So, you got your kid a power wheels toy. They had a great summer riding it around. And now after being stored away for 6 months, the damn thing won’t start!
That’s a problem many power wheels users face, and the blame almost always goes to the dad for buying the wrong product. But don’t worry; it’s not your fault and the battery is likely not dead, even if it looks so.
We have seen many people complain that power wheels batteries tend to stop working when kept for a few months without using them. It does not cooperate or start. Lucky for you, there’s a way you can bring them back to life.
Every time you buy power wheels for kids, don’t think that you have to get a set of extra batteries. Batteries do not die easy, but when kept inactive for months, they may act out a little. So, all the auto mechanic dads of the world reading this, get your tools ready because we’re going to work!
Different kinds of charger
There are mainly two sorts of batteries used by power wheels, namely the 6 volts and the 12 volts variant. There are different kinds of chargers available in the market today. And the two most common power wheel toys use two chargers – the wall plug version and the smart charger.
We all know the typical wall charger which is used today to charge most of our devices. It is a trickle charger that provides the required voltage capacity continuously at low amperage. This continues until the time you switch it off. The wall chargers cannot measure the battery level and will keep charging until the switch is turned off manually.
Power wheels always warn their users not to charge batteries for an extended period of more than 15-20 hours. This would lead to overcharging, which could destroy the battery and make it dead.
A smart charger works like a wall plug one but is more intelligent. Here too, there is a continuous trickle voltage at lower amperage. But the processor is such that it senses when the battery has 100% charge and it stops itself. Whenever the charger detects a 100% charged battery, it does not charge further and only keeps maintaining the voltage.
Why does a battery die?
A battery stops functioning if it is not used for a long time, but this does not mean that it is dead. Even if you charged it well before storage, the natural discharge rate decelerates and drains the battery over time. This leads to the complete discharging of the cell within the next quarter of a year.
A battery that is completely discharged is prone to sulfation. This demolishes it with time and also reduces its operational capacity. Power wheel batteries are usually made to last 3-4 years if it receives ideal maintenance even during seasons when it is not being used.
Steps to revive a dead Power Wheels battery
Through parallel charging, one can bring back a battery that is almost dead. Follow the below steps to do it successfully.
Step 1 – Begin by charging another battery fully. This battery must have a similar voltage as the power wheels one. It should be either 6 volts or maximum of 12 volts.
Step 2 – Now connect the two spade connectors from the power wheels battery to the fully charged battery. Both the positive and negative ends should meet their respective terminals of the charged cell.
Step 3 – The power wheels battery should start pulling voltage from the other one. This would bring down the total voltage to less than 12 or 6 volts depending on the battery capacity.
Step 4 – Now insert the charger into this loop, which does not have a 100% charge as of now. As the light becomes green, the parallel battery has to be removed. Then proceed to attach the charger clamps to your original battery’s charging heads.
Step 5 – Make sure not to switch off the charging for at least a few hours until the light turns green. This is an indication that the power wheel’s battery is completely charged.
Tricks to prevent a battery from dying
Here are some very easy tips that you should keep in mind to increase the life of your batteries:
1. Do not charge the battery for more than 12-15 hours at one go. Overcharging is a problem and can cause harm to the cell.
2. If you are going to store the battery for 2-3 months, we recommend you to take the cells out from the toy.
3. To counter the battery’s normal discharge rate, make sure that you charge them for at least 8 hours every two to three months. This will prevent the batteries from dying and enable your charger to charge the cells.
Altering the battery
You can also try to modify the battery and upgrade it. This could be done, but there are specific points that you should be cautious about.
1. Make sure that the cell and the motor have the same capacity – this is essential! A ride-on car utilizes an SLA style battery.
2. In case you wish to increase the electric charge of any battery, you can aim to do so, but make sure to use a strong breaker or a replaceable fuse.
3. If you want to raise the electromotive force to 18 or maybe 24 volts, this is possible too. But then, get a volt charger with a similar capacity.
The last thing you would want to do is spend on substituting cells after a year of buying the toy. In most cases, the toy has not been used for months, and you end up paying for a battery replacement. It does not make sense, right? We hope you will try out this process. This can get your batteries to work for 2-3 years easily.
Also, if you are buying your child a new toy, then be sure to follow the charging and battery care instructions correctly. This is a requirement if you want to have your batteries lasting long.
Remember – the battery can be revived only if it is not faulty in the first place. If you have received defective batteries, you should get in touch with the manufacturer and ask for a replacement.
It is time to go on and try this out yourself. Let us know if your kid thinks you’re the best dad in the world by commenting below.
Till next time!