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Hex drivers, also known as hex wrenches or Allen keys, are essential tools for building, modifying, and maintaining RC cars. Their hex-shaped tips fit precisely into hex screws to provide maximum torque without stripping or damaging heads. Investing in a quality hex driver set ensures you have the right sizes always on hand for everything from swapping RC tires to adjusting differentials.
- Hex drivers allow applying higher torque on hex screws without damaging heads.
- Sets include a range of metric and imperial sizes for all RC applications.
- Durable chrome vanadium steel resists bending or rounding off hex tips.
- Ball-end hex drivers can access screws at an angle.
- Ergonomic handles provide better grip and leverage.
- Flexible shaft drivers help reach tricky screws in tight spots.
- Magnetic drivers prevent dropping small screws during repairs.
- Having both metric and SAE sizes avoids stripping screws.
- Storage cases keep hex key sets organized in your toolbox.
- Quality hex drivers are worth the investment for any RC enthusiast.
Reviews of the Best Hex Driver Sets for RC
Here are 10 top-rated hex driver sets perfect for working on all types of RC vehicles:
|Neiko 01407A Hex Key Set ↗
|100-piece set covering a huge range of metric and SAE sizes. Made of forged S2 steel for durability.
|TEKTON Hex Key Set ↗
|26-piece ball-end set made of hardened chromium-molybdenum steel. Rubberized handle for grip.
|Eklind Long-Arm Hex Key Set ↗
|Includes 7 color-coded, long-handled keys ideal for hard to reach screws. Made in the USA.
|Bondhus ProHold Hex Driver Set ↗
|USA-made professional quality drivers with ProHold magnets in the tips. Lifetime warranty.
|Madison Magnetic Hex Driver Set ↗
|Set of 9 magnetic hex drivers to prevent dropped screws and nuts during repairs.
|Hiltex 105-Piece Hex Key Set ↗
|Includes folding hex keys along with star, square, and Torx bits for RC versatility.
|LZXJ Extension Driver Set ↗
|Flexible shaft drivers with magnetic tips for hard to reach hex and Phillips screws.
|GOXAWEE Hex Driver Kit ↗
|83-piece S2 steel set with handles, extension, and flexible shaft drivers included.
|GEARWRENCH Hex Bit Socket Set ↗
|Hex bit sockets for use with ratchets or impact drivers to speed up repairs.
|SE MZ1018 74-Piece Hex Key Set ↗
|Hardened tool steel folding hex key set covers a full range of metric sizes.
What to Look for in RC Hex Key Sets
Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing hex drivers for remote control car repair and maintenance:
- Sizing range – A wide variety of tip sizes in both metric and imperial ensures you have the right fit.
- Durability – Forged chrome vanadium steel offers the best blend of hardness and strength.
- Ergonomics – Handles provide increased torque leverage and comfort during use.
- Organization – Cases or fold-out sets keep drivers neatly arranged and easy to access.
- Budget – You can get quality hex drivers for RC without spending a fortune.
- Magnetic options – Built-in magnets prevent dropping loose screws and hardware.
- Angle adaptability – Ball-end drivers allow accessing screws at angles.
- Reach – Long shafts or flexible extensions help access tricky, recessed screws.
Investing a little more for prosumer grade hex drivers yields big convenience and time savings over cheap sets.
Uses of Hex Keys for RC Cars
Hex drivers are invaluable anytime you need to remove or install hex-head screws on an RC vehicle. Some specific examples include:
- Suspension tuning – Adjust camber links, toe links, shock lengths.
- Gear swaps – Change pinion and spur gears to alter gear ratio.
- Tire changes – Remove and install hex-head wheel nuts.
- Chassis assembly – Attach parts like bumpers, skidplates, and nerf bars.
- Electronics access – Open battery compartments, receiver boxes, and more.
- Hop-up addition – Mount oil coolers, lights, winches, and other accessories.
- Motor maintenance – Disassemble motors to replace bearings, shafts, etc.
- Differential tuning – Open diffs to change oils and modify gearing.
Having a set ensures you have the right size ready for any hex-head screw repairs or adjustments.
Hex Driver Set vs. Hex Bit Socket Set
Hex drivers come in two main forms – traditional L-shaped Allen keys and hex drive sockets meant for use with ratchets or power tools. Here’s a quick comparison:
Hex Key Drivers
- Use manually – more control for precision adjustments.
- Offer extended leverage from the handle for tightening.
- Keys won’t damage screw heads as easily as power tools.
- Work well in tight spaces with little clearance.
- Multiple sizes readily available in one compact set.
Hex Bit Socket Sets
- Work with ratchet or power drill for speed on large projects.
- Deep sockets access recessed hex screws on parts like shocks.
- Can apply higher tightening torque than manual keys.
- Lock into ratchets and power tools for easier use.
