Speed Tip #1 - Adding WeightAdding weight to your car will help your car maintain its speed by increasing its momentum. If you remember back to science class, potential energy is based on gravity, height, and weight. Since it’s the same gravity pulling the cars down the track, and each car starts out at the same height, it’s the weight that you need to change. By adding weight, you gain an advantage because you increase the car’s potential energy. In a perfect world, all that potential energy would turn into kinetic energy as the car raced down the hill, and remember, kinetic energy is the energy of speed.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, we have forces that are trying to stop your car. Forces like friction and the car bumping back and forth to name a few. That is where momentum comes into play. Again, remember Bill Nye back in science class…”Inertia is a property of matter”...
Well, the law of inertia says that an object in motion, stays in motion unless acted on by an outside force. There are forces trying to stop your car. I like to describe momentum as an objects ability to overcome the forces that are trying to stop it. The greater the momentum, the more successful the object is in overcoming those forces, keeping its speed, and going farther. Momentum is based on two things, speed and weight. By increasing the car’s weight, you are directly increasing its momentum.
Lead fishing weights are a good source of weight that come in lots of different sizes.
The smallest ones are great to pack into all the small places. If you’re not to worried about looks, you can put larger weights in the back seats, the front seats, or get rid of the seats altogether and load that thing up with weight. To keep the weights in place you can use JB Kwik Weld to glue them in place. Another way to keep them in place is to use modeling clay. Clay is another easy and great way to add weight. You can squish it into all the empty space in the car. Just keep it clear of the wheels.
Speed Tip #2 - Using GraphiteContinuing our science lesson from above, the major force trying to slow your car down is friction. The rest of the speed tips all have to do with reducing friction. One way to reduce friction is to add a lubricant. We use these in real cars all the time, but in our real cars, we use liquid lubricants like oil and grease. Liquid lubricants work great in our real cars, but they are not as good for small parts. They have a tendency to pick up small particles, hair, dust, etc. and “gunk up” small moving parts, having the total opposite effect. For small moving parts - like those found in Hot Wheels, dry lubricants work great. Graphite is just such a lubricant.
Using graphite on the wheels and axles of your car can help it go faster. The graphite will reduce friction and keep your wheels rolling smoothly and fast.
Speed Tip #3 - Using FTEsUsing cars with Faster than Ever (or FTE) wheels and axles definitely helps in the speed department. While the wheel is a good wheel, it’s not what makes the car fast. It’s the axle. The Faster than Ever axle is nickel-plated. The nickel-plating gives the axle an extra smooth finish. And smooth means less friction. Which is the number one enemy of speed.
Faster than Ever cars were released in 2005-2006. They also showed up in 2009-2010. There were Faster than Ever cars released in 2011-12 as well, but they are usually called Faster than Ever 2 and have different wheels.
So if you are already using a Faster than Ever car, use the rest of the speed tips and you’re going to have a pretty fast car. If your car doesn’t have Faster than Ever wheels and axles, consider swapping your car’s wheels and axles for some FTEs.
For help on swapping wheels and axles, check out Ten Tips for Customizing Hot Wheels.
Speed Tip #4 - Polish the axlesAnother thing you can do to help your Hot Wheels car be faster is to polish the axles. Even if you are using FTE axles, a good polish can help. You can find “Axle polish” out there, popular on the Pinewood Derby sites, but it’s just metal polish. Just find a good metal polish, apply it to the axle as per the instructions on the polish, and then buff it with a Dremal or drill using a soft cloth buffing tool. Make sure you slide the wheels to one end of the axle and hold them so as not to hit them while you are buffing. Try to keep the polish off the wheels.
Once you are done, slide the wheels to the other side of the axle and polish the other side. By polishing the axles, you will be reducing friction and helping your Hot Wheels car go faster.
Speed Tip #5 - Polish the chassisAs the car is rolling down the track, the wheels will either be rubbing on the pin head part of the axle, or on the chassis. Whenever two parts are rubbing together there is friction. And remember, friction is the enemy of speed. If you have done tip #4 and polished the axle, then hopefully you’ve helped reduce the friction on the pin head part of the axle. Now for the chassis. There are two kinds of chassis, metal and plastic. Most of the metal chassis are not that smooth. Many of the metal chassis have a ridge from the mold that cuts right along where the wheel touches the chassis.
|Notice the ridge on both the metal and plastic chassis.|
Once you’ve filed down all the larger rough stuff, you’re going to start sanding using various grits of wet/dry sandpaper. Start out with some 400 grit, wet sanding the chassis. Next move up to 600 grit, then 1000, then 1200, and so on until you reach the finest sandpaper you can find, hopefully 2500. You can do it by hand, but I like to use a Dremel. I cut the sandpaper into small circles and poke a hole in it. Then I attach it to my Dremel and away I go.
If you have a plastic chassis, unless it has a ridge from the mold or something, it should be pretty smooth. You won’t need to do as much sanding as you do with a metal chassis. You can probably just start wet sanding with pretty fine sandpaper, say 2000 or 2500. Another thing you can use is a polish made specifically for plastic. You can also get a pretty smooth glossy finish on the plastic using a wax made specifically for plastic.
Just remember, the whole idea is to reduce friction, so whatever you can do to make things smoother will reduce that friction and make your car faster.
What do you think? Do you have any tips to help make your Hot Wheels car faster. Share them with us in the comments below. See ya in lane 2!