Buying your lad his first Scalextric could be the start of a lifelong passion.
And if you want to keep the track and cars running better, for longer, you’ve got to look after them.
But how you feel about maintaining your Scalextric very much depends on whether you’re a “glass half empty” or “glass half full” kind of person.
It’s either one of the simple joys of owning a slot car track or it’s a complete pain in the arse.
Either way, buying these few extra items makes looking after your new set a whole lot easier.
Floor Covering / Carpet Protector
Fluff is the nemesis of the carpet slot car racer.
It gets everywhere. Into the slot, under the contacts, and into the cars. After even a short time racing on a carpet, opening up a car is like looking inside a vacuum cleaner bag. And when the fluff mixes with the grease on the back axel, it turns into a black sludge that sprays over the chassis shell and clogs up the car’s gear.
All of which not only means you’ll have more to clean, it reduces the performance of your cars too.
The war against fluff starts before you’ve even slotted a piece of track together.
If you’re planning on using your Scalextric on a carpet then putting down carpet protector before laying the track is an absolute must.
This plastic carpet protector from Screwfix, comes in a 25m roll and has a sticky backing that makes it super easy to lay.
Though it won’t completely stop fluff finding its way into your track and cars but it will dramatically reduce it.
Available online, priced at £12.49.
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Precision Screwdriver Set
You’re a man. You’ve made it to adulthood and produced a miniature version of yourself. This means you probably also have a set of serious heavy duty screwdrivers.
Whatever the job, you’ve got a screwdriver for it. Phillips, flatheads, or posidrive. Check. You’ve even got screwdrivers that wouldn’t look out of place on an oil rig.
But guess what size the screws that hold a Scalextric car together are?
Yeah, they’re tiny.
And trying to loosen them with each of your existing phillips screwdrivers will only strip the heads off the screws. And that novelty set of miniature screwdrivers you got from a Christmas cracker won’t cut it either.
So unless you also happen to fix watches in your spare time, if you want to open up the cars (Note: You definitely will) you’re going to need a precision screwdriver set.
This precision reversible 8 piece screwdriver set from Wickes is just the job.
Available online, priced at £11.99.
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With use, and over time, the rails on your track will become dull and tarnished. This weakens the contact between the track and the car, meaning less power is passed and reducing car performance.
Using a track rubber – essentially an oversize eraser with an abrasive material in it – by rubbing it along the rails, removes the tarnish, and returns track performance.
This is my least favourite maintenance job. As it cleans, the track rubber disintegrates leaving silver & black grains on your track (and just about everywhere to be honest), which then have to wiped off with a damp cloth. To do a proper job on this, and to capture all the track rubber debris, I recommend taking the track up and cleaning it on a piece of newspaper.
Fortunately, it isn’t something you have to do too regularly. Depending on how much use your track gets, maybe only once or twice a year, but it’s definitely something you always should do to any second-hand track you buy from eBay.
Available online from Amazon, priced at £4.00.
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Finally, super glue.
While even the high detail cars will take a bit of abuse, they’re made of plastic and if you crash them enough (Note: You definitely will) they will break.
The first victim is nearly always the spoiler, closely followed by the wing mirrors.
It happens to the best of us:
I’ve found that all but the worst breakages can be fixed with a spot of superglue though.
A handy addition to your slot car tool box.
Available online from Amazon, priced at £2.99.
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