As a parent, it is quite possible that you may have bought toy cars for your kids. They continue to be one of the most popular play items for your children. They are perfectly suited for children between the ages group 12 months to 7 years old. There are many features that go in making them quite popular amongst millions of children of various ages and also amongst parents.
They have realistic features and look as good as the originals they are supposed to mimic. In a few cases, they also come with additional features. These include power lock brakes, hoods, and doors that can be opened and closed, apart from being able to move both in reverse and forward directions.
In this article, we will be focusing mostly on the major and common faults that these toys have. We will also look at the possible Power Wheels problems solutions so that the toys can be set right without having the need to go in for new ones. There is no denying the fact that these toys cost money and therefore there is nothing wrong in trying to increase the durability and longevity of the same. Many of the faults and problems are easily solvable provided we are able to identify and diagnose the same.
Apart from the focus on this main subject, we also will be looking briefly at the history of these wonderful toys. We are sure that the article will be interesting and informative to our readers and will help them to address certain mechanical and other problems with power wheels without having to take recourse to technicians and other such staff. Getting the right after-sales services and other such support is often tough and not possible in some far-flung areas.
Hence, the best way forward would be to have some reasonably good understanding so that you can indulge in some safe and proven DIY techniques to set the power wheels right. Once you are able to identify the main problems and diagnose the root of the problem, it will not be long before you are able to do the repair and maintenance on your own.
Table of Contents
A Brief History
Power Wheels has been around for quite some time and the first toys belonging to this brand name came into the market in 1984. It all happened in San Francisco, the USA. A toy company by the name Kransco took over another firm by the name Pines of America. This company was known to make popular battery-powered vehicles. This takeover later resulted in the formation of a new company by the name Power Wheels.
The toys became instant hits and by the year 1990, Power Wheels was able to sell around 1,000,000 units per year. There were other buy-outs over the years and the brand reached newer heights of success. There were a few milestones and one such milestone happened in the year 1999.
The year saw Power Wheels come out with the toy version of the famous Harley Davidson Motorcycle Ride-On. This again met with huge success and this particular toy alone was able to help the firm register record sales during the year in question.
A wide range of products
The reason for the success of the Power Wheel brand could be attributed to many reasons. They have a wide variety of toys and ride-on to offer. These include some well-known brands of motorcycles and trucks, cars, and many other such vehicles. It would be pertinent to mention here that they have ride-on cars covering almost all major models in the market.
A few names that come to the mind are Ford F-150 Series, Ford Mustang, Jeep Hurricane, Jeep Wrangler, Kawasaki KFX Quad, Cadillac, Lightning Queen, and a host of other such models. Hence, they are often referred to as the one-stop solution when it comes to a wide variety of makes and models of cars.
If you still want more information about the best ride on cars for kids you can check out our guide to show the best ones. Ultimate Remote Controls Ride on cars for kids Buyers Guide 2020.
Problems & repairs
While there is no denying the fact that Power Wheels is a big brand name for toys for children in the age group 12 months to seven years, there have been some issues with the miniature ride-on vehicles.
Problems of breakdowns, repairs, and damages caused by hard hits and other defects have been reported by scores of customers across the world. Hence, there is a need to overcome and address these issues. While identifying a good mechanic to repair these toys or a service center is the best way forward, this may always not happen.
In such situations, it would be better if you are able to learn how to identify the problem areas and get on with the various repairs. We are happy to share a few useful paragraphs and we are sure it will help you to set things right as far as these Power Wheel Toy Ride-on vehicles, bikes, and other such toys are concerned.
How do you troubleshoot a Power Wheel?
Like any mechanical unit, it is quite possible that Power Wheels replicas and miniature versions could also develop problems. While taking it to a mechanic and setting things right is an option, it would not be a bad idea to look for other options too.
There are many troubleshoot approaches that you could try out and in most cases, it could go a long way in setting things right. We are listing down a few things that you should identify the problem and then get on with the job of getting it right.
* Power supply may not be reached where it is needed.
This is one of the most common problems and the same can be diagnosed and identified easily. You need a simple voltmeter and you are not required to spend big money on an expensive meter. The circuit is intricately designed and it runs from the battery. There could be diodes or fuses that connect to the battery terminals.
If you could use a meter and check the power supply, you may be able to solve the problem and identify the issue without too much of a struggle. The power moves to the pedal and it also powers the forward and reverses switch. It also is then passed to the motors. This also powers the motors of the power wheeler.
* Test the throttle or the foot pedal switch
You also need to check the throttle switch and it is considered to be one of the most common troubleshooting options for your Power Wheels problems solutions. You need to make use of the multimeter to identify any problem.
You will have to disconnect the paddle switch and test the connection using a paper clip. If you find that the motor starts once you have jumped the connection, you can be sure that the problem is with the pedal switch. If it doesn’t jump then it could be an electrical issue or you may need a replacement motor.
There is also a chance that the ride on car foot pedal is stuck.
