Power Wheels battery’s usually last between one and two years. This amount of time could be doubled if you charge the Power Wheels battery correctly. In today’s article we are going to look at the proper charging technique, as well as, give you helpful tips to extend the life of your Power Wheel’s battery.
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Caring for your Power Wheel’s battery is much easier than you realize, but there are some common mistakes that people make.
- Overcharging: Don’t plug in the charger and forget about it. You should never charge the battery longer than 15 hours. The charger doesn’t sense when the battery is full and won’t switch itself off automatically. Instead, it will keep pumping voltage until you physically turn it off.
If the battery is charged for more than 24 hours, it can cause serious damage. The internal plates will keep heating up until the battery pack swells and cracks open.
- Leaving the battery connected: In most seasonal states the car is packed away until it’s hot enough to ride it again. This means it sits in storage for between 3 and 4 months. If you don’t disconnect the battery during this time, the vehicle will continue to draw a small amount of power from the battery.
Those small amounts add up quickly and soon the battery will be completely drained. Once the battery is drained your Power Wheels battery charger will no longer recognize the battery and it won’t be able to charge it.
- Storing a dead battery: It’s very important to charge the Power Wheels battery before you store it for the winter. Storing a dead battery will result in you needing to purchase a new battery when you need to use it again. The charger won’t recognize the dead battery and you will be back at square one.
What Happens to a Battery During Storage?
Have you ever heard of the natural rate of discharge? This is the process in which a fully charged battery will begin to naturally discharge itself when it isn’t being used. The process can happen with two to three months of not being used.
The longer the charged battery sits around without being used, the more sulfation will build up on the internal lead plating and destroy its operating capacity. The battery will corrode and be eaten away.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Power Wheels Battery
So now you know what not to do, how do you get the most out of your Power Wheels battery? Here are some tips from the experts.
- Disconnect and remove the battery: Before you store the car for the winter. Disconnect and remove the battery. This will stop it from losing power. To reduce the natural rate of discharge, the battery should be stored in a warm place of between 55 – 70 F.
- Keep the battery alive: To combat the natural rate of discharge it’s recommended that you charge the battery every two or three months. Charge the Power Wheels battery for about eight hours. Ensure that you don’t overcharge it.
Looking After a New Power Wheels Battery
When you first receive your Power Wheels battery it’s recommended that you charge it for at least 18 hours before using the vehicle for the first time. After the first charge, you only need to charge the battery for 14 hours after each play session or if the battery goes flat. If you notice that the toy car is getting slower or sluggish, it’s probably time to recharge it.
Even if your child is begging for the toy, don’t only charge the battery until it has enough life for them to play. Once the battery is placed on charge, it shouldn’t be disconnected for at least 14 hours. Your kid will need to learn to be patient.
- Charge the new battery for at least 18 hours.
- After the first use, charge for 14 hours.
- Charge after each use.
- Never charge for longer than 30 hours.
- Charge the battery at least once a month when the car is in storage.
Power Wheels Charging Safety Tips
It should go without saying, but you should always use the correct battery charger. Not all chargers were created easily and the wrong voltage could trigger a fire accident or in the worst-case scenario, cause the battery to explode! If anyone is nearby when this happens, they could be seriously injured.
If your charger is lost or damaged then contact the dealer for guidance. The proper charger is essential to properly maintain the battery. Other tips include:
- Look for Damage: Wear and tear happens very easily, so it’s important to examine your charger very carefully before you use it. If it’s damaged don’t use it as this could be hazardous. Batteries contain sulfuric acid which is a very dangerous substance.
- Don’t short circuit it: It might be very tempting to short circuit the battery if it doesn’t want to charge after being stored. This is not a good idea and could end up damaging the battery and shorten the toy cars running time.
The Charging Process
Using the charger included with your purchase is simple.
- Plug the charger connector into the battery socket.
- Plug the charger into a standard power outlet.
Important to note:
- The power outlet switch should be in the on position.
- The charger wasn’t designed to be used ceiling outlet.
