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Can I use a car charger to charge a Power Wheels battery?

Many of you probably remember riding around on Power Wheels cars, excited that we got to act like adults. You may also remember that the little vehicles would often run out of power, and that, unfortunately, the chargers to these ride-on toys are pretty easy to lose. Thankfully, there are alternative ways to charge your Power Wheels, but can you do so with a car charger?

You can charge a Power Wheels battery with a car charger, provided the car battery has the right voltage. Older cars come with a 6v battery and newer ones come with a 12v. To charge your Power Wheels, simply connect the positive and negative connections.

Kids lose things, and toy parts are no exception. Using a car charger is just one way for you to recharge Power Wheels. In this article, you’ll learn about other charging alternatives, but first, let’s discuss how you can charge your Power Wheels using a car.

How To Charge Power Wheels With a Car Charger

Before you connect the Power Wheels battery to your car battery, you’ll want to check that the latter has the correct voltage. An older car will have a 6v battery, while newer models come with 12v batteries.

You cannot charge a 12v battery beyond 15 volts, or else it will burn out (2 amps is the most you can exceed the maximum 15 volts). The majority of car batteries you’d find now are within the acceptable 15-volt range. Many of them top out around 14.6 volts even when the engine is on. The average output, though, is typically 10 to 14A.

To charge the Power Wheels, identify and connect the positive and negative connections, and you’re done. Using your car battery to charge a Power Wheels toy is a pretty simple process. You can use a 2A trickle charger in case the normal one runs hot.

Alternative Ways To Charge Your Power Wheels Battery

DIY a Replacement Charger

If you’re willing to DIY a charger for dedicated use for the Power Wheels toy, find yourself the following tools and parts for the battery:

  • Wirecutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Multi-meter
  • Two alligator clips
  • DC to DC Stepdown converter
  • Laptop charger
  1. First, alter the laptop charger to connect the toy’s battery by cutting its adapter jack and removing the outer coating from the wire with the wire cutter. 
  2. Connect the step-down converter. You should see two wires – a red and black one – after removing the outer coating; the red wire must be attached to the step-down converter module’s positive connection (IN+), and the black wire needs to be placed into the negative connection (IN-).
  3. Connect the red alligator clip to the positive (OUT+), then clamp the black clip onto the negative, labeled as “OUT-.” 
  4. Plug the adapter into a power source and attach the alligator clips to the multimeter (black goes to negative, red to positive). 
  5. Set the multimeter’s voltage correctly. Turn the voltage potentiometer to 14 volts with your screwdriver. 
  6. Adjust the second multimeter until it registers 2 amps or more, provided the battery can store the extra charge.

Charge the Power Wheel Battery Directly to a Power Source

Lead batteries can be charged by power sources directly if there are adjustable voltages and a way to limit current. Figuring out the charge voltage of your power source is your primary step. From there, you can set the required voltage and the limit of your current. 

Your kid’s Power Wheels toy may come with either a 6 or 12-volt body. When charging with a direct power source, the power supply should exceed 6V,2A, and 12V,2A, respectively. You may want to add a resistor to reduce the current if the toy’s battery can withstand the current you’ve set.

Buy a Replacement Charger

Sometimes it pays to take the easy way out – literally. For people that may not feel comfortable fiddling with electricity and aren’t DIYers, buying a replacement charger might be the way to go. The HZPOWZEN 12V Battery Charger is the right choice if you’re looking for a replacement charger primarily because it’s compatible with all 12-volt Power Wheels toys.

How To Increase a Power Wheel’s Battery Life

There are some methods to increase the battery’s longevity and make it more efficient so your kid can ride their toy to their heart’s content.

Treat the Batteries Carefully

There’s usually a certain amount of time for any electric device’s new batteries to charge. 6-volt Power Wheels batteries need to charge for at least 18 hours, and super 6 and 12-volt batteries need at least 14 hours. Neither type of battery should stay on their chargers for longer than 30 hours.

Store the Batteries Properly

To store a Power Wheels battery, fully charge it and keep it away from the cold. It’ll need to be charged every month for 12 hours to ensure it doesn’t go flat. Don’t store a discharged battery in cold weather. The temperature results in the battery producing a weaker current, making it run through its power so quickly the current can’t meet the demand. 

A trick to keep batteries fully functional during the colder months is to warm them before usage. Like heating a stove, warming batteries before use lets you use them faster. 

Get a Back-Up Power Wheels Battery

One trick many people use is installing a fully charged back-up battery while letting the original charge elsewhere. It’s not at all difficult to locate and purchase a second (or third) Power Wheels battery to have when the original goes dead. As soon as you’ve purchased the back-up, charge it, and it’ll be all set to go when the original goes flat. 

One other important thing to note when looking for replacement batteries is compatibility. If the battery you've purchased doesn't work for the Power Wheels toy, then you've only wasted money. 

To prevent squandering cash, you should check the toy's product manual if you are unsure of the kind of battery the toy needs.

A Few Safety Tips for Your Power Wheels Battery

  • Read the owner’s instruction manual before allowing your child to operate the machine, or before charging, attempting to maintain, storing, or purchasing back-ups for the battery.
  • Carefully inspect the battery casing for damages and cracks to make sure no sulfuric acid leaks while charging.
  • Wear electricity-resistant gloves when attempting any of the charging techniques for the Power Wheels ride-on.
  • Do not, under any circumstance, short circuit the battery supply terminal; at best, it won’t work, and at worst, the battery may explode.
  • Do not leave Power Wheels toys out in the rain; the battery may still work after getting wet (the battery and the battery compartment can be dried); there’s always a chance that the ride-on may stop working.
  • Do not overcharge the battery for longer than 30 hours at most; keeping it on the charger longer than this may kill the battery.

Conclusion

It’s easy for a kid to lose or misplace the original charger for a Power Wheel, so knowing alternative ways to charge it is handy knowledge to have. You can charge these toys with car chargers or by jerry-rigging a charger from household items.

Proper charging of the battery can help increase its longevity and reduce the amount of recharges. Storing the batteries well can also keep them in good condition. 

These methods may seem a little off the wall, but if it means your kid has fun, then they might be worth it.