My guess is that you just got your Hot Wheels, or you want to open your model collection. Although I always suggest not to open models if you’re a collector since it could lose some of its value, sometimes it is necessary. Since they are toys, there are times where we would want to play with them. But how do we properly open a hot wheels car? Are there things to watch out for?
To open a Hot Wheels, you first need to remove the rivets since the permanent fastener holds the model together. After that, you need to drill with the 9/64′′ bit in order to remove the rivet head. Lastly, you need to pull the model base from the body with a Slot-head screwdriver.
This blog post discusses the most straightforward steps in opening a Hot Wheels car and some helpful bonus tips such as opening Hot Wheels without using a drill or damaging the card.
Steps to Open a Hot Wheels
There are two types of Hot Wheels collector: The first type loves to collect the car to showcase them and preserve them as an investment, and the other type is more of a car enthusiast who loves to modify it and turn it into their own.
And, when it comes to modifying a Hot Wheels car, the frequently asked question is, how to open it?
It is not difficult to disassemble a Hot Wheels or similar 1/64 scale diecast toy, but it requires the use of a drill and appropriately sized drill bits.
Let’s get started.
Step One: Remove the Rivets
When you turn a Hot Wheels over, you’lll notice the rivet(s) that hold the diecast car together.
This rivet is a permanent fastener that must be drilled out to be removed.
The first thing is to drill a pilot hole with a 1/16′′ drill bit.
Maintain a 90-degree angle with the drill.
This is an excellent time to consider how you want to reassemble the casting.
If you want to reassemble the toy with a screw, drill a hole in the post the length of the replacement screw.
But, if you intend to reassemble the toy with glue or epoxy, the 1/16′′ hole does not need to be deep; it will simply serve as a guide for the 9/64′′ bit, which we’ll use later.
Step Two: Remove the Rivet Head
It would be best if you now change your drill bit to a 9/64′′ bit. The size of this bit is comparable to the size of the rivet head.
The hole you will drill with the 9/64′′ bit is only for removing the rivet head. It is very shallow, so proceed slowly.
Step Three: Pull with a Small Slot-Head Screwdriver
Now that the rivet(s) head has been removed, the car’s body is ready to separate from the base.
The diecast’s base and body often fit very tightly and may have a bit of glue along the edges.
Pull the car’s base away from the body with a small slot-head screwdriver.
How do you open a Hot Wheels without a drill?
In order to open a Hot Wheels without a drill, you need to use a soldering iron with a tip small enough that it won’t get in the way of removing the base. Then heat the rivet, and the plastic base untilyou’lll be able to disassemble it.
The main reason for disassembling Hot Wheels without drill is to allow you to reassemble it without noticing that you modified it.
This method does not work on older vehicles with metal bases.
However, you can disassemble newer cars with plastic bases without drilling the rivet.
The method is to use a soldering iron to heat up the rivet and the plastic base sufficiently to allow you to disassemble it.
But, keep in mind that it is not safer to use a soldering iron than a drill.
Here’s how to use a soldering iron to open a Hot Wheels car.
To disassemble a Hot Wheels car without a drill, you’ll need a soldering iron with a small enough tip that it doesn’t get in the way of removing the base.
A high-wattage iron speeds up the job, but make sure the tip is small enough to fit on the rivet head.
If you have a low-wattage iron, plug it in and wait 15 minutes for it to heat up.
Set up some scrap wood to hold the car steady while you work on it. Meantime you have to wait for it to heat up.
You must be able to keep the car parallel to the iron while pressing down on it with force.
Place the iron’s tip on the rivet long enough to heat it up.
Pull the trigger if your iron has one, as high-wattage Weller units do.
The rivet usually needs at least 30 seconds to heat up and soften the plastic.
Wiggle the car’s wheels back and forth as carefully as you can.
You may have to wiggle the wheels and the base for another 30 seconds before it snaps off.
While performing the task, be very careful not to touch the soldering iron at any point.
Wearing work gloves is highly recommended.
How do you open Hot Wheels without damaging the card?
You can open Hot Wheels without damaging the card by using nail polish remover with Q-tips to gently dab the line where the blister meets the card. Then wait 30 seconds to 2 minutes until the blister comes out on its own, then gently lift the blister from the bottom.
You’ll need a bottle of Nail polish remover.
You can use Acetone also, but Nail Polish Remover is far more effective.
Q-tips or earbuds. Because of its rounded end, which is the perfect size, can hold many nail polish removers.
The important thing you should keep in mind is that you have to use nail polish remover on the back of the card.
It’s possible, and it requires gently dabbing the line where the blister meets the card and can avoid the risk of removing some of the colors from the front.
- Fill the cap with your Nail Polish Remover.
- Dip the Q-Tip into the solution until it is completely saturated.