* The forward and reverse switches
Sometimes the vehicle may not either move forward or backward and in some cases, it may refuse to move at all. Your vehicle may move slowly either on the forward or reverse gear. In such cases, the reverse and forward gear switches could be a problem. In such situations, you may have to check on the wires that connect the forward and reverse switches.
In case the vehicle has a high or low-speed switch, make sure that this is disabled by disconnecting the wires. You should then power on the ride-on vehicle. In case it is working only on high, you can be reasonably sure that the problem lies with the reverse and forward switches.
* Battery Charger or Battery Replacement
The Power Wheel electric ride-on toys are powered with batteries that are able to generate around 6/12 volts. When you buy the ride-on vehicles from the original stores of Power Wheels, you can be sure that the batteries are also original.
The connections of the batteries should also be original and according to the specifications of the manufacturers. You may have to replace the battery charger or the batteries itself after a few years.
Check whether the battery is able to generate the right voltage. Also, ensure that the power cuts off when it is supposed to. If the charger does not cut off it could damage the battery and burn it. Testing the charger and the battery is important and you can use your voltage meter for the purpose.
If the vehicle has absolutely no power then follow why my ride on battery won’t charge.
If the vehicle has power but won’t charge then follow how to charge a battery without a charger.
* Check the motor & controller
You have an easy way to test the controller. However, before doing so, please be sure that the switches and batteries are working in good condition. If you come across a clicking sound, it is quite possible that the problem could be with the motherboard of the controller.
The performance of the same can also be checked using a voltmeter. You will have to disconnect the motor from the controller. You should then hook it to a 6 or 12-volt charger and ensure that it is turning. You can be sure that the motors are designed to perform well for years and there is very little chance of the same getting damaged or going bad.
However; if you have done a battery or tire upgrade and have not upgraded the motor there is a chance that the motor can overheat. This is a bad sign for the vehicle and you need to fix the issue before your child can ride the vehicle again.
* Drill Drainage Holes
Further, ride-on vehicles are not designed to be waterproof. If they are exposed to water, they may not drain properly. It would be a good idea therefore to drill drain holes because it could help damaging wires, and other such parts. You can identify the right areas and have holes drilled in the right places. You may also have some issues if you drove your Power Wheels in the snow.
* Check and Double-Check
If the Power Wheels ride-on vehicle is beyond two years old, it becomes mandatory on your part to regularly check and double-check batteries, controllers, the various switches, and the batteries.
This will help you to easily pinpoint the areas of the problem without having to search for a needle in a haystack when you suddenly find that the toy car has stopped working. There could be more than one problem area and identifying it could be one big task.
* Seat Belt Issues
If the Power Wheels ride-on vehicle seat belts are no longer working this is a huge problem and can put your child at risk. Not all vehicles come with seat belts but we always recommend them because you never know what will happen and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
If the seat belts won’t click, are ripped or just not there at all you can replace or add your own seat belts to the vehicle. It’s a bit out side the scope of this article but we talk all about in this section here. Upgrading seat belts for Power Wheels.
Why won't my Power Wheels move?
There could be many reasons why Power Wheels refuse to move. It could be because of a faulty battery, faulty connections to the battery or the charger may have some issues. The connections to the charger should also be checked thoroughly and minutely. To begin with, make sure that your battery is able to generate 6 plus or 12 plus volts depending on the model and make of the Power Wheels Ride-On Vehicle.
A good reading alone may not signify that all is well with the battery. Make sure to also have the Power Wheels fully charged as this can often be the issue, some of the times you think you are charging it but the power cord may have become unplugged.
At times the battery needs to generate power in excess of 12 volts or 6 volts. This is because the start-up requirement of power is more and it comes down once the vehicle is on the move. You also may need to check the switchgear that is located under the gas pedal. This should not be a problem because most food board assemblies that run the pedals are press-fit into the respective slots. Therefore, you can easily pop them free using a simple straight-head screwdriver.
In many cases, the wires that are under the footboard assemblies could have been corroded and they may need cleaning. Once this is done it could move the Power Wheels “Wheels”. Another issue that could occur if your child has not driven this specific Power Wheels recently is he maybe over the weight limit of the vehicle, we have a whole article on how to check the weight limit.
Do Power Wheels have fuses?
Yes, there is hardly any doubt that your Power Wheels Ride-On batteries 12 volt or 6 volts come equipped with a thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is built in. There are a few unique things about the thermal fuses. They come with a unique self-resetting safety device.
This helps the fuse to automatically trip and the vehicle completely shuts down if and when the vehicle is overloaded. Even if the driving conditions are too severe and harsh, the thermal fuse automatically switches off and the vehicle comes to a grinding halt.
However, the older models may not have these thermal fuses. They come with a removable 25 amp fuse. This also helps to protect the battery from damage when it is being recharged or even when it is being used. The fuse must be checked regularly.
We recommend that you should be checked every time you need to charge the battery. This will ensure that the battery does not get damaged and also ensure that the charging happens properly, efficiently, and correctly. You should not hesitate to remove and replace blown fuses before you recharge the battery. If not, you will surely end up damaging the battery.
