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Do power wheels have a governor?

The intriguing thing about Power Wheels is that you can modify these ride-on toys. Some online communities and resources reveal how to increase a Power Wheels toy’s speed. Many parents have even asked if these Power Wheels have a governor or speed limiter. So, do power wheels have a governor? Let's answer that question.

Power Wheels does have a governor for its ride-on cars, allowing your kids to drive at different speeds. And if you’re modifying your Power Wheels to make it drive faster, you can use a different type of governor or speed controller for more control.

However, if you’re trying to find an easy way to speed up your Power Wheels, focusing on the governor will be less productive. Read on as we explain why that is and how you could better increase your Power Wheels' speed.

What Is a Governor, Anyway?

Some people might call a governor a speed limiter or speed controller. These features gauge and regulate how fast a particular machine can go. There are several types of governors, depending on the mechanisms used to control the speed. For instance, cars have speed limiters that’ll dictate the top speed of the vehicle.

Does Your Power Wheels Have a Governor?

Your Power Wheels does have a mechanism that can limit the speed of your ride-on car. However, the speed limiting mechanisms can be very simple. Keep this tidbit in mind when you’re trying to get more speed out of your Power Wheels. You’ll need to give the engine more power and not just deal with the governor. 

We'll talk about that later on.

Do Power Wheels Have Two Speeds?

At its most basic, all Power Wheels models have a lock-out screw that’ll prevent your kids from driving their ride-on cars at high speeds until they know how to steer and stop. The lock-out screw allows your children to practice driving their Power Wheels safely.

You can later disconnect this physical speed limiter if your kid already knows when to steer and when to stop. Removing the lock-out screw will enable your child to drive at either low speeds at 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) per hour or high speeds of up to 5 miles (8 kilometers) per hour.

So yes, your Power Wheels does have two speeds. Here's how you remove the lock-out screw to get both the low- and high-speed settings on your ride-on car:

  1. Put the gear shifter in reverse.
  2. Using a screwdriver, loosen and then remove the lock-out screw from the shifter base.
  3. Put the screw into the provided space so that it's easy to find when you need to use it in the future.
  4. Put the gear shifter to high-speed position
  5. Put your foot on the foot pedal.

This video will demonstrate how you can remove the lock-out screw:

However, on top of this lock-out screw, your Power Wheels also has a stock electronic speed controller inside.

How Does Your Power Wheels Have Different Speeds?

Your Power Wheels engine is simple. You have the batteries that link to the motor via different switches.

When you step on the gas pedal, it completes the circuit, and your Power Wheels move. When you take your foot off the gas pedal, the resistor circuit will short all the motors so that your ride-on car stops. It also prevents it from rolling downhill when you stop at the top of a slope.

The gear shifter manages the speed of your Power Wheels. The gear shifter is, in actuality, a pair of switches. 

The first one is a high-low switch that’ll put your motor either in high or low gear. This switch will change the wiring of your Power Wheels motor to either a series or parallel connection. 

When you have a series connection, the electricity divides between the Power Wheels motors, so the voltage input and speed are cut by half. Thus, you have a low-speed setting.

When a parallel connection is present, the motors get full power from your batteries, and your Power Wheels will run at top speed.

The other switch will reverse the polarity of the electricity that goes through the circuits. And this will make your Power Wheels run in reverse.

This video shows you a diagram of how these circuits and switches work:

How Do You Make Your Power Wheels Faster?

As we’ve indicated earlier, you don't have to worry about the governor if your main goal is to make your Power Wheels faster. And this is because of the way the toy's governor works. Instead, you should be putting in a higher-capacity battery.

You can find instructions on modifying Power Wheels to be faster on several online forums, YouTube videos, and discussion groups. Mostly, they talk about swapping a 24-volt battery for the stock 12-volt battery that came standard with your Power Wheels.

However, according to this Popular Mechanics article, the safest upgrade would be to an 18-volt battery. Doing so will up the speed of your ride-on car but won’t strain the gears and motors too much.

You can either buy an official Power Wheels six-volt battery or get something off-brand like the Mighty Max Battery 6V 4.5AH Battery Replaces Power Wheels Harley Rocker. You’ll also need F2 connectors like this KASSupply 12V Lead Acid Battery Connector Cable to wire the new battery to your existing 12-volt one.

An easier way is to buy an 18-volt lithium battery like this TenHutt 2 Packs 6.0Ah 18V Lithium-Ion Replacement Battery and this Anztek Battery Adapter for Milwaukee M18 Battery. You’ll need to fit the adapter into your Power Wheels to use the 18-volt battery.

Here's how you do that:

Smoother Controls? Get an Electronic Speed Controller

When you have faster Power Wheels, it might be a bit more difficult to control. To help bring in a smoother ride, you’ll need to get an electronic speed controller, which tells the battery just how much power to send the motor and switches.

Products like the RioRand 7-70V PWM DC Motor Speed Controller Switch 30A not only help you get more control from your amped-up Power Wheels, but they also get rid of the unwanted vibrations and sounds. It also helps save battery juice and make supplies the right voltage to your Power Wheels motors.

This video explains further what an electric speed controller is:

And this video will show you how to put together a 20-volt battery with an adapter, an inline fuse, and a speed controller for your Power Wheels:

The Benefits

There are other ways that you can get more speed out of your Power Wheels. But putting in a more powerful battery and then an external governor like an electronic speed controller is probably the easiest. 

Doing this will not cost you too much since you can buy the components needed for as little as $50 or $100 tops. If you know how to use a screwdriver and a soldering gun, you can probably assemble and install this yourself.

You may get a Power Wheels car that your kids can drive smoothly, and if they're not ready for the speedier ride, you can easily turn down the voltage with the speed controller with a twist of a knob. And if you're using one of those lithium-ion batteries, you can get a shorter charge time and maybe even more running time, as you can change the battery out for a spare one when it winds down.


Your Power Wheels cars do have a governor mechanism on board that helps give them variable speeds. It also helps to give your kids smoother controls and a better driving experience.