy to fix it.

So, why is your RC car steering not working?

A faulty servo, loose connections, faulty receiver and faulty transmitter- these are the main culprits behind an RC car steering not working. Usually replacing the servo and securing the connections along with the linkages will effectively fix the issues. 

That’s not enough to fix your issues. That’s why I’ve explained all the causes with their solutions in greater detail. 

Let’s begin reading!

How Does RC Steering Work?

There are two kinds of RC Steering mechanisms. The rack-and-pinion mechanism and the bell crank mechanism. There are more, but these are the mainstream mechanisms RC cars utilize. 

Don’t worry! I’m not going to leave it at that. I’ll explain both the systems in greater detail now. Here we go-

Rack-and-Pinion

Rack-and-Pinion utilizes the steering rack which is connected to tooth-like pinions with a tie rod. The pinions are connected with the wheels. 

An image of Rack-Pinion system
Source: Pinterest

In a rack-and-pinion system, this is what happens when you move the steering wheel-

  • The pinions connected to the other end of the tie rod move. 
  • Then, the wheels attached to the pinions turn. 
  • Rinse, and repeat. 

This is basically how a Rack-and-Pinion steering system works. The more pinions you have the sharper turns you can take. Let’s move on to the second mechanism. 

Bell Crank Mechanism

A bell crank steering system utilizes the push and pull principle. This is where it differs from the rack-and-pinion system. 

An Image of the bell-crank steering system in RC
Source: RCJaz UK

Once you turn the steering towards a direction, this is what happens- 

  • The steering arm pulls/pushes one end of the crack to the front or the rear.
  • Then, the other end’s linkage pushes left or right in response. 
  • Finally, The wheels turn in a certain direction as a result. 

That’s the mechanical part. Now here is what happens when you turn the transmitter stick to a direction to turn the RC car- 

  • The transmitter sends the signal to the servomechanism. 
  • The servo controls the RC steering system to make the wheels turn. 

Now you know how the steering system of an RC car works. So, I’ll answer why yours doesn’t.

Why Is My RC Car Steering Not Working?

Ever got frustrated that your RC car hit the wall because you couldn’t turn it? You’re not the only one. 

Throughout the years in the hobby, I faced this problem often to say the least. Even relatively newer companies like New Bright RC have steering problems. 

From my experience, there are 3 major reasons why your RC car steering is not working. They are-

  1. Faulty Steering Servo: Damaged servo gears, frayed wirings, incompatible servo horn. 
  1. Loose Connection/ Faulty Linkage: Loose servo connection, damaged steering rack linkage.
  1. Radio and Servo Connection: Faulty receiver, Faulty transmitter. 

That wraps up the reasons. These are usually the reasons that cause RC steering to stop working. 

How To Fix Unresponsive RC Steering?

You should take different measures depending on the reasons to fix a RC steering that’s not working. Here’s my take on how you can fix your rc car steering- 

Repair or Replace the Servo

Most problems with the RC car steerings end up being traced to the servo. Repairing or replacing the servo will usually bring your steering back to life if it stopped working.


Let’s first talk about the cheaper repairs before moving to the expensive replacements. These will effectively fix your RC car steering servo if it’s not responding-

  • Frayed Servo Wires: All you have to do is, replace the older set of wires with a newer one.

    Firstly, you’ll have to disconnect the older wires carefully. Then, install the newer wires and connect it in the right order.

    With the frayed wires fixed, now your servo will work as it should, bringing the steering back to life.
  • Damaged Servo Gears: Similar to the wiring, All you have to do is replace the older gears with new ones. Fortunately, all the servo components are widely available across online markets like Amazon or Aliexpress. 
  • Incompatible Servo Horn: If you have recently changed servo horns or built your own RC kit, this makes sense.

    I have mistakenly used an incompatible servo horn before and ended up with a nonfunctioning steering myself. This RC car steering servo problem is more of an amateur’s mistake rather than a problem.

    All you have to do is get a compatible Servo horn to go with your servo. Then replace the incompatible one with the new one. 
  • Replace the Servo: If your rc car servo is still not working after the other solutions, this is your option. Just buy a new servo and replace the old one.

    Although replacing the servo is the more expensive option, it’s the single solution to all rc steering servo problems. 

With the servo fiasco over, let’s move on to the second solution of the day. 

Loose Connection Shenanigans

Loose connection is a major offender in most RC car issues. Any kind of loose connection or damage to the linkage can cause the RC steering to stop working. However, it is just as easy to fix. Re-connecting the linkages/connections often fixes the steering problems. 

A meme about loose connections
A meme about the loose connection situation

These are the steps you should take to fix loose connection for any RC steering:

  • Firstly, unscrew the screws holding the chassis in place and take it off. 
  • Then, disconnect the connections and linkages related to the servo, steering rack and wheels. 
  • Finally, reconnect all of the connections and linkages and properly secure them. 

Now, if your RC car still won’t turn, then replacing the linkages and connections will fix your unresponsive RC steering. 

As a bonus, replacing the connections will also fix your RC car steering not centering.

It can also fix your problem if your RC throttle is working and steering isn’t. However, there’s a different solution, if the problem you’re facing is the opposite. In other words, if your steering is working but the throttle isn’t.

Well since I’m done talking about loose connection, it’s time to talk about bad connection. 

Radio-Servo Connection

Steering problems caused by radio-servo connection issues can easily be fixed by replacing the receiver, and the transmitter. That primarily depends on which of the two the problem is in. 

  • Replace The Transmitter: First, check if the RC car turns fine with another transmitter. If it does, then you need to replace yours.

    The
    DUMBORC X6 is a solid replacement for your old transmitter. But Flysky FS-GT3B is another competent go-to. 
  • Replace The Receiver: Well, if the RC car doesn’t work with any transmitter, then you need to replace the receiver.

    It’s better to get professional help with this replacement. Things can get a little messy if you don’t know what you’re doing with this one. 

Still here? Well here’s a little bonus for you for staying throughout the article. 

Adjusting The Car Steering

You usually set the steering trim in the process of setting a new RC car up. Any mess-ups in this part leads to the RC car steering to being unresponsive. 

Without further ado, here’s how you can adjust your RC car steering:

  • First, you have to set your steering trim properly in your transmitter. You must center the trim and make sure it is not leaning towards any direction. 
  • Then you have to go to the sub-trim menu of your transmitter and set the steering to 0 if the option is available to you. 
  • Afterwards, adjust the endpoints. Keep an eye on your servo as you set the endpoints. Set it as high as you can for both left and right without straining it. 
  • Once you’re done with the transmitter, it’s time to get into the insides. Make sure the servo arm is set perpendicularly to the servo. 
  • Switch to a longer servo horn to get more steering in your RC car. 

With these nifty tricks you can adjust your RC car for maximum steering. Here’s a youtube video explaining all the adjustments- 

I’ll now answer some of your frequently asked questions before concluding the article.

FAQs

How do I reset my RC car steering wheel?

If you look where the steering bit connects the servo take it off. Make sure the wheels are set straight and put it back on.

How do I know if my RC servo is bad?

Try plugging the servo in another channel to check if your servo is bad or not. If your servo responds, rest assured. Because it is working properly.

How much does an RC car cost?

Standard prices start from $30 and can cost up to 800 dollars. Prices can also exceed 1000 dollars if you are looking for custom-made RC cars.

Final Words

I am now at the end of this discussion. Hope this solves your issue on why your RC car steering is not working.
Were you able to solve the steering issues with your RC car? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, see you!

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