This post contains affiliate links.
Power wheels have become one of the most popular ways to give children their first taste of driving. While they won't be going on roads, they are a great way to teach your children about safety while in vehicles, and they are also a lot of fun for them. However, it's essential to know how they work.
Power wheels come in many different shapes and sizes, complete with their own unique sets of features, but it's crucial as a parent or guardian to know the ins and outs so that you have peace of mind in knowing they are safe.
You probably have a lot of questions about how they work and why it's so important. Don't worry. We have all the information below.
What Are Power Wheels?
Power wheels have been around for decades and are currently made by Fisher-Price, a well-known company for crafting some of the most cutting-edge toys for children. But here are some things you need to know about the product:
- Power wheels are like kid-friendly cars: Fisher-Price is well-known for making designs based on some of the most popular vehicles in the world.
- They run on electricity: They run off rechargeable batteries, which means you don't need to constantly look for new batteries to keep your children happy with the product.
- They come in motorcycle or car form: If your little one is more interested in motorcycles, you'll be happy to know you can get them that style. Alternatively, you can go with the car form.
- Power wheels come with seatbelts: Because these are supposed to be as close to the real thing as possible, but on a much smaller scale, Power wheels do come complete with seatbelts.
- They don't come with horns: Worried about a constant horn being sounded by your child? Well, power wheels don't have them. If you do want a horn, there are ways to add them.
- They don't typically have brakes: Due to the speed they go, power wheels don't require brakes, but like the horns, there are ways to add them yourself.
- Power wheels are safe: These devices can cause problems if they are not used correctly, but everything should go fine if you pay attention to them.
Power Wheels: How Fast Do They Go?
Power wheels will never go as fast as a typical car or even a bicycle. The reason for this is that these devices are made for children to have some fun. But it's always good to know just how fast they drive, so here is the information you need to know:
- The speed varies based on the size of the motor and the battery: A 6-volt power wheel can reach a speed of 2 miles per hour, a 12-volt power wheel can reach 4 miles per hour, and a 24-volt power wheel can reach speeds of up to 6 miles per hour.
- All of these speeds are safe for children: It's always best to try your child with a speed you think will be perfect for them, but the rule of thumb is that the younger they are, the slower the speed. Always pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions.
- The speed can be modified: As with the horn and the brakes, it's possible to speed up power wheels, though not by much. Always be sure to exercise caution if you're considering upgrading parts of the power wheels. Consider whether you think it's worth it in terms of safety.
- The speed can depreciate over time: This is thanks to the batteries. While they are built to last, they can lose capacity over time, which, in turn, leads to less mileage out of it.
- There is a speed-lifting mechanism: If you feel like the power is too much for your child, you should use the speed-lifting mechanism to stifle the power. This will allow you to reduce the maximum speed. This is great for younger children as they are first starting.
Are Power Wheels Safe?
With power wheels being geared towards toddlers and preschoolers, you're going to want to know about their safety. The last thing you want is to put your little one on them, only for an accident to happen.
Here are some things you need to know about the safety of power wheels:
- There are built-in safety measures: This is to make sure there are no incidents that could harm your child.
- Don't use power wheels in adverse weather conditions: The vehicles are not created to be used in bad weather and can become rusted or corroded. On top of that, the safety of your child is paramount. If there is bad weather, it means there is the chance something could go wrong. Always be in the know about what the weather will be like before taking your child out.
- Keep your eyes on your kid: If you are taking your kid out and about, always keep your eyes on them and the power wheels. This is to ensure you can react instantly if anything goes wrong.
- Always check the wheels before leaving the house: This is a good habit because it will allow you to assess any issues or if something is wearing away. You don't want to be away from home when one of the wheels breaks.
- Avoid inclines: This might be self-explanatory, but power wheels don't have brakes. If you go on a steep hill, there's a chance the vehicle could tip over, or it could speed up, and you won't be able to catch up.
- Only adults should touch the battery: Children should not be touching any batteries, and given the power wheels' power, only adults should be touching them.
- Always make sure your child is sitting down: Power wheels are only designed for sitting on the included seat. If your child stands up, it could tip the vehicle, which could cause many problems.
- Always wear shoes: The grips in the pedals are only designed for shoes. Naked feet or socks might not catch the grips, meaning there could be issues.
