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Friday, 10 January 2014

Basic Slot Car Maintenance - Part 1

Welcome to the exciting hobby of Slot Cars.  At the beginning it is great fun, until everything starts to hesitate and slow down. That's when you need to look after your setup so you can continue with maximum enjoyment of your Slot Car experience.

You are here to learn abut how to maintain your Slot Car setup before it needs major maintenance (we hope we've caught you in time, lol)

Weather you have a small and simple setup or a 4+ lane for club racing, the proper cleaning routine is needed.

Fixing Track to a Baseboard

Ideally, it is best not to nail, screw or glue the track to a base board at all. The reason for this is that plastic and metal, the two ingredients of Scalextric track, expand and contract at different rates. So, on hot days the plastic will expand larger than the rail. Of course, the rail won't let the plastic expand evenly due to the rail gripping the plastic. This causes the track surface to warp.
When the track is laid loose the circuit can 'grow' and absorb any expansion due to heat. If the track is not allowed to move freely (ie nailed down) then any expansion will only lead to uneven surfaces.
If the layout is to lay flat, leave the track loose. Keep the layout in a dry and constant temperature room. This normally means that the loft, shed and garage are not good places.

Power Drops and Breaks

The most often asked question is 'My car has stopped on the track. What has broken?'

The most common (1 =most common) reasons that this might happen are:
  1. The track piece that the car is resting on has no electrical power due to bad track connections.
  2. The car motor has expired or their is a mechanical reason within the car that is stopping the motor from turning (e.g. tyre jammed against wheel arch).
  3. A guide braid has come out.
  4. The hand controller is not plugged in to the power base fully.
  5. The electrical power switch is turned off.
  6. The car has developed a fault.
  7. The hand controller has broken.
  8. A motor wire has broken.
  9. The power base has broken.
  10. The power base is not connected to the power supply.
  11. The power supply lead is broken.
  12. The power supply has broken.

Here's how to cure the most common problem of electrical power problems on the track - No 1 above.

When the following procedure has been completed you should be able to race cars at full speed on tracks of up to 200 feet or more without any practical electrical problems.
Power jumper cables can be used on 'analogue' or digital track circuits. Note, though, that a power jumper cable only hides a bad track connection and, ultimately, it is better to fix the track problem than add power jumper cables.
Question: There are power breaks or weak power sections on the Scalextric layout. How can this be repaired?
Answer:When a car stops on circuit this can indicate TWO breaks in electrical continuity since electricity travels in both directions around the track. If there was only one break then you would not notice it as electricity flows in both direction!

The way to correct this problem is to:

  • Disconnect the track behind the power base.
  • Then drive a car forward at a slow speed. When the car crosses from one piece of track to the next there should not be a drop in power/speed.
  • If there is a drop or loss in power, then fix the track connection. Disconnect both track pieces (the track piece immediately before and after the fault). Turn them over on a hard surface. Ensure that the metal rail tabs at the ends of the rails (there are 8 of them on every track piece) are fully pressed and clamped down to the plastic. Use a stout screwdriver or similar to push them tight.
  • Watch this video on how to do this Track tab maintenance.
  • Reconnect the repaired track pieces and retest by placing the car back at the power base and again drive the car slowly forward until you meet the next reduced or lost power section.
  • Continue the above repair process until you get to the last track piece before the power base.
  • Reconnect the last track piece to the power base.
  • Full power should now be restored.

Testing Lane Change Sections

In the event that a lane change track piece fails to operate follow this simple procedure:

  • Disconnect the lane change track piece and check that the rail connections are all good. See other Top Tips feature regarding track connections and loss of power.
  • Check that there are no obstructions in the slot preventing the flipper from physically moving. It should 'flip' freely.
  • Ensure that the track piece hasn't been bent (stood on, for instance) which will also cause the flipper to jam.
  • Reconnect the track piece and turn power on.
  • Manually move the flipper in to the position which would cause the car to change lane. Manually push a car over the track lane change sensor (this is a round hole about one car length before the flipper). The flipper should flip back to the 'straight ahead' position.
  • The lane change track piece should be usable if the above procedures have not identified any problems.

We carry Scalextric 1:32 scale Slot Cars. We are expanding our selection for the slot car season of 2014-2015 (November to March).



  1. Thanks for sharing this post with us...its really very nice and use full information....Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate.

  2. Really nice and definitely it will be useful for many people. Kindly keep update like this.
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  3. glad you enjoyed it, do you have a Slot Car set?

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