TIPS & TRICKS FOR SCALEXTRIC/SLOT CARS & TRACKS
This page has ‘Tips & Tricks’ for how to fix different issues people have with their Scalextric track, from cleaning the track to fixing the braids. This page also has advice on getting the best out of your Scalextric/Slot Car.
- How To Fix A Snapped Blade/Fin
- Braid Connections & Changing Braids
- Fixing Old/Worn Scalextric Track/Connections
- How To Clean Slot Car Track Rails
- How To Get Rid Of Corrosion
- 7 Ways To Get More Tyre Grip
- Advice On How To Keep Your Slot Car On The Track
- NSR Car Setup and Tuning Guide (downloadable PDF)
How to Fix a Snapped Blade/Fin
How to change the blade on your Scalextric car. Things you will need:
- Small phillips screwdriver (a magnetic one makes it easier)
- New glide braid, which you can get from many places (we’ve listed a couple below)
- Pendle Slot Racing are really helpful and it’s good to support independent companies:
- Scalextric them self-stock them too:
Braid Connections & Changing Braids
In this very short video above, we show you how to make sure your braids are set up correctly, but also how to make sure you have put your new braid on in the correct way. Both of these simple fixes can save you hours trying to find the problem with your track. If there are no issues with your car, CLICK HERE and check out the ‘Fixing Old/Worn Scalextric Track/Connections‘ section of this page. as it may be your track that needs looking at
Fixing Old/Worn Scalextric Track/Connections
The above video is just a quick and easy fix to your connection issues. Whether you have just got your track out the loft l or it’s new but has started being dodgy. This fix is quick, effective and easy to do.
How to Clean Scalextric/Slot Car Track Rails
Slot car racing is an exciting hobby, but your need for speed may be left unfulfilled if you haven’t cleaned your rails in a while. The rails transfer electricity to the cars and hold them in place, so the cleaner they are, the faster and smoother your cars will be. A simple wipe down is usually more than enough to keep your tracks clean, but if the cars keep stalling or sliding off the track, the rails may be corroded. Don’t worry, you can get rid of corrosion, too!
1.Dampen a clean cloth with warm water for a basic cleaning. There are special track cleaners out there, but water works just fine for everyday cleaning. Grab a clean bar rag or microfiber cloth and get it damp. Wring out any excess water—you don’t need a lot of moisture for this.
Wipe down the rails once a week if you keep your tracks set up permanently. If you keep the tracks stored in a box, clean them whenever you take them out.
2. Use braid conditioner instead of water for the smoothest ride possible. If you’re serious about your speed, invest in a special conditioner to increase the conductivity of the braids. The braids are the metal threads that stick out of the slot car and rest on the rails. When you turn the car on, the electrical current from the rail flows through the braids and makes the car move.
You can buy braid conditioner online or at hobby shops that sell model railroad materials. If you’re an avid slot car enthusiast or interested in competitive racing, go for the braid conditioner. The minor advantage over water will be worth it.
3. Run the dampened cloth over the track in a smooth, even motion. Hold the damp portion of the cloth downward and drag it across the surface of the track in the direction that the cars travel. Work your way all the way around the track to lift up any surface dirt and dust that’s resting on your rails.
You can start on any portion of the track. Each track length is identical, so it doesn’t matter where you begin so long as you cover the entire course. If your track is disassembled, just clean each track length individually.
4. Reload the cloth and wipe the tracks down another 2-3 times. After you’ve given the tracks a nice surface wipe, reload your cloth with more water or braid conditioner. Give the tracks an additional 2-3 wipe-downs to make sure you’re getting everything off of the rails. You don’t need to push down super hard or anything. A gentle wipe will do the trick.
5. Dry the track by hand with a clean microfiber cloth to prevent rust. Grab a fresh microfiber cloth and fold it up a few times. Drag it around the track in the same direction that you wiped it down. Work the cloth around the track repeatedly to soak up all of the moisture. Hit the rails with a few bursts of canned air to speed the drying process up.
6. Drive a slot car around the track a few times to clean inside the rails. You can’t reach inside of the rails, but you know what can? Your slot cars! Set any slot car down and insert the push pin under the car into the rail. Turn it on and drive it around the track 3-5 times to clean the interior gap between the rails out. When you’re done, take the slot car off the track and wipe off the push pin to get rid of any gunk it picked up from the track. If your cars were stalling before and continue to stall after you wipe down the tracks, your rails are probably corroded. You may not be able to see any corrosion since the rails are so small, but it’s definitely there if your cars are stalling or sliding.
How to Get Rid of Corrosion
1.Grab a fine drywall sponge to restore your rails. Head to the construction supply store and pick up a drywall sanding sponge. Anything 120-grit or higher will work for this. The sponge gently wears away the corroded metal without damaging the healthy portions of the rails. If you can’t buy a drywall sponge, a rubber eraser will also work. Do not use sandpaper or steel wool for this. They’re too hard and microscopic shards of steel wool or sandpaper can get stuck in the tracks.
2. Rub the drywall sponge back and forth along each portion of the rail. Lay the sponge flat on the track and apply a light amount of pressure as you drag it back and forth a few times over the same area. Then, move to the next section of the track and do the same thing. Work your way around the entire track to remove the corrosion. Don’t worry about damaging the flat portions of your track. They’re designed to handle a fair bit of abrasion.
3. Blow compressed air between the rails to remove residue. Insert the straw that came with the compressed air into the nozzle. Hold the nozzle over the rails at a 45-degree angle and pull the trigger. Drag the can all the way around the track to blow out all of the corrosive junk. This gets rid of any corrosive particles that fell in between the rails.