- Take note of where the blister meets the card on the front (it’s never centered accurately), and then gently apply the nail polish remover to the equivalent spot on the back of the card.
- Always apply the solution to the bottom and edges. Keep the blister’s top in place so you can hinge the car out and back in again.
- Once the card has been thoroughly soaked, flip it over to ensure that it has passed through the card to the correct spot (underneath the blister edges)
- Simply wait 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on temperature and conditions), and you will notice the blister come up in sections on its own.
- Gently lift the blister up from the bottom.
How do you open and reseal Hot Wheels?
After about 5 – 10 minutes, the card will be completely dry – and because it was a chemical solution rather than water, it dries without leaving any marks.
You can simply add your customized vehicle now. Then, you can re-glue the blister back down and wait for it to dry.
PVA Wood Glue is highly recommended because it dries clear and can be applied neatly with a Q-Tip.
“Only the things I love”
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So, here are the things I love when taking care of my Diecast Models.
Cleaning the Models
The first we are going to talk about is cleaning the models.
- Air Brush – For me, this is the best since it not just removes dust but you can use it in painting/clear coating.
- Air Duster – This is a good alternative to Airbrush
- Normal Brush – If you are short on budget, you can use a normal brush. However, make sure that the brush has soft bristles because there are some hard brushes than can cause scratches. That’s why I recommended a good brush that can do the job properly.
Cleaning and Shining Hacks
Well, here are some of my cleaning hacks for removing scratches, oxidation, and so much more.
- Removing Decal Adhesive – Use Goo Gone on those hard-to-remove decal adhesives. It works fast and works like charm!
- Waxing and Polishing – Here is something a lot of people don’t know. Waxing protects the clear coat and paint while polishing shines the model. Instead of buying it separately, use a 2 in 1 to save money. Get this instead.
- Beginner Wax – The wax I recommended earlier is good and provides the best results based on my experience. But a beginner might have a problem especially if they’re not good at applying wax. Solid wax reaching hard to reach surface can be hard to remove. You have two choices here. One is to use a qtips to reach those surfaces, another is to use a liquid wax I recommended.
- Cleaning Wheels, Rubber, Plastic – Do not forget that rubber and plastic surface are quite different, especially in the cleaning process. Just wiping it down won’t do the job. That’s why I use Meguiar’s Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner and Conditioner. Works like charm!
- Make the Wheels Shine! – Making our models look good won’t be complete without tiny details such as shiny wheels! Do not forget this because however small this is, the difference can be as big as night and day.
- Remove Scratches Easily – Tiny scratches are not the end for your model. Here is a simple trick I’ve been using to make my models look scratch-free even without repainting. Use T-Cut.
Painting the Models
Make sure when you paint models, have these ready.
- Tape – A tape is important if you are painting a straight line. Furthermore, it will prevent your paint to scatter on other parts. I recommend Tamiya Tape since it is really made for models. Furthermore, they stick really well preventing paint splatters.
- Brush (Beginner) – Find a good set of brushes to paint your models. Of course, you can opt for an airbrush but it’s quite expensive.
- Airbrush (Intermediate/Expert) – This will yield a significantly better result than an ordinary brush because you can easily spray the paint evenly. I recommend this if you know what you’re doing.
- Stand(Optional) – Stands are good because it can be hard to manually hold the models while painting. It is optional but in my opinion, the price is well worth it for the comfort it gives.
- Drop Cloths – Drop Cloths will protect your surroundings from the paint.
- Primer – The most common beginner mistake I see is painting models without any Primer. A primer will prevent imperfections such as bubbles or paint not sticking to your models. It is a small price to pay for quality results.
- Clear Coat – A clear coat will protect the paint of your models. This will make the paint last longer. Also, it is the one responsible for making your models shine.
Of course, you can’t do painting properly without paint. So here are the ones I recommend.
- Acrylic Paint – Good for beginners because it dries quickly. However, it doesn’t produce results as good as enamel paint.
- Enamel Paint – Provides a good quality finish and longer-lasting paint. However, it takes longer to dry and requires expertise to use.
- Simple Wood Cabinet – While it doesn’t let you display your models, wooden cabinets are good storage for these models. For one, they are not heat conductors which means that the temperature inside will remain constant and remain cool. Furthermore, they prevent light from reaching the models which can cause oxidation.
- Clear Cabinet with Lock – If you want to display your models, then I recommend this. It closes so dust won’t easily get to your models. I also recommend you don’t put more than 1 model in each compartment since metals are good conductors of heat.
So you want to show off your models to others? Well, I got you covered.
Here is my beginner-friendly model photography tutorial that teaches everything from taking pictures to the editing process.
You will also see me doing hands-on photography in that tutorial.