The basic tools every hobbyist should have

As newcomers delve into the world of RC hobbies, they often find themselves pondering the essential tools they should acquire. While there isn't a universal answer to this question, this article aims to highlight the fundamental tools, equipment, and accessories that every hobbyist should consider stocking in their toolbox.


Emphasizing the importance of quality is paramount when it comes to tools, particularly screwdrivers. High-quality screwdrivers with ergonomic handles and precision-machined tips are a prerequisite. These top-notch tools will ensure that the screws in your RC vehicle remain in excellent condition for an extended period. This emphasis is especially critical when dealing with allen screws, where it's imperative to have compatible screwdrivers and tips. The use of ill-fitting or soft-tip tools can lead to the deterioration of the screw heads. Therefore, prioritizing quality over quantity is highly recommended.

Tool Sizes

Most contemporary RC vehicles utilize metric screws and allen screws, although some manufacturers still opt for imperial-sized screws. Fortunately, there is a good variety of tools available to cater to both metric and imperial screw sizes, simplifying the tool selection process. When examining toolboxes at the pits, you'll often find older tools that have served for 5 to 10 years. The better-quality tools typically feature replaceable tips, making it a wise investment to opt for tools equipped with durable handles.

These tools can be used across various car sizes, such as 1:12, 1:10, and 1:8. Allen screws come in four different sizes, ranging from 1.5 mm to 3.0 mm, with 2.0 mm being the most prevalent. You can either procure a set that includes all sizes or purchase them individually. For those beyond the beginner stage, it's advisable to maintain spare tips in your toolbox, especially for 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm tools. The accumulation of sand or mud on the screw heads may wear down the tips over time, warranting replacements to avoid inefficient tools.

Additionally, a socket wrench for nuts is among the basic tools for RC hobbyists. In the 1:10 category, common sizes include 5.5 mm (M3 nuts) and 7.0 mm (M4 nuts), while the 1:8 category typically necessitates a 17mm wheel nut wrench.

Other tools that can prove handy include:

  • Turnbuckle wrench (often more convenient than pliers)

  • Pointed pliers (useful for removing lock clips and plugs)

  • Scissors and a craft knife (ideal for cutting body and masking) Please note that assembling certain car kits might require additional tools, but the aforementioned ones should suffice for most scenarios.

Other Equipment

While every driver and hobbyist may customize their set of tools and equipment, here are some fundamental items that experienced drivers are likely to include in their toolboxes:

  • Pit Mat: A handy tool to maintain a clean workspace in areas with limited space for RC cars. You can easily unroll the mat on a desk and roll it back up when you're done working on your car.

  • Screw Tray: Prevents the loss of screws, especially in the pit area.

  • Double-Sided Tape: Essential for securely mounting electronic components.

  • Brush: Ideal for removing mud and dust accumulated during runs.

  • Cleaning Cloths or Paper Towels: Useful for general maintenance and cleaning tasks.

  • Work Stand: Simplifies the handling and maintenance of your RC car.

  • A Selection of Screws Used in Your Car Kit: It's advisable to have spare screws of different sizes on hand, as even new screws can experience wear and tear, potentially leading to stripped screw heads.

  • Spare Batteries for the Controller: Always have spare controller batteries available to avoid disruptions during your RC activities.


Include the following fluids in your toolbox:

  • Detergent: Brake cleaner or an equivalent cleaning solution.

  • Tire Glue: A staple in every hobbyist's toolbox for attaching and repairing tires.

  • Shock and Diff Oil: These are the default oils for your car. Failing to have fresh oils on hand during maintenance can lead to interruptions in your track day.

  • Threadlocker: Utilize blue medium-grade threadlocker for tasks such as securing set screws on the drive axles.

  • Oil for Bearings: After servicing and cleaning your car, apply a drop of oil to the bearings to extend their lifespan and reduce long-term hobby costs.

There is an endless list of tools and equipment used in electronics, and it can be overwhelming for beginners. But, not to worry: we have compiled a list of certain tools that we think are essential for every beginner electronics hobbyist and tinkerer.

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