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Power Wheels is one of the greatest gifts ever for a kid. We all wanted the same thing when we were young, right? But now that your little one is enjoying it, wouldn't it be nice if it lasts much longer? Now, here's a little secret: it's not about how your kid uses it, but how you charge it that affects its lifespan.
Some of the helpful practices when charging a Power Wheels battery to make it last longer include the standard charging procedure of at least 14 hours but not more than 30 hours, removing the battery if you're storing it for long, and charging it at least once a month when not in use.
Of course, these aren't the only things you can do to ensure that Power Wheels will last longer. You have to do many other things, and we'll cover all of them in great detail. Stick around because this article will save you a ton of time and money you might spend on replacement batteries.
How Can I Make My Power Wheels Battery Last Longer?
When you look at most Power Wheels' technical details, you'll notice that most of them are suitable for kids of various ages, usually from 2 to 7 years old. We know that it's just a guideline on who should use these vehicles, not their expected lifespan, but wouldn't it be nice for your kid to really use it from 2 to 7 years old?
We want our kids to use them for years, but there's a persistent belief that Power Wheels batteries don't last as long. Although there's some truth to it, parents often miss many things when it comes to taking care of Power Wheels batteries. In fact, most of the problems that these batteries encounter are from mishandling them.
Below are some of the best practices that you can do to make Power Wheels batteries last longer. Keep in mind, though, that doing these doesn't mean they won't go bad. You may still have to get a replacement battery for your kid's Power Wheels.
Go Through the Initial Charging Process
One of the most common mistakes that parents make is to let their kids use the Power Wheels right out of the box. We understand it's exciting for you and your little one to use it as soon as possible, but the battery still needs to go through the initial charging process before using it.
So, before you even give it to your kid, be sure to take it out of the box, read the manual, and keep it charging for at least 18 hours. Doing this won't get your little one too excited, asking you to ride it every few minutes.
The initial charge is the most important process that a Power Wheels battery has to go through. It ensures that the battery will function properly and will last longer. It doesn't have to be on-the-dot; you can exceed 18 hours for the initial charge, but never more than 30 hours.
Practice the Standard Charging Process
Standard charging refers to all the subsequent charging sessions that the Power Wheels will go through after the initial charge. Now, there's really no minimum charge that it has to go through to work properly. You can charge it for an hour, and it'll still work. However, ideally, it should be at least 14 hours but not more than 30 hours.
Remember, as soon as you hit the 30-hour limit, the battery will start to drain and could drastically reduce the battery's lifespan. The more you leave it charging for more than 30 hours, the weaker the battery gets, and it may not even last for a year.
Now, 14 to 30 hours of charging sounds like a lot of time for a battery that can only run continuously for 45 to 90 minutes, but it's the industry standard for these toy vehicles. It's not that bad either, especially if you plug it as soon as your kid is done playing with it.
Another technique that some parents do for Power Wheels is using replacement batteries and then swap them with each other before it drains. Although you don't have to do it to make the battery last longer, it still reduces the stress of going through every charge.
Disconnect the Battery When Not in Use
Planning helps a lot in making Power Wheels batteries last longer. If your kid isn't using the toy car for a long time, you may want to disconnect the battery and store it properly. Doing this will prevent the toy car from drawing power from the battery passively, effectively reducing its lifespan.
You see, even when your kid is not using the Power Wheels, there will be an idle power consumption when it's connected to the battery.
Although newer models don't have as much draw as older models, it's still enough to completely drain the battery, especially if you're going to store it for a long time. The effect can be so bad that if you're storing it for the winter and you leave the battery connected, it may not even last until spring.
Sure, it'll take some time to take it out and store it properly, which is why many parents don't do it in the first place. However, idle power consumption is one of the most common reasons why Power Wheels batteries don't last long. So, plan and take some time to disconnect the battery to make it last longer.
Don’t Overcharge the Power Wheels Battery
As you may have picked up by now, overcharging is a common reason why Power Wheels batteries go bad. Modern gadgets that we have don't require as much charging as Power Wheels do; we charge our phones for an hour, and it can last for the whole day.
The long charging time for Power Wheels is one reason parents tend to forget that they're charging and might leave them plugged in for more than 30 hours.
If you want to make Power Wheels batteries last longer, you must keep reminding yourself to pull the plug after 30 hours. Normally, this won't be a problem because kids would use them daily, but if riding it the next day is not on schedule, you have to watch out for it.
A single instance where you charge your Power Wheels for more than 30 hours may not be as bad, but it will reduce the battery's lifespan. Continued overcharging will be detrimental, and if you're not looking out for it, the battery may need a replacement sooner than later.
Don’t Store Power Wheels for Too Long
Another common mistake that parents make with Power Wheels is storing it for too long. Now, it may seem harmless, and in fact, storing it when not in use is one of the best ways to make it last longer. However, keeping it stored for too long without charging the battery will drastically reduce its lifespan.
