Why is My Power Wheels Motor Overheating?




Power Wheels Motor Overheating

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Most of the time, Power Wheels motor overheating is a result of straining the motor. Some of the reasons why your Power Wheels motor is overheating are:

  • Electrical Overload
  • Wear and Tear 
  • Not Breaking in the Motor 
  • Wrong Motor Pinion
  • Tire Upgrade  
  • Lack of Heat Sinks 
  • Climbing Hilly Terrains

Any parent with an active child appreciates the time a child spends on Power Wheels, giving the parent some time to relax. An overheating motor means your child spends less time on their Power Wheels, and you have to find an alternative source of entertainment. 

The situation worsens when the toy car shuts down once the motor overheats and doesn’t turn on for a long time. This article explores why Power Wheels motors overheat, and there are solutions that you can use.

Power Wheels Upgrade Instructions
If any of the issues are happening you will need to upgrade the motor this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Is It Dangerous When Power Wheels Motor Overheats?

A few dangers arise when a toy vehicle motor overheats when a child is in the car. The engine may turn off at an inconvenient location and cause a collision. 

You cannot predict when the motor will shut down due to overheating, which is a bit scary knowing that your child is in the toy car. 

There are rare occasions where Power Wheels motors exploded after overheating. The batteries in electric toy cars have chemicals, and you do not want to have a motor blow up when your child is driving. 

If you notice a Power Wheel motor overheating, find a solution as soon as possible. Meanwhile, keep your child away from the toy car.

Reasons Why a Power Wheels Motor is Overheating

Electrical Overload

An electrical overload happens when the battery output capacity is higher than the voltage that the motor can handle. It mainly occurs when parents upgrade the battery of Power Wheels and forget to upgrade the engines.

Overall, a motor will run for a session or two before it burns out because of the high electrical output. 

For example, when you upgrade a 6V battery to 12V, you need to upgrade the electric motor to 12V. As a rule of thumb, the battery’s voltage should be the same as the voltage of the Power Wheels motor so that it runs smoothly. 

Next, you will need to upgrade the gearbox or the gears inside will break down quickly and cause a grinding noise right before they stop for good.

An Electronic Speed Controller goes hand and hand with a motor upgrade. You need to have the right voltage circuits and wires to handle the upgrade, without this the overload will surely come after a few months. 

You can use a multimeter to see whether the cause of motor overheating is the amount of electrical current. Measure the current passing through the motor in amps and compare it with the motor’s recommended current.

If the electric current is higher than the manufacturer’s recommendations, you need to upgrade your Power Wheels engine. 

Wear and Tear 

The more times a child turns the motor on and off can lead to the Power Wheels motor overheating time. An old electric motor can start overheating because it can’t perform its duties appropriately.

Sadly, most parents forget to check the motors’ condition and don’t know an engine is damaged until the vehicle begins overheating. 

Power Wheels can last for years without getting damaged, and it is your duty as a parent to replace the motors every year or two. The frequency with which you upgrade your Power Wheels motors will depend on how much your child uses them.

Daily use may see your motors wear out within a year or sooner than toy vehicles used several days a week. 

You need to replace your motor if you haven’t done so in a long duration. A faulty engine can damage the vehicle if you don’t deal with it as soon as possible.

Ensure you choose a motor suitable for your Power Wheels to prevent complications after the installation. 

Not Breaking in the Motor 

New electric motors have new motor brushes that need to be broken in before your child can take Power Wheels on an adventure. Failure to break in a motor can lead to overheating and other complications in the future.

Motor brushes settle in well when you take the time to break a motor as per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

The standard way to break in an electric toy car motor is to raise the vehicle’s back and run the motor for a couple of minutes at the lowest speed level. The time is usually on the user manual, and you can 1-2 more minutes to be sure the motor is ready for use. 

Overall, it takes a couple of minutes to break in a new motor, and it can save you from Power Wheels motor overheating in the future. You need to break in a new engine that comes with Power Wheels or upgrade the existing one. 

Wrong Motor Pinion

A motor pinion is a gear attached to the top of a Power Wheels motor, which helps steer the vehicle. A bigger motor pinion can lead to the motor overheating because it will lead to more speed than the engine can handle.

It is easy not to notice a pinion that doesn’t fit well when you are not careful during the motor’s replacement. 

The solution is to find the correct pinion for your motor and replace the existing one. You should see a difference in the motor overheating problem after using the correct pinion. 

If your Power Wheels has the right pinion but is still overheating, you can opt to go for a smaller pinion to resolve the problem. You can find motor pinions at the local hardware store or auto shop for a small price.  

Tire Upgrade  

Upgrading tires without upgrading a motor can lead to Power Wheels motor overheating. Each motor has a capacity of Rotations per Minute (RPM) depending on the wheels’ size.

Moreover, each motor in power wheels corresponds to the engine’s size, gears, and wheels of the model. 

Installing bigger wheels or rubber traction wheels requires the motor to work faster to achieve the desired speed. The result is overworking the motor, which leads to overheating. 

It would be best if you researched upgrading your wheels not to strain the electric motor. If you need bigger wheels for a toy car, you may have to upgrade your motor in the process. 

Lack of Heat Sinks 

Heat sinks tend to keep motors cool when your little one is in the mood to drive around the yard non-stop. Power Wheels do not come with heat sinks, but you can buy them and install them without breaking a sweat. 

Heat sinks come in handy when the weather turns warm, and it becomes hard to keep Power Wheels motors cool. 

Climbing Hilly Terrains

Power Wheels work best on flat surfaces or small slopes. If you have hilly terrain, then your motor will strain to climb the hill. 

In such cases, the engine shuts off when it overheats, and the vehicle will move backward with your child in it. Sometimes the motor will start producing smoke because it is overworking to propel the toy car up a hill. 

If you notice your Power Wheels straining to climb a slope, discourage your child from going to the hilly part of your compound. Another alternative is upgrading the motor to give the vehicle more power.

You can also upgrade the battery to ensure the toy vehicle will go up the hilly terrain with ease.


It is essential to find a solution to overheating motors in electric cars as soon as you realize the problem. You can use a voltmeter to see whether the current passing through the motor is higher than the motor’s capacity. 

Now that you know the various reasons why a Power Wheels motor may be overheating, you will be in a better position to diagnose the source of the problem and find a solution.

You can find all the replacement parts and accessories online or at your local hardware store.

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