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Power Wheels are a popular kids’ toy that allows them to get a taste of what it’s like to explore the world with their car or off-roading vehicle, but without properly functioning wheels, they won’t get far. Despite the cost of these neighborhood favorites, Power Wheels are subject to many common issues, particularly with their wheels. As a result, you might find yourself in need of removing the wheels from your kid’s Power Wheels, but do you know how to do this the right way?
The best way to remove a wheel from a Power Wheels toy is to remove the plastic push nut in the center of the wheel using needle-nose pliers. You’ll then pinch and remove the metallic ring circling the axel end. Afterward, you can slide the wheel freely off its axel and make some alterations to the tires to make this process easier in the future.
It might seem tedious at first, but removing the wheels from a Power Wheels toy is a fairly easy process when you know how to do it properly. Here, we’ll show you step-by-step how to remove these wheels the right way. Afterward, we’ll list some ways you can upgrade your Power Wheel’s wheels so you won’t have to remove them as frequently for repairs or replacements.
Remove Your Power Wheels tires The Right Way
The last thing you want to do is attempt to remove the wheels from your Power Wheels toy and accidentally cause more destruction that needs to be fixed or replaced. To help ensure this doesn’t happen, we’ve provided the guide below.
In order to remove a Power Wheels wheel without causing further damage, you’ll need to use needle-nose pliers or other appropriate tools to gently squeeze and remove the push nut and metal ring at the end of each wheel axis.
These are the basics of the process, but we’ll give you a more in-depth description of what you’ll need and how you can remove these pesky pieces without damaging them beyond repair.
Use the Proper Tools
The easiest way to damage your Power Wheels wheel components is to use brute force and the wrong tools. Some people will try to bare-hands this process, but we guarantee this will only lead to frustration and blistered fingers.
Alternatively, people might think they can pop off the push nut and metal ring using the end of a hammer or a screwdriver. While this might work, you have a higher risk of cracking or bending the pieces using these tools versus ones better suited for the task.
The best tools for removing wheels from a Power Wheels toy are a pair of needle-nose pliers or paint can opener. Both of these will allow you to gently push and pry the pieces off without damaging them. If you don’t have either of these tools around, we’d recommend a basic pair of pliers or even a wrench before you opt for any other tool.
Pinch to Remove the Push Nut and Metal Ring
In addition to using the wrong tools, the next common mistake people will make when removing the wheels from their Power Wheels toy is that they’ll try to yank the push nut and metal ring off the axel.
This is the wrong technique to use if you are trying to remove these components without damaging them. You might even find that you can’t remove them at all if you try to just pry them off.
Instead, we recommend using your needle-nose pliers to gently pinch the push nut vertically and then horizontally. You’ll find that this is far more effective in loosening the nut, and you should be able to pull it off without issue.
Pinching the metal ring should work as well, but you might find yourself having difficulty pulling the piece off, even if it’s loose. This is the only time we recommend using a flathead screwdriver because you can slip it underneath the metal ring just enough to be able to pull it off using the pliers.
We will note that some Power Wheels models have hub caps that cover the push nut and metallic ring, which you can remove easily with a screwdriver rather than more specialized tools.
Slide the Wheel Off the Axis and Then Remove the Axis Entirely
Once you’ve used the right tools and techniques, you should be able to easily slide your Power Wheels’ wheel off its axis. Some models have a plastic wheel cover you might want to remove first to make this process easier.
If you are only removing one tire to replace or repair, you can just remove this tire without affecting the rest of the wheels or axles. However, if you want to remove both wheels, the best thing is to remove one wheel and then slide the axel out on the other side where the second wheel is connected.
It’s rare, but if you experience some resistance, you might want to check underneath the Power Wheels seat where the gearboxes are located to make sure your wheel axis isn’t scraping against or getting caught on anything inside. A spray of some WD-40 might also help you remove a stubborn axel that’s rusty into place.
Straighten and Reapply Wheel Components for Wheel Installation
After you’ve completed whatever wheel-related task required their removal, you can reinstall your Power Wheel’s wheels using the same components you removed and some new tools.
