Gluing and truing slot car tyres will dramatically improve the handling on cars, particularly those raced without magnets.
What you need
Light oil (Sewing machine or Slot Car Tyre Oil)
Sandpaper – fine, medium and coarse
9v battery (size ‘E’)
Step 1: Using a small file or coarse sandpaper, key up the inside shoulders of your tyres. Wash them in warm, soapy water and allow them to dry.
Step 2: If you have plastic wheels on the car, put the 9v battery terminals against the pick-up braids to turn the motor at a moderate pace. Get a feel for how the motor responds and judge the next steps appropriately.
Step 3: Firmly secure medium or fine sandpaper on a flat surface and spin the hubs to remove any flash or injection pins from the contact area – but don’t get carried away and resize the wheel! Rub the wheels down with a damp cloth and allow to dry.
Step 4: Replace the tyres on the rims. Using a flat screwdriver or modelling knife, apply glue both inside edges of the tyre to the shoulder of the rim. Use only the tiniest amount of glue possible – firstly, you want to be able to break off worn-out tyres without damaging the rim and secondly, superglue can significantly reduce the grip levels of rubber over time.
Step 5: Firmly secure medium sandpaper to a flat surface. Holding the car firmly, apply the 9v battery to the pick-up braids and then place the rear wheels very gently on the sandpaper. Allow any imperfections in the rubber to be ‘buzzed off’. Check the finish with the ruler.
Step 6: With the contact patch now smooth, you will likely have a rough-liking finish to the top edges of the tyre. Create a smooth, rounded edge to the tyre by gently working it over the sandpaper while the 9v battery spins the wheels.
Step 7: Apply a drop of light oil (sewing machine oil is perfect), and work it in to the rubber with your fingertip.
Step 8: Clean up any excess oil with a cloth, impregnated with a little lighter fluid.
Step 9: Go racing!
Note: It is possible to buy a ‘tyre truer’ for around £150-200 but for most purposes sandpaper will suffice. Emery boards are available at the club for any last-minute ‘buzzing’ of the tyres.