Slot car tyre maintenance

 

In order for your Slotcar to give the best lap times under race conditions the car tyres will need to give their best performance. It is necessary to keep the tyres in good condition. Even the best replacement tyres will reduce in performance if not maintained. There are generically four types of tyre readily available for Scalextric cars. These are identified by the material from which they are made. The types are:

    1. Rubber
    2. Thermoplastic rubber
    3. Latex
    4. Silicone


All of these have different characteristics, capabilities and all need some maintenance.


Rubber Tyres
All the original Scalextric tyres from 1960 to the 1990s are essentially formed from a natural rubber material. This gives good overall grip but the surface of the tyre can become hard with age and the tyres will be very badly damaged through exposure to oils and greases. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also cause hardening of the surface of these tyres. Also, some of these original tyres are not that well shaped and are frequently not round and do not have a flat running surface. The new old stock tyres are original rubber tyres.

Maintenance of rubber tyres
These rubber tyres can be easy brought back into shape by spinning the wheel and tyre on some 120 grit sand paper. This technique can also be used to remove a thin layer of hardened surface material. We recommend each drive tyre is treated like this before a race as it will remove all the dirt and debris from the tyre as well as any accumulated hardened material.
Any tyre that has become hardened through exposure to oils and greases cannot be saved and must be replaced. Deep cracks in rubber tyres cannot be repaired meaning replacement tyres will be needed.

Warning
Over prolonged periods of time the early rubber tyres can leach their black dye into the surrounding materials. This is the most common cause of the brown marks seen on some of the early Scalextric car body and chassis mouldings.


Thermoplastic rubber tyres
These thermoplastic rubber tyres are manufactured by Scalextric Car Restorations as direct replacements for some of the original Scalextric rubber tyres. Our standard and high grip ranges of tyres are thermoplastic rubber tyres. These tyres are unaffected by exposure to oils and greases but can lose some grip over time as the surface material can be affected by the environment. The general shape and form of these new replacement tyres is much better than that of the original Scalextric rubber tyres.

Maintenance of thermoplastic rubber tyres
These tyres will benefit from the occasional clean to remove any surface dirt and oxides. The dirt and oxides on these tyres can be easy removed by briefly spinning the wheel and tyre on some 120 grit sand paper.


Latex Tyres
Latex is used to give the best possible grip to a tyre without resorting to Silicone. The latex tyres available are made by hand pouring liquid latex into an open mould and allowing the latex to cure. These tyres can have some shape problems (depending on the preparation quality of the master tyre from which the mould was cast). These latex tyres are often soft and offer great grip but can ware quickly if pushed hard. Our MAX grip range of tyres is manufactured in this way.

Maintenance of a Latex tyres
These tyres will benefit from the occasional clean up to remove any surface dirt and oxides. The dirt and oxides on these tyres can be easy removed by briefly spinning the wheel and tyre on some 120 grit sand paper. This process does not take long as these tyres are very soft.


Silicone tyres
Silicone tyres are regarded as offering the absolute best grip available. However, silicone tyres are traditionally known for leaving a residue on the track surface which will reduce the grip of the rubber, thermoplastic and latex tyres significantly. Most local Scalextric clubs have banned the use of Silicone tyres for this very reason. Scalextric Car restorations does not recommend the use of Silicone tyres except in very specialist applications.

Maintenance of Silicone tyres
These tyres will benefit from the occasional clean up to remove any surface dirt and oxides. The dirt and oxides on these tyres can be easy removed by briefly spinning the wheel and tyre on some 120 grit sand paper. This process does not take long as these tyres are very soft.