The first common issue owners have with the installation process is they notice the metal disc has bent out of shape and will no longer lay flat around the axis. Although you definitely want to limit how much you bend this piece upon removal, it isn’t unusual for it to warp slightly. Luckily, you can fix this easily.
Place the metal disk on a flat, sturdy surface and use a basic hammer to gently tap it flat once again. That’s all there is to it. Far too many owners see it’s bent and assume the piece is unusable; don’t be one of them. After a few taps, it should be as good as new. However, if this piece is cracked or severely warped, you can be a replacement cheap at any hardware store.
With the wheel axis, metal ring, and wheel all in place, you can reinstall the plastic push nut (as long as it’s still in good condition). To do this, we recommend using the blunt force of a mallet to push it firmly onto the axel without potentially cracking the plastic (the risk of which is higher with a normal hammer).
Afterward, you should have successfully removed and reinstalled the wheels of your Power Wheels toy, and it is ready for the next adventure.
What is the Most Common Wheel Issue on Power Wheels Toys?
The wheels on a Power Wheels toy are some of its most essential components, but they’re also some of the most problematic. Despite all the things that could go wrong with a Power Wheels toy, there is one issue that nearly every will owner experiences at one point regarding the wheels.
The most common wheel issue on a Power Wheels toy is poor traction after several sessions of wear and tear. Nine times out of ten, if an owner is removing the wheels from a Power Wheels toy for repairs or replacement, the issue is that the wheels are no longer gripping the ground, resulting in sliding when driving at high speeds or poor start acceleration.
Power Wheels are overtly made of polyethylene and polypropylene, both of which are common plastics used for engineering and manufacturing. Although these plastics are reputable for their durability, the constant wear and friction of plastic wheels rubbing against gravel, asphalt, and other surfaces greatly reduces their longevity.
As a result, it doesn’t take long for the ridged plastic wheels on your kid’s Power Wheels toy to wear down into a smooth ring. This will inhibit its ability to safely grip the ground for efficient start acceleration and maneuvering. In time, you might find your kid’s beloved ride-on isn’t the safest toy for them to use if the wheels remain as they are.
Additionally, driving a Power Wheels vehicle with worn-out wheels will strain other components, primarily because the wheels have lost precious centimeters of height throughout their use. This will reduce the longevity of other components as well and lead to numerous additional issues in need of repair.
Therefore, the best thing you can do for the longevity of your Power Wheels toy and your kid’s safety is to upgrade or completely replace any worn-out wheels. Luckily, we have some tips on that next.
Ways to Upgrade the Wheels on Your Power Wheels
Like so many components in your kid’s Power Wheels toy, the wheels will undoubtedly wear out after hours upon hours of adventurous exploration and use. While this is great for your kid, as it gets them out of the house, it’s not the best for the wheel. You’re then faced with the choice of either spending $20 per wheel on replacements or allowing your kid to use a Power Wheels toy with worn-out wheels.
Thankfully, we’re here to tell you that there’s a third choice. Instead of waiting for the wheels on your Power Wheels to smoothen out, you can upgrade them, effectively increasing their longevity and overall safety.
The best ways to upgrade the wheels on a Power Wheels toy is to install additional traction and replace plastic components with more durable ones made of stainless steel.
While these might sound like challenging changes to make, we assure you that anyone could do them with the right tools and knowledge. To help, we’ve covered how you can perform each upgrade yourself in no time.
Improve Traction with Bicycle or Turf Tires
Considering this is the most common issue with wheels on Power Wheels toys, we’re going to cover it first. If your kids are using their Power Wheels at all, it’s unavoidable that the plastic wheels will wear out. The overall length of their lifeline will ultimately depend on what terrain the Power Wheels is driven on, how frequently it’s used, and how long it’s driven for per session.
The best way to prevent these wheels from wearing out and causing other issues in your Power Wheels is to improve their overall traction.
Realistically, you could improve the wheel’s traction by purchasing brand new replacement wheels online that match your Power Wheels model, but this will ultimately be a waste of money. It won’t