- Sockets allow easy sharing of handles/drivers.
For most RC purposes, a standard hex key set offers the best balance of precision, control, and affordability. But power users may opt for hex bit sockets too.
Caring for Your Hex Drivers
Hex drivers will last years with proper care. Here are some tips:
- Clean after use – Wipe away dirt and lubricants to prevent corrosion.
- Avoid moisture – Store in a dry place, not your toolbox. Desiccant packs help.
- Don’t force – Apply minimal needed pressure to avoid bending or breaking.
- Check condition – Inspect for rounded tips or damage before each use.
- Use proper size – Don’t force wrong sizes into bolts or risk stripping.
- Light lubrication – Occasional oil on joints prevents rust for folding keys.
- Sort storage – Organize sets by size to avoid scratches and find sizes easier.
With basic maintenance, a quality hex driver set will provide years of reliable service for RC garage work.
Best Practices When Using Hex Drivers
Follow these tips to safely get the most benefit from your hex key set for RC projects:
- Reference charts – Keep a bolt/screw size chart handy to find the right hex size quickly.
- Magnetic retrieval – Use magnetic tips to remove dropped screws in tight spaces.
- Apply downward force – Push down as you turn to seat the hex tip fully into the screw.
- Feel for fit – If excessive force is needed, try a different size for a better fitting tip.
- Finger grip – Hold the short leg for more fingertip control during delicate adjustments.
- Take breaks – Switch hands if doing prolonged tightening to avoid hand fatigue.
- Alternate turns – Turn hex screws incrementally in a crisscross pattern for smoother threading.
Proper technique prevents stripped bolts, damaged parts, and frustration.
- Avoid overtightening – Use torque limiting handles or stop once screws become hard to turn. Overtightening can crack parts.
- Care with electronics – Take extra precaution when working around sensitive electronics like ESCs.
- Have backups – Keep spares of easily lost small hex drivers like 1.5mm or 2mm.
- Clear debris – Compressed air or a toothbrush can help clear debris from hex tips and screw heads.
- Extend hard to reach screws – Use bit extenders or flexible shafts for recessed bolts.
- Let penetrating oil soak – Stuck screws may need lubricant applied well in advance of repair work.
- Always double check – Confirm each screw is tightened properly after completing work.
- Avoid rounded tips – Immediately replace any hex drivers with worn, rounded ends.
By following good hex key usage habits, you’ll avoid damage and have an easier time tackling any RC repair or upgrade project requiring hex screws.
Hex Socket Alternatives
While less convenient than hex keys, in a pinch you can often substitute other tools to turn hex head screws and bolts:
- Needle nose pliers – Grip two sides of the hex head.
- Adjustable wrench – Open jaws enough to grip two flats of the hex head.
- Socket – Use a socket just bigger than the hex’s width. Hammer on gently if needed.
- Vice grips – Locking pliers provide an adjustable grip on hex screw heads.
- Rubber band – Wrap a rubber band around the hex head to improve grip.
- Super glue – Coat the hex head then attach a screwdriver with glue bond (temporarily).
These tricks work when lacking the proper size hex key or to extract a rounded or damaged hex screw. But for best results, always default to a hex driver that properly fits.
From occasional repairs to full race car builds, hex drivers are a remote control enthusiast’s best friend. Keeping a set with both metric and imperial sizes ensures you can handle any hex screw pit stop or upgrade. Look for hex keys with durable steel construction, comfortable handles, and organization for storage. With the right tools, even extensive wrenching on RC cars becomes an enjoyable hobby rather than a chore. A quality hex driver set pays for itself many times over in peace of mind and time saved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use hex keys with power drills or ratchets?
A: Yes, using hex bit sockets allows use of power tools for more torque on large projects. Just take care not to overtighten.
Q: What size hex drivers do I need most for RC?
A: 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, and 3mm hex keys will handle the majority of smaller screws on RC vehicles and electronics.
Q: Can I use ball end hex drivers on all screws?
A: You can, but ball ends can slip or damage screw heads in some cases. Use the regular hex end whenever possible.
Q: What metal should I look for in hex key sets?
A: Hardened chrome vanadium steel is ideal – it resists bending while still allowing some flex for leverage.
Q: Is it worth getting hex drivers with rubber handles?
A: Ergonomic rubber handles do provide noticeably more grip and comfort, so they are worth the small additional cost.
Q: Do I need both SAE and metric hex sizes?
A: Having both is highly recommended since RC products use both measurement standards. Mixing them up can damage parts.
Q: How can I remove a stripped or rounded hex screw?
A: Use penetrating oil first. Then very carefully try a larger hex size or extremely gentle drilling to removed the damaged screw.
Q: What causes hex drivers to wear out or break?
A: Using excessive force is the most common cause of damage. Bending keys trying to reach awkward angles will also lead to failure.