It is not a tough job to replace the fuse. You will have to ensure that the battery is unplugged from the ride-on vehicle. Take the battery out of the vehicle and make it sit on the ground with the top facing up. The fuse of the battery can be easily pulled out using your fingers. If you are unable to grip the fuse properly, you can make use of needle-nose pliers and this will help you to pull out the fuse quite easily.
Once the fuse has been pulled out, examine the insides properly. If you find that the metal strip is intact (middle of the fuse), you can be sure that the fuse is working fine. If it is broken, you have no other option but to replace the fuse. Buy a branded fuse of the same specifications and insert it into the battery.
While inserting it, make sure that the contacts are facing down. If the fuse is properly installed, it should sit tightly below the surface of the battery. However, do not charge the battery unless the fuse has been installed. You could end up damaging the battery and you will have no other option but to spend money replacing the battery with a new one.
Can you fix a Power Wheels battery?
In most cases, it may not be advisable to try and fix a Power Wheels Battery that is fully dead. However, there have been instances where even “almost completely dead” batteries have been given a new lease of life. You can try this trick though it may not always give you the desired results.
You could make use of a smart charger or a float charger. This is capable of delivering a low amperage charge to the damaged battery. The unique thing about this charger is that it has special circuitry. This is able to sense if and when the battery has been fully charged.
There are a few things that you must bear in mind before you actually even try for fixing a dead Power Wheels battery. Improperly charged batteries could lead to damage to the charger and could also damage the motor and therefore you must exercise caution. You must try reviving it only when you are reasonably sure about it.
You must also keep in mind the average lifespan of these batteries. It would depend on usage, but normally original Power Wheels batteries have a lifespan of around one to three years.
Further, you must use only the recommended batteries with the right voltage. Most 12 volt batteries from reputed companies are good enough. If you do need to replace the battery it is also a good time to upgrade to a bigger battery.
How do you know if a Power Wheels battery is good?
There is no doubt that most users do face problems with batteries of Power Wheels Toys. If the device is left inactive for a few months, it often fails to start and you may feel that you are in for a big fix. It does not, however, mean that you will have to replace the battery. In most cases, the batteries are good enough and all they require is a full charge. In many cases, the chargers that accompany the battery may be at fault.
An inactive battery takes a lot of time to get recharged in many cases. Batteries start discharging and the entire process of discharge may happen within two to four months. Avoiding a long period of inactivity is the best way forward. If the battery is filled with sulfur, you should have it cleaned without any delay.
Avoid overcharging your battery. Never charge your battery for more than 12 to 15 hours at a stretch. If you are not using the Ride-On vehicle for a few months, remove the battery. To avoid normal discharge, ensure that the battery is charged once in eight hours for the period it remains inactive. For more information on charging batteries please see our guide for how long to charge a battery which explains everything in detail.
How to take care of your Power Wheels vehicles?
We are sharing some useful tips that could help in keeping the Power Wheels Ride-on vehicles in good condition.
- When you buy Power Wheels Vehicles, ensure that you follow the assembling instructions. Set aside two to three hours for proper assembly.
- Ensure that the batteries are fully charged. You must set apart 14 hours after each use. It also is time to recharge the vehicle if you find that it is slowing down.
- Ensure that you have at least 2 to 3 hours of riding time per charge. The riding time could be impacted by passenger weight, the riding surface, the battery charge levels, frequency of use of the vehicle, overall condition of connectors and switches, and the speed at which the vehicle is being used. The external temperature could also have a role to play.
- Take care of your batteries properly. On average the batteries should last around two to three years before they need replacement. Ensure that you follow the right battery and recharge instructions.
- Keep your charger in good condition. If you find any problem, do not sit on it but have it corrected. If needed, replace the charger.
- If you are not using the vehicle during the winter or rainy season, ensure that it is kept in a protective environment.
- Clean the vehicle using a soft and dry cloth. Use non-wax furniture polish for giving the shine to your Power Wheels Vehicles. Stay away from automotive wax. Also, avoid washing the vehicle with harsh soaps and detergents. Avoid powerful water sprays from hoses. When the paint fades you may need to repaint the power wheels.
- Always tighten nuts, bolts, and screws before you use them every time.
- If you come across a problem that you feel is complicated, do not try to solve it yourself. Get in touch with an authorized agent because they know the job well, as a professional.
We hope we have been able to give a reasonably good insight into the various aspects of maintenance, upkeep, troubleshooting, and solving common issues with your Ride-on vehicles. If you follow them, you can be sure that you will be able to get the best value for money out of these wonderful toys and your children will certainly have a great time.
Kevin is the founder of RCRideOnCars. While watching my children drive around the yard on Ride On Cars with big smiles on their faces, I decided to start this Power Wheels site to help out everyone to make sure they get exactly what they are looking for.
You can see more of my RC RideOn Cars on YouTube and Pinterest, links below. Read all about us.