As mentioned, Power Wheels are prone to idle power consumption; they'll still draw power even if they're not in use. It won't be a problem if you're only going to store it for a week or two because newer models won't drain their batteries that fast. However, if you're planning to store it longer, it would be best to charge it at least once every month.
If you keep the battery drained for too long, the charger may not recognize it, and it won't charge at all. Unlike other best practices, this won't be a dramatic reduction in the battery's lifespan. You won't get a second chance for it, and when it happens, you'll need a replacement battery before your kid can start using it again.
So, there are two options for you to prevent it from happening: you can take out the battery or charge it once every month. If you're planning to store it longer, we'd recommend that you take the battery out instead. It's a safer route, and there's less hassle for you.
Don’t Store a Dead Power Wheels Battery
Two things will help you make a Power Wheels battery last longer: remove the battery when not in use or charge it once every month. If you're not doing either of these, you might soon need a replacement. Do you know what's even worse than not doing either of these? It's storing a dead battery for months.
It's a huge mistake that parents make when it comes to Power Wheels batteries. When they know that winter is coming, they'll give their kids one last ride until the battery runs out, then it goes straight to storage. Let us tell you that nothing could be worse than this.
Overcharging, not disconnecting the battery, and not charging the battery once a month are mistakes that may take months to make the battery useless. Also, storing a completely dead battery will only take a couple of weeks to make it useless.
So, never store a Power Wheels with a completely drained battery. As a best practice, whether your kid will use it the next day or next year, be sure to charge it after every use. It's easier to keep them in storage, but doing so will require you to get a replacement battery the next time your kid wants to ride the Power Wheels.
How Long Should You Charge a Power Wheels Battery?
You have to remember two things when charging a Power Wheels battery: the initial and standard charging sessions. For the initial charge, you have to keep it plugged in for at least 18 hours before you let your kid use it. It ensures that the battery will function properly and will provide you with the optimum lifespan that you expect from it.
After the initial charge, you have to charge the battery for at least 14 hours after each use. There's no minimum number of hours; you can charge it for an hour, and it'll still work, but the length of which your kid can ride will depend on how long you keep it charging.
Whether your kid will use it for the first time or not, you have to avoid leaving it plugged for more than 30 hours. Once it reaches 30 hours, the battery life will start to degrade, and the more you do it, the sooner you'll need a battery replacement.
When to Charge a Power Wheels Battery
Charging the battery is often where most mistakes happen. It's also the most likely reason why you'll need a battery replacement. It's not that hard to know when you should charge batteries; you just have to remember these four instances:
- Before it runs out: Our instinct is to let our kids use the Power Wheels until it runs out of battery, but doing this often can greatly reduce a battery's lifespan. So, please take note of how long each charge lasts and charge it even before it runs out of juice. If you want to give your kid extended playtime, the best way to do it is to get a replacement battery that you can use to swap out the original battery before it dies.
- After each use: Whether the battery runs out or not, you have to charge it after each use. If you want to make a Power Wheels battery last longer, the first thing you have to do after playtime is plug it into a charger and leave it for at least 14 hours.
- Before storing for a long time: If you're going to keep the Power Wheels for a long time (say throughout the winter), be sure to give it a full charge. Although newer models don't have as much idle power consumption, it may still be enough to drain the battery. We all know by now that storing a drained battery is never good, and your charger may not even recognize it the next time you charge it.
- At least once a month when in storage: Of course, our kids will use their Power Wheels every day, especially when it's new, but there will come a time when you may have to store it more than your kid uses it. If it takes longer than a month, you have to charge it to keep the battery in good condition.
How Good Are Replacement Batteries?
Even if you take care of the batteries, there will come a time when you'll need a replacement. In fact, even if your child doesn't use the Power Wheels often, you'll still need to replace the battery. However, is it advisable to get replacement batteries for Power Wheels?
Replacement batteries are good for Power Wheels. In fact, there are even some that can provide your little one with longer playtime. However, you have to be careful when using them because there are many different options available, and not all of them will be suitable for your kid's Power Wheels.
Before you buy a replacement battery, you have to consider three things: compatibility, charger, and size. Batteries come in different voltages, with 12v being more common for Power Wheels, but some also run on a 6v battery. Aside from the voltage, you also have to consider the type and amp rating for it to be sure that it'll work well with the model you have.
The charger is also important for replacement batteries. Although some of them will work with the original Power Wheels battery charger, it would be best to use the one that comes with your replacement battery. Different manufacturers have different charging mechanisms for their batteries, which can greatly affect the lifespan that you'll get from it.
The last factor you have to consider is the size of the battery you're going to use. It may be compatible with the Power Wheels, and it may include a charger, but it'll be useless if it doesn't fit. Although it's uncommon for batteries to be too big or too small, some manufacturers offer different sizes for the batteries they have.
If the replacement battery has all of these things, then it's safe to say that it's good for your Power Wheels. You may also want to consider having one in advance to use interchangeably with the existing battery that you have. It will not only help you prolong the lifespan of both batteries, but it'll also provide your kid with extended playtime.
