Friday, September 22, 2017

Modifying Hot Wheels Cars For Speed

Are you ready to make your car faster?
Then read on...

When I first raced these two cars, being a fan of good old American muscle, I thought I can’t have this Honda beating the Camaro.  But it didn’t just beat it.  It smashed it by almost 4 car lengths.  This would definitely be a challenge to get the Camaro up to speed, but one that I was looking forward to.

The first thing that I did was sand the wheels. Start out with 800 grit sandpaper.  Place the car at the bottom of the sheet and then do some small 3 or 4 inch circles with the car as you "drive" the car to the top of the sheet.  First circles in one direction and then the other, repeating the process multiple times.  As you "drive the car up the sheet, the wheels will turn so that you don’t sand any one part of the wheel too much and get flat spots.  Do the same thing with 1200 grit sandpaper, then 1500 grit sandpaper.  After sanding with the 1500 grit sandpaper, wet sand the wheels using the same method with the 1500 grit sandpaper.

Once the wheels were sanded I took the car apart to work on the inside.  To get the car apart, use a 3/16 inch drill bit to drill out the rivets.  When you drill them out you’re basically removing the rivet material, not necessarily drilling a hole.

Once the rivet has been drilled out you can pull the car apart.

Next I removed the axles. To remove the axles I use a small pair of side cutters to clip the tabs holding in the axle. Usually you can get away with just clipping the side with one tab. If you need to, you can also use an exacto knife to cut away any excess, but make sure you don’t force the axle as you don’t want to bend it. If you cut the single tab and clean it up with a knife and it still doesn’t want to come out cut the tabs on the other side so you don’t have to force it out and bend the axle.

Once I had the wheels and axles out, I wet sanded the sides of the wheels using 1500 grit sand paper. Hopefully the car will run straight down the track, but if it does end up on the sidewall, we want the sides of those wheels as smooth as possible.

Once I finished sanding the the wheels I polished them using a q-tip and some plastic polish I picked up at Walmart.

Next I wet sanded the chassis with the 1500 grit sandpaper where the wheels would come into contact with it and then used the plastic polish.

 The next step was to polish the axles.  I just put a little metal polish on a cloth wheel for a dremel.  Hold the wheels at one end of the axle while polishing the other end.  After I finish polishing, I wipe of the extra metal polish with a leather shammi and do a little extra polishing by hand with the leather shammi.   

After I get done polishing the axles and wheels, I rinse them under the faucet with hot water and use a soft toothbrush to make sure I remove any excess plastic or metal polish then completely dry them.

Next I add graphite. Really work that graphite in. Spin the wheels and move them back and forth on the axle.

Add graphite to the chassis where the wheels will come in contact with it.  Also work a little graphite onto the sides of the wheels as well.

While I had the car apart, I also added a little weight.  I use fishing weights.  They come in all different sizes and are easy to get. 

Glue them in with JB Kwik Weld. JB Kwik Weld is pretty easy to use.  I usually just mix it up on the back of a Hot Wheels card with a toothpick and also use the toothpick to apply it. 

JB Kwik Weld is also what I use to glue in the axles. To make sure they are straight I use an alignment jig. It’s super easy to make. Some dowel pins I got from Home Depot, a small piece of wood to glue them on, and some wood glue.  I like these dowel pins that are grooved so that if the wheel base doesn’t quite fit, the grooves still help to keep the wheels straight.         

JB Weld the axles in and then flip it over and put it on the jig. Put a little weight on it to keep things in place.

I also make some spacers out of old Hot Wheels cards and put them in between the wheel and the chassis to help center the axles. 

  Once the JB Kwik Weld dries, I put the car back together, mix up a little more JB Kwik Weld and use it to hold the car together by creating some new JB Kwik Weld Rivets.

Finally, I add a little more graphite, spinning the wheels to try to work it down inside the wheel.  Then I put the car on a hard surface and roll it back and forth with a bit of downward pressure to really set that graphite.

That's it.  Your car should now be ready to tear up the track!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  I'm guessing that since you want to make your Hot Wheels cars faster you're interested in racing. We have mail-in races every month with 4 different class to race in. I hope to see you on the track racing with us soon. For more info visit the "How To Race With Us" page.


  1. Very cool tutorial! it explains a fair bit that I've seen referenced on YouTube!

  2. Great post and knowledge about wheel swapping. I'm so excited to get started customizing my own HW's. On another note, why is everyone posting advertisements and other things not related to Hot Wheels on this thread?


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