- Only ever have the allowed number of children inside: Power wheels can typically be used for one or two children. If you try to put more than the permitted number inside, you're just setting yourself up for disaster.
Have Power Wheels Been Recalled?
There have been several incidents over the years, including infant deaths due to defective power wheels. Here is everything you need to know about them being recalled:
- Many of the toys were recalled in 1998: Fisher-Price was fined $1.1 million for failing to report the defects in a line of their toys. Those failed reports consisted of 116 fires and over 1,800 incidents involving power wheels at the time.
- The Porsche 911 had issues in 1991: This was considered the first significant recall, thanks to the contacts in the foot pedal switch. They were at risk of welding together, meaning the vehicle would keep running.
- The Harley Davidson recall: In the year 2000, over 200,000 productions of this vehicle were recalled due to an issue with the foot pedals sticking to the accelerate mode.
- The most recent wave of recalls involved the 2019 Barbie Dream Camper Model: The recall was due to issues with the pedals that caused them to keep moving when the pedal was released.
It's crucial to always pay attention to the device. This will allow you to pick up on any defects that could arise through use. Overall though, issues with power wheel design are extremely rare.
Do Power Wheels Come With a Warranty?
Like many devices, power wheels come complete with a warranty that should help if there are any issues with the vehicle. Here are some things you need to know about the warranty:
- It spans one year and is dubbed a bumper-to-bumper warranty: This means that any issues with defects in materials and workmanship during regular use will be required.
- The warranty is six months for the battery: Many companies have a lesser warranty for batteries because they can be overused in those first months and could lead to a wide array of issues. So, you would be liable for any issues with the battery after the first six months.
- Power wheels have authorized service centers: This means you shouldn't take power wheels for repair to people aside from these service centers. The beauty of the service centers is that they constantly repair power wheels, so they will have the experience and all the necessary items to complete the repair.
- Modifying power wheels void the warranty: This is not uncommon. When you purchase a power wheel, you are agreeing that it will be used per the manufacturer's guidelines. If you go against that, then you'll be liable for any repair costs that might arise.
- Power wheels have an extended warranty available for purchase: If you're worried about the toy breaking down after the original warranty lapses, it would be a good idea to look into the extended warranty. The price varies depending on the cost of the power wheels.
- The warranty won't cover user damage: As you can probably expect, the warranty will not cover accidental damage. This is purely for manufacturing defects that may arise.
Power Wheels: How To Care for the Battery
If the power wheel's battery is ruined, you'll have to fork out a lot for a replacement. As the guardian, only you should be checking the battery, charging, or any other maintenance on the product. Here are some tips when it comes to caring for the battery:
- Follow the instructions: The 6-volt battery should be charged for over 18 hours during the first charge. If you charge for less than that, you run the risk of decreasing the battery's life from the get-go.
- There is a charge rule: Many power wheels have to be charged for around 14 hours after use, regardless of how long your little one is on the vehicle.
- Set a timer when charging: One of the easiest ways to ruin a battery is to have it overcharge. Set a timer for 14 hours for everything after the first use. This will allow you to be in control and keep things running smoothly.
- The place of storage matters: Batteries can depreciate under certain circumstances, so always pay attention to the temperatures given in the manufacturer instructions.
- Use a battery retainer: A common issue with power wheels is that the battery can fall out if the vehicle tips over. A battery retainer will keep it in place, even if the vehicle is dropped.
- Check the battery regularly: Check the connectors, the outer case of the battery, and the charger for signs of issues. This will allow you to be in the know if any issues are arising.
- Keep the battery away from surfaces (such as countertops): Surfaces can be damaged by the acid inside the battery.
If you feel like there are issues with the battery, you can replace them. Whether you go to Fisher-Price is up to you, but you can get replacement batteries in many different online stores. Just always be sure that it says it is compatible with your model of vehicle.
You don't want to have to deal with returning the wrong battery.
Pick the Right Power Wheel for Your Kid's Needs
There is much to consider when it comes to power wheels because you need to take a lot of care with these devices as a parent or guardian. The batteries alone are powerful, but as we've discussed, there are plenty of other issues that could go wrong.
Thanks to the vast array of power wheels on the market, you should be able to find one that has the features you want and a design your kids will love. As long as you pay close attention to the child on the vehicle, as well as the care of the vehicle and any instructions, it should be fine.
You'll be able to focus on your child having fun in this battery-powered mini-vehicle.