Tips on buying used RC Kits and Parts

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RCNT Talkaholic
Turlock, Ca
RC Driving Style
Bashing, Racing
i was thinking that having a discussion about buying pre-owned RC Kits and parts would benefit individuals that are thinking of getting into RC , newbies to the hobby or even some seasoned veterans. It would be great if we can share tips on what to look for when buying pre-owned and what to avoid. Share sources on where to get great deals and sources to be cautious. It would even be great if we can eventually compile a guideline from what is shared within this topic.


RCNT Talkaholic
Turlock, Ca
RC Driving Style
Bashing, Racing
I have years of experience buying pre-owned RC kits since it's a great way to get a great deal however there are a few things to consider first before pulling the trigger on that buy to avoid what can possibly end to be the worst deal ever.
  1. Figure out the direction of your vision is for the project.(I call it a project because you never stop upgrading or modifying). Will it be for show, racing, bashing a little of both.

  2. Pick kits that have the product support and availability on parts and upgrades. Easy way to check is going to EBay and check how much parts are available and check forums such as this to check for community support. Active topics that are up to date are great indications that the kit is a good basis for your new addiction or affliction. Most importantly parts availability for the drivetrain, driveline, suspension need to be abundant to ensure you can properly maintain the kit.

  3. Pick a kit that has a reputable name brand. I know it's tempting to get that new shiny Chinese knock off but it's going to end up costing you more in the long run. The old saying you get what you pay for is true in this respect.

  4. When buying used parts minimize the parts to non critical parts that are known to be made tougher. For example aluminum skidplates, bumpers, steering rack.

  5. If you decide to buy a used motor make sure that there are ample supply of new replacement parts like pistons, sleeve, conrod, backing plate, bearings, carb, crankshaft. To at least get the best bang for your buck look for motors that have a lot of compression. I know it's impossible to truly determine when buying online as such I try to limit used motors to local buys so I can personally check the engines me for compression and test it if possible. When you absolutely can only buy it online buy from sources like EBay that has a Buyer Protection program.

  6. Used electronics are probably the hardest to buy since electrical components can fail without any signs and some electronics cannot be serviced or rebuilt by buying replacement parts. I usually stay away from getting these used except for servos since they are serviceable. Electric motors depending on type fall under this category as well.

  7. When buying from an individual without going through online sellers like EBay. For example Craigslist or Letgo I highly recommend using PayPal if you are purchasing something to be shipped. PayPal has a Buyer Protection program that can give you some peace of mind.


Dekalb, IL
RC Driving Style
Unless I know the owner personally and can see, inspect the engine directly, I consider all engines in "used" vehicles to be garbage and pay accordingly. After all the used rigs I've bought with comments like "perfect engine, only ran a few times, like new", I can say that most people either don't know what they are talking about or are lieing through their teeth. With that said, I'd never buy a used engine unless it was for parts I needed. It just isn't worth the hassle.

In that same vane, I don't expect people to pay top dollar for engines when buying from me. The difference is, I know when I say it's good and has good compression, I know I'm not lieing. lol

Cleanliness is a big necessity when buying used. If someone is selling something and it's just filthy or even has a bit of dirt on it, odds are there will be a lot of worn out stuff on it. High resolution images are a must, or pay accordingly.

The only "used" stuff I've bought that ended up being what was actually being explained/sold was when I bought off forums. Anything rig I've gotten off ebay usually ended up being nearly garbage.


RCNT Talkaholic
Turlock, Ca
RC Driving Style
Bashing, Racing
I agree about buying used motors. I personally have never bought a used motor except for the motor that came with a kit that I bought used. I would only buy one if the motor was being sold for 1/3 of its price and if the internals are readily available and it the total cost of the motor itself and the parts to rebuild it is within half of the price of a new one. I have sold used motors however I am meticulous with care and I never sell a used motor with more than 2 gallons of fuel through it. Knock on wood so far the 2 kits that I bought used have been in good condition. One was a AE NTC3 a few years ago and the TMaxx 3.3 I bought last month. I have sold quite a few used kits through the years however I do really take care of my RC very well and I do a full teardown, a full inspection and a full rebuild before I sell any kit. Any part that needs to be replaced gets replaced but I suspect I fall in the minority and not the majority of sellers out there. Most sellers sell their stuff as is without taking the measures I take before selling.


RC Newbie
I don't buy used motors. in the past when I ask what temp they run them at they have no idea.
a lot of the times they are gummed up cuz they leave fuel in them.

Certified Mike

Hardcore RCNT User
Maine Hampsire
RC Driving Style
Bashing, Racing
Having owned a salvage yard, I can tell you I have honestly seen it all! Used is tricky, no doubt! Certainly buying from ppl on eBay with good reps is recommended. As stated, the buyer protection is something I would rely heavily on. I would recommend in all cases establishing with the seller that if you purchase, your first step is physical inspection, looking for damage due to rollovers and or abuse, check for how it spins over, (for compression etc), bench test (or install temporarily in a kit) followed by inspection disassembly. This may help weed out some of the 'full of poop' sellers. Of they don't agree, you probably already have your answer. I also don't believe the I'd was only used 3 times' stories. Sure, it can happen... But really? Would YOU break in an engine, use it 3 times and then sell it??? So keeping that in mind, breaking open the engine and seeing what things really look like will answer a lot. How does the plug look? Does the shim(s) look ok or do they look like they've been on and off a dozen times? Are the bearings and other internals clean? How does the carb look and feel?
As far as kits go, I feel the underside of the chassis tells a LOT about how the kit was run. How banged up is it and where is most of the scarring? If it looks like it's been thru the mill, it likely has been!
There is the other side of this... There ARE lots of ppl out there who really love their kits and take good care of them... As if they planned on owning it forever... Things happen... Surprise!!! You're a daddy!!! And there goes your new Revo! :hehe: Congrats Daddy! And thanks for the killer deal!!! Sometimes you can get that info too! Def do your homework during the sale, no matter what you're buying!

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