power wheels ride on car

How To Test Power Wheels Battery And Bring It Back To Life

If you are wondering how to test power wheels battery, we’ve got it covered.

Nine out of ten customers have faced issues with their power wheels toys’ batteries – after a few months of inactivity, it just does not cooperate and start. Does that mean you have to purchase a new battery to let your kids ride these cool toys again?

The charger accompanying the toy may also fail to charge its battery. Does that mean your power wheels battery is dead? Is there a way to bring it back to life? Let’s answer these questions step by step.

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What causes a battery to be almost dead?

A battery is not necessarily dead if it does not function correctly. You can revive and use it if you follow some simple tips and tricks we are about to share.

The most common cause of an almost dead battery is long periods of inactivity. Say you put the power wheels toy away for winter to pass and take it out when spring arrives; the chances are that it will not start. But a few months of garage time for the toy does not mean you have to buy a new battery.

Why does a battery become almost dead if it is not used for a few months? Even if you charge it fully before storing it, the natural discharge rate slowly kicks into effect, and the battery discharges entirely within three to four months. A discharged battery is prone to sulfation, which destroys it and compromises its operating capacity.

Irrespective of the type of charger you use, overcharging a battery is not good and affects its useful life. Taking long breaks before charging the battery can also render it unresponsive. There is no trick here – power wheels batteries need to be used with caution. You should avoid overcharging it or not charging it for a long time.

Power wheels batteries are meant for an optimal useful life of around three to four years provided you employ the ideal maintenance in the off-season. The actual useful life, as reported by users, is around one to two years.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to avoid having an almost dead battery:

  • We recommend not charging the battery for more than 12-15 hours at a stretch.
  • For best results, remove the battery before you store the toy for a couple of months.
  • To counter the battery’s natural discharge rate, charge it once for eight hours every two to three months.

Types of chargers

Power wheels toys primarily use two battery voltages – 6 volts and 12 volts. As such, each toy comes with a corresponding charger for the battery.

While there are various types of chargers with different voltage delivery, two are very common for power wheels toys – Wall or Trickle Charger and Smart or Float Charger. Let’s take a closer look at each of these charger types and how they affect your power wheels battery.

1. Wall-Plug Charger – Whether we have a power wheels toy or not, we are familiar with the traditional wall-plug chargers. A trickle charger delivers the said voltage capacity consistently at low amperage for as long as it is plugged in. These chargers are slow and do not sense a battery’s charge level.

Power wheels warn its prospective customers to charge the battery using these chargers for a maximum period of 24 hours unless you want to overcharge it and render it almost dead.

2. Smart Charger – A float charger is similar to the wall-plug charger in terms of having a constant trickle voltage at low amperage. A float charger is more intelligent than its predecessor, as it features a circuit that can sense when the battery is charged fully. When the charger detects a 100% charged battery, it switches to monitoring the voltage without charging.

Power wheels offer the 12-volt Quick Charger, which has a built-in indicator that shows the battery level.

Testing a battery

The traditional charger included with your power wheels toy is not capable of testing a battery’s charge. None of the wall-mount chargers is equipped to test a battery, so power wheels chargers are no exceptions. Can you use smart chargers to check it? The answer is a bit complicated.

While smart chargers are equipped to test a battery’s charge, they do not always give the correct result. If you let your power wheels battery sit idle for a few months and then connect it to a smart charger, it will receive negligible voltage and fail to recognize the battery. Do not be surprised if the error light pops up.

The first battery test is whether the power wheels toy starts or not. Leaving out the exceptions, people generally do not proactively test a battery unless something goes wrong and the toy refuses to work. We recommend that you verify the power wheels battery using a smart charger every two to three months.

Bringing it back to life

One of the most straightforward ways to bring an almost dead battery back to life is by parallel charge. Follow these steps to bring your almost dead power wheels battery back to life:

  • Fully charge another battery with the same voltage as your power wheels battery (6 volts or 12 volts).
  • Connect the positive and negative spade connectors from the power wheels battery to their respective terminals on the fully charged battery.
  • The discharged power wheels battery will start drawing some voltage from the parallel battery, making the combined voltage less than 12 volts (or 6 volts).
  • Plug the charger into the circuit, which is not fully charged anymore. When the light turns green, remove the parallel battery and attach the charger clamps only to power wheels battery’s charging plug leads.
  • Keep charging for a couple of hours till the light is green, which indicates that your power wheels battery has been fully charged.

Modifying a battery

Some users have tried to modify and upgrade their power wheels battery. It can be done, but you need to be careful about a few things:

  • Make sure you match the battery with the motor – ride-on car uses an SLA style battery.
  • If you want to enhance the amperage of the battery, make sure you use a powerful breaker or replaceable fuse.
  • If you increase the voltage to 18 volts or 24 volts, make sure you get an equivalent volt charger too.

Final Words

You would not want to spend on a battery replacement just a year after purchasing a power wheels toy. Following the Charging and Battery Care Instructions that come with each product is a prerequisite for a long-lasting battery.

It is essential that you only try to fix a battery issue that you can recognize and rectify. In case of a faulty battery, you should contact the manufacturer or get a replacement.

About the Author Roger

Roger is a mechanical engineer by day and grease monkey by night, who spends all his free time tweaking things in his car. His love for car audio equipment is only matched by his desire to help others find the best products suited to their needs.

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