- Don’t put the battery on a surface that can be damaged. If the battery leaks sulfuric acid, it will cause a lot of damage. Imagine cleaning the mess off your kitchen counter!
- The battery should always be charged in a well-ventilated area.
- Don’t leave the battery connected to the charger. It should always be disconnected after charging.
How to Test a Power Wheels Battery
There are mainly two different chargers that can be used by your Power Wheel’s toy. Namely the 6 volts and the 12volts variety. The two chargers that are recommended are the wall plug and the smart charger. The normal wall socket outlet is sufficient, but the main problem is that it can’t sense once the battery is fully charged.
The smart charger was invented to solve this problem. It trickles the required voltage at low amperage and continues until the battery is full. Then it switches off. The Power Wheel’s manual warns users not to charge the battery for more than 20 hours at a time.
What Causes a Battery to Die?
If you don’t use a battery for a long period of time, it starts to lose its charge. This is problematic when it comes to storing your Power Wheels toy. A battery that isn’t used often is prone to sulfation. This reduces its life and capabilities.
Tips to Test Your Battery
If you have put your toy into storge and now it doesn’t seem to have a charge. You may be in luck; the battery may seem dead but it might not be a completely lost cause. Follow these tips to test your battery.
- Use a different, compatible battery charger that puts out the same voltage
- Connect the two spade connectors and make the positive and negative ends meet.
- Monitor if the Power Wheels start to pull voltage from the other side.
- Insert the charger into the loop and check if the light turns green. If not remove the parallel battery.
- Next, try the original charging clamps and attach them to the charging heads.
- Wait a few hours to see if the light turns green. The battery should recharge and indicate that it can be used in your Power Wheel’s toy.
How to Prevent the Battery from Dying
Easy ways to prevent your battery from dying include:
- Don’t charge the battery for more than 15 hours at a time. Overcharging leads to serious problems.
- Take the battery cell out of the toy before putting it into storage.
- To combat the natural discharge rate, you should charge the battery for at least eight hours, every 3 months.
Where to get a Replacement Battery
If your battery needs to be replaced, most dealers recommend buying a 12-volt, 12 amp per hour battery. This type of battery is ideal for your Power Wheel’s toy.
- A 6-volt battery can easily be upgraded to a 12v power version.
- If you must replace the battery, a Schumacher CR-1 charger for ride-on-toys is ideal. It’s equipped with LED lights that show you when the battery has been fully charged. This is because of float-mode that offers hook-up protection.
- Contact the manufacturer and they will source a new charger on your behalf.
What to Do if Your Power Wheel’s Battery Won’t Hold a Charge?
The quickest and easiest way to see what is wrong with your Power Wheel’s battery is to use a voltmeter.
- Start by taking a reading on the battery.
- Then take a reading of the Power Wheel’s charger that was included in the purchase
- The battery should have charged for at least 8 hours before you perform this test
How to Perform the Test
Once the battery has charged for a minimum of 8 hours, you can perform the test, by following these steps:
- Locate the positive and negative prongs on the Power Wheels battery
- Set your voltage meter on the 20 mark – this will allow the meter to display two decimal places and give the most accurate reading.
- Touch the positive (red cable) to the positive prong on the battery
- The negative (black cable) should be connected to the negative prong
- The voltage will then be displayed on the voltage meter
- Record this reading
The next step is to test the voltage output of the charger. Do this by:
- Plug the charger into a functioning outlet
- Touch the positive probe to the positive side
- And the negative probe to the negative side
- The voltage meter will show a reading
- Record this reading
The output of the Power Wheel’s charger should put out a voltage of between 13.5 to 14.5 volts. If your reading is much higher or shows a zero, it’s time to replace your Power Wheels charger.
If the battery reading shows above 12.6 volts or above, it means the battery has taken its full charge but can no longer move the Power Wheels toy. Any battery that is older than 3 years may experience this problem.
If you look after your Power Wheels battery properly, it can serve you well for four years or more. As long as you don’t make any of the common mistakes associated with charging.
Following the tips listed in this article should help you get the most out of your battery. That will keep your kids happy, happy children, mean happy adults, and endless hours of fun with your Power Wheels toy.