However, even if you have two batteries for the Power Wheels, you still have to be careful when using them. It's good to have an additional battery, but if you're not doing the best practices to prolong their lifespan, it'll be even more expensive to replace both batteries.
Aside from the best practices, another common mistake that we see from parents who use two batteries is that they often leave one completely empty. Whether you have one or two, always be sure that you're charging both before storing them, especially if your kid won't use the Power Wheels for a long time.
Additional Things to Keep in Mind When Handling a Power Wheels Battery
Aside from the best practices that will help you make Power Wheels batteries last longer, there are also some things to keep in mind when handling Power Wheels batteries. We didn't include it in the best practices because these things aren't part of what parents usually do when dealing with batteries. If you want to make it last longer, be sure to do the following:
- Charge the battery in an upright position. Power Wheels batteries contain acid, and you have to be very careful when charging them. The best way to prevent leakage is to charge a battery in an upright position. It'll minimize the normal wear and tear that a battery gets from normal charging, significantly improving its lifespan.
- Check for cracks, leaks, or any visible damage before charging. Power Wheels batteries will go through the normal wear and tear, but if you notice severe damage on the battery, don't use it! Call a professional to repair it before charging. If the damage is extensive, refer to your manual for proper disposal.
- Examine the battery before installing it on the vehicle. Doing this doesn't really help make a Power Wheels battery last longer, but it helps prevent damage to the vehicle. If there's existing damage to the battery, it can lead to a faulty electrical system that can cause fire or explosion.
- Use a battery retainer when you install it. The battery contains hazardous fluid that can leak if it moves freely as your kid uses the vehicle. To prevent this from happening, be sure to keep the battery secured by using a battery retainer.
- Store the battery below 75°F (23.9°C) or above -10°F (-23.3°C). Power Wheels batteries will do well in most conditions, and they won't require stringent temperature control to work properly. However, if you want to make them last longer, always keep the temperature within the recommended range.
- Store the battery carefully and properly. Power Wheels batteries look robust, but they're susceptible to damages, even when in storage. There may come a time when a battery will leak while in storage, so be sure to place them on a surface that isn't susceptible to acid.
- Use the charger that comes with the battery. When you replace a Power Wheels battery, it would be best to use the charger that comes with it. Different batteries may have different mechanisms, and although using different chargers may work, it will gradually reduce the battery's efficiency. It may soon require you to get another replacement for it.
What You Should Avoid to Make Your Power Wheels Battery Last Longer
Aside from the things that you have to remember when it comes to Power Wheels batteries, there are also a few things that you need to avoid. Normally, these things won't affect how long a battery will last, but all of them can affect the safety of riding these vehicles. So, it would be best to avoid the following:
- Altering or modifying any part of the battery: Believe it or not, there are a lot of tips that you'll find online that claim to help you make the battery last longer by modifying or altering any of its parts. If you really want to make the batteries last longer, the best way is to avoid altering or modifying any of them.
- Repairing the battery to make it last longer: Wear and tear are normal for Power Wheels batteries, and it's possible to repair it to last longer. However, it would be best to have a professional do it for you. There are too many things that could go wrong with the battery, and it may even cause a faulty electrical system that can be dangerous to your child.
- Altering or modifying any part of the electrical system: Some people share tips on how to make Power Wheels go faster. However, most of them will require you to alter or modify the electrical system. Although some of these tips work, most of them will only reduce the battery's lifespan and could even lead to fire or explosion.
- Pulling the battery from the cords or connectors: One of the best ways to make Power Wheels batteries last longer is to remove or disconnect them from the vehicle when not in use. However, if you're going to carry the battery, it would be best to avoid pulling it from the connectors or cords. It can cause loose connection, which can greatly reduce a battery's lifespan.
- Using the wrong type of battery for the vehicle: There are different types of batteries you can use as a replacement. If you want to be sure that it'll last long, always use the right type of battery for the vehicle. Power Wheels come with 6v and 12v batteries, and both have very different electrical capacities to run different types of Power Wheels.
- Letting kids handle batteries or replace them without supervision: It's too early to teach your kids how to fix a broken vehicle, so please refrain from letting them install, replace, or swap batteries without supervision. In fact, kids should never play with Power Wheels without an adult to supervise them.
- Letting the battery run down before charging: It can be challenging never to let a battery completely run down before you charge it. The good thing is that it won't be bad for the battery if it only happens a few times, but be sure to keep a note of the runtime that the ride-on has and start charging before it runs out of juice.
A weak battery that doesn't last for a long time is a common concern many parents have when it comes to Power Wheels, but there are many things that you can do to make it last longer. Some of them may even be too obvious for many people, but some parents still commit these mistakes.
Always remember the best practices that we shared with you because aside from saving yourself some cash from buying a replacement battery, some of these tips will also keep your child safe while using the Power Wheels.