4. Drive a slot car around the track 5 times to see if it’s smooth. Grab a clean slot car and insert it in the track. Turn it on and drive it around the track a few times. If it stalls or catches on a portion of the railing, push it forward and see if the problem repeats itself. If it doesn’t, the pin on your car pushed the blockage out. If the car stalls at the same spot every time, it’s a sign you still have corrosion in that area. Rub the sponge over that section another 4-5 times, blow it out, and try again. Wipe the car’s push pin off when you’re done to remove any debris it picked up from the track.
5. Wipe the track down with a dry cloth to pick up any remaining dust. Once the corrosion is gone and your track is running smoothly, run a dry cloth around the track. Wipe in the same direction that the cars travel. This picks up any corrosive junk or dust on the flatter portion of the track. A microfiber cloth is perfect for this since the tiny fibers will absorb microscopic residue on the tiny rails. You can do a final wipe down with a damp rag soaked in mineral spirits if you’d like, but this is controversial in the slot car community. Some slot car racers believe it isn’t worth it since dust can be attracted to the spirits and build up on the tracks.
7 Ways To Get More Tyre Grip
- Clean your track
Very often there is a thin layer of dust on Scalextric track. This dust acts as a barrier between the rubber of the tyre and the plastic surface of the track. Before use, clean away this dust with a damp cloth. The track must be dried immediately to prevent corrosion setting in.
- Clean your tyres
This dust and other debris can build up on your Scalextric car tyres too. This can also be cleaned off with a damp cloth.
- Remove the oxides
Over time the rubber surface of your tyres can oxidise forming a thin hard, non grippy layer. If thin enough this layer can be sanded off with around 100 grit sand paper or the modern equivalents. This will bring fresh rubber into play and can give great improvements in grip levels.
- Replace your tyres
If the tyre is deeply oxidised or cracked then replacement tyres is the only answer. Replacement tyres are available for just about all the Scalextric cars ever made – even the really old ones.
- Use better tyres
To give an even better improvement in grip over a good original Scalextric tyre then use MAX Grip tyres. Manufactured from 29 Shore A hardness rubber, grip doesn’t get much better than this.
- Add some weight
As friction is proportional to the downward force acting on the rear tyres of a Scalextric car then adding weight over the rear tyres will improve grip. Adding weight is, however, a balancing act as the weight will need to be accelerated, braked, and go around corners. This is a great way to fine tune the grip level wanted.
- Use a magnet
Finally the way that Scalextric have used for years. Adding a magnet near to the rear axle adds downward force with little weight, especially the powerful Neodymium magnets. The magnet is attracted to the steel rails of the track giving the downward force. Again, this solution can be tuned by placing the magnet nearer or further away from the track rails.
Source: Scalextric Car Restorations
Advice On How To Keep Your Slot Car On The Track
Slot cars are made for driving on a track and not for sitting on a shelf, whether you enjoy racing your slot car by yourself or facing other competitors. The quality and speed of a race is determined by a number of factors, including the track conditions, your equipment, and your personal racing style. However, there are several tips and economical solutions that will help you get your slot car racing.
- Keep your slot car clean and in good working order
This is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of slot car racing. Establish a cleaning schedule for your slot car, such as a full cleaning after every five races. Begin your regimen by removing the body of the car to visually inspect and wipe down all aspects of the vehicle. Be sure to carefully examine the chassis of the car for any weaknesses, and check that the pickup shoes are clean. Determine that the wheel hubs are rotating freely without rubbing the chassis, and be sure to rotate the slot car’s tires on a regular basis to prevent wear and tear from too many turns. Check that your wheel axles are not bent, and replace them immediately if they are bent. By cleaning the car and replacing any damaged parts on a regular basis, your car will last longer and perform better.
- Oil your slot car
While you are carefully cleaning and examining your car, take the opportunity to oil the vehicle’s chassis and motor. You want to be careful that you do not use too much oil, as this will ooze from the slot car’s parts and cause a mess on the track. A small drop is really all you need at each location. Pay attention to each chassis axle bearing, and apply the oil when they are not spinning freely. Check that the armature is also spinning well, and administer a drop on the front and rear motor end bells as necessary. Make this oiling process part of your cleaning routine, but only apply the oil when needed.
- Watch your pickup shoes
Like replacing the rear tires of your car, swapping the pickup shoes can greatly improve your vehicle’s performance at very little cost to you. Most slot cars begin with copper pickup shoes, but for slightly more money, you can replace those standard shoes with gold-plated ones that will help get more power to the car’s motor. With this slight upgrade, your car will see an increase of power, leading to an improved racing speed.
- Focus your racing on one or two cars
One of the best ways to improve your slot car racing technique is to choose one car to use and stick to that car exclusively. You want to get to know and understand the handling of that particular car so that you know intuitively how it will handle the track, the turns, and your commands. If you switch back and forth between several cars, you will invariably forget the idiosyncrasies of your favorites, and you will not perform as well during races. You may want to get to know two cars very well, that way you have a back-up in case of a breakdown or a poor performance one day.
Do not forget to practice! The more time you spend practicing with your slot cars on a track, the more familiar you will be with each chassis. You will learn how to accelerate and hug the curves of the track with your individual car. Increased practice will serve you well during races with competitors since you will be able to easily predict how your slot car will respond in every racing scenario. In addition to improving your race technique, frequent practice will help you recognize and address subtle chassis or motor problems before they become an issue on the race track.
Source: Innovative Hobby Supply
NSR Car Setup and Tuning Guide
NSR Slot Italia have produced a downloadable ‘Guide for Easy Car Setup and Tuning Tips’. This PDF document is aimed to help slot racers with the basic but vital techniques to improve your slot car’s performance.
Source: NSR Slot Italia