What Is Nitro Fuel For RC Cars (Everything you Should Know)

Many of you readers love RC cars.

They are very intricate and it is fun to operate and take care of.

RC cars come in three different types: electric (which needs batteries), gas (which uses normal petrol), and nitro (which uses nitro fuel)

We’re going to tell you all about nitro fuel today, so keep reading.

The Answer – What Is Nitro Fuel For RC Cars

Nitro fuel is a fuel that is made of nitromethane, and mixed with methanol and a type of oil for lubrication. It is used to power nitro RC cars.

Nitro fuel is very durable, but like any other type of fuel, it can catch fire easily and so any user should handle it with proper care.

Nitro fuel for RC cars contains

What Does Nitro Fuel For RC Cars Contain

Nitro fuel is made up of nitromethane, methanol, and oil for lubrication.

All these will be briefly explained below:

  • Nitromethane – gives the engine its explosiveness. It is the ‘nitro’ part of the fuel and it usually makes up between 10% and 40% of the fuel, although 20% is the standard.

The higher the nitromethane percentage, the higher the power of the car and the quicker it will go.

Too much nitromethane though, and your engine will go kaboom. So, be careful with that.

  • Methanol – this is the major part of a nitro fuel. It is the reason the fuel combusts and the engine works. It usually makes up about 60% to 80% of the fuel.

Methanol must be carefully preserved because it can absorb moisture from the air, causing it to spoil. This is why nitro fuel is also sealed tight in containers.

It is also a serious fire risk, and when burning, it gives off a super hot pale blue flame which is hard to spot in the day but is very destructive.

  • Oil – works as a lubricant. It is there to lubricate the engine and make it work smoothly. Oil makes up between 8% to 25% of the fuel.

Not all kinds of oils can be used however. You must use oils that can mix with methanol and do not burn at high temperatures.

The oils used are castor oil or synthetic oil, or a mixture of both.

Is Glow Fuel The Same As Nitro Fuel?

Yes, glow fuel is the same as nitro fuel. They are just different names for the same things.

The fuel is called glow fuel because the nitro engine is ignited by a special type of plug called the glow plug.

Does Nitro Fuel for RC Cars Can Go Bad

Like almost everything else, nitro fuel absolutely goes bad.

You can tell that nitro fuel is bad when it becomes gummy and thick and looks like water it’s sweating in the bottle. At that point, you need to discard that fuel.

How Long Does Nitro Fuel For RC Cars Last?

Nitro RC fuel does not have a specific shelf life. How long it lasts depends on how well it is stored.

When nitro fuel is stored properly, it can last years. if it is not properly stored, it can go bad within weeks.

How Do I Know That Nitro Fuel Is Bad?

You can tell that nitro fuel is bad by looking at its appearance and its consistency.

Typically, nitro fuel is clear, like water. If it looks cloudy or thick, or if it begins to change colour from the one it originally was, then that fuel is definitely bad.

Also, check the container the fuel was stored in. If the fuel appears to have reduced from how much it was when you first stored it, then the fuel is bad.

It means that the nitromethane has evaporated.

Some people say that you can make bad nitro fuel good again by adding some quantity of nitromethane or methanol, but we don’t advise you do so.

*These substances are dangerous and need to be handled with care otherwise they will cause a lot of damage.

So if your nitro fuel goes bad, don’t try to mix anything in. Just buy a new one. It’s safer, and we care about your safety.

How Do I Store Nitro Fuel?

Store nitro fuel by:

  • Keeping it in a cool dry place (to prevent evaporation of nitromethane).
  • Keeping it in a thick metal container (to prevent moisture, air and sunlight passing through).
  • Make sure the metal container is sealed tight.

With these you can make your nitro fuel last as long as possible.

Can I Use Old Nitro Fuel?

Yes, you can use old nitro fuel, provided it is stored properly.

Nitro fuel is still usable if it is not bad, no matter how long it has stayed for.

It becomes unusable if it goes bad. 

How To Make Nitro Fuel For RC Cars

all you need are a measuring cup, the ingredients: nitromethane, methanol, and oil; and something to mix the chemicals with.

These tools can easily be bought from any hardware store or online.

We’re going to give the process for making nitro fuel with 20% nitromethane because that is the most common fuel for nitro RC cars. 

We’re also going to assume you want to make 100 ounces of nitro fuel, which is just under 3 liters.

To make nitro fuel for RC cars, First, measure out the chemicals:
For 100 oz of 20% nitromethane fuel, the measurements are:

  • 20 ounces of nitromethane
  • 70 ounces of methanol
  • 10 ounces of castor oil or synthetic oil

Second, mix the chemicals carefully by stirring it slowly for about 10 minutes.

You have your fuel. Store it in an airtight metal container in a cool dry place immediately.

If you want a higher amount of nitromethane in your fuel, just increase the amount of nitromethane and reduce the amount of methanol.

But remember, let the nitromethane be LESS THAN 40% of your fuel content otherwise your engine will be totaled in a huge explosion.

*Doing this recipe is at your own risk, make sure to take any precautions needed and do it in a ventilated place.

How Do I Choose Nitro Fuel For My RC Car?

It depends on what you want to use the car for. The best way is to go for what the manufacturer recommends.

Nitro 20, which contains 20% nitromethane, is used when you want to use the car for more generic purposes. It is the most used type of nitro fuel.

Nitro 30, which contains 30% nitromethane, is used for racing because it increases the speed and power of the car.

Other types are usually used for the modded versions of nitro RC cars.

Where Can I Buy Nitro Fuel for RC Cars?

Nitro fuel is relatively easy to purchase.

You can buy nitro fuel for RC cars online, in hardware stores that sell RC cars, or in your local hobby store.

Many just get theirs from Amazon.

How Much Fuel Do Nitro RC Cars Use?

It depends on the percentage of nitromethane in the fuel and a combination of other factors. usually, one liter of Nitro 20 should last you for just over two hours.

Other factors that can affect the usage of fuel in Nitro RC cars include:

  • Cold weather, which makes fuel burn quicker because the more fuel is used to keep temperatures up.
  • Size of car. Bigger and heavier cars use more fuel
  • Higher powered motors in engines use more fuel.


Nitro fuel is great for RC car drivers because they last for really long if you store them well.

However, nitro fuel is flammable so be careful and observe all safety precautions when handling the fuel.