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How to fix power wheels steering

Power Wheels are prone to steering issues, which detracts from the overall enjoyability of the ride for your child. The good news is that this problem can be fixed with a simple repair that won't require you to buy a brand new ride.

The repair/troubleshooting process involves removing the two front wheels and turning the vehicle over to access the steering assembly. There is also a chance that the issue is solely confined to the steering column underneath the wheel, as is described in further detail below.

How To Fix Power Wheels Steering & Front End Alignment

You don't have to buy your kids a new ride if you notice an issue with the steering. Front-end alignment is a simple repair that can be performed at home in a short amount of time. You just have to know which tools to have on hand and how to troubleshoot this common problem.

In the sections below, you'll learn how to repair the steering linkage of a Power Wheels ride. You'll also learn what you can do to make your ride more durable so that you may avoid having to make repeat repairs.

How Do You Know The Wheels Are Out Of Alignment?

If you notice one or both of the wheels out of alignment or bowed outwards, the steering linkage may be damaged. 

There are a few different parts to look for signs of damage, seen in the diagrams of owner's manuals :

  • Plastic/metal bar: A bar at the front axle connects both wheels.
  • Plastic bracket: Connects the wheels to the steering linkage
  • The brackets are riveted to the metal bar.

It's not at all unusual for Power Wheels owners to have to make this repair. You can find replacement parts online for an affordable price. Just make sure that you find the piece that is specifically designed for the model you own.

Remove The Wheel

You'll need to remove the wheel to access the steering linkage. In many power wheel vehicles, such as this Fisher-Price ATV, the wheel is connected to the front axle via a bushing and a washer. On the exterior of the wheel is a hubcap that should be removed, as described below.

  1. Use a screwdriver/nut driver to remove the wheel cover/hubcaps. You should be able to do this by working the nut driver underneath the cap.
  2. The wheel may be held in place with a cotter pin.
  3. Repeat the same steps with the other wheel.

If a front wheel is out of alignment, then there is a good chance that the wheel is damaged. If the wheel has been scuffed up, it shouldn't be challenging to find replacement parts. Take, for example, this replacement front tire for the Kawasaki Brute Force. You are encouraged to replace both front tires, to prevent imbalances caused by worn parts.

Remove The Front Axle/Steering Linkage

The next step is to remove the steering linkage from the frame of the vehicle. The linkage should be connected to the frame at both sides of the vehicle and in the center, where it will also be connected to the steering column. The removal process should generally be straightforward.

  • You may need a cordless drill to remove screws connecting the linkage to the frame.
  • A hammer may be necessary to remove some parts of the assembly.

Inspect the steering linkage for signs of damage. The good news is that it should be easy to find a replacement part online.

How To Fix A Damaged Steering Column

There's also a chance that the steering column is damaged. This is the metal bar that connects the steering wheel to the steering linkage at the front axle. This bar can get bent or dented, making it difficult or impossible to steer the vehicle properly. 

Fisher-Price makes a Steering Column Replacement Kit for its Power Wheels lineup. If you look at the instructions for the kit, you'll see that replacing the steering column is a fairly straightforward process.

  1. Make sure that you have a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.
  2. Remove the steering wheel first before positioning the vehicle on its side.
  3. Remove the old steering column from the steering linkage and proceed to connect the new steering column.

Craft A More Durable Linkage Assembly (Optional)

If you have the confidence and the tools on hand to do so, you might consider engineering the steering assembly at home with parts that are more durable than the replacement parts from the factory, which are often made out of plastic.

You'll need an aluminum plate, an angle grinder, measuring tools, and a drill to replace plastic brackets with metal alternatives, which should last longer and be able to survive through rough play.

Final Thoughts

Steering issues on Power Wheels are not unusual. These can be repaired easily at home, as long as you have access to replacement parts. Even if replacement parts are not easy to come by for your model, you may be able to make your repair with some 12-gauge  aluminum and a little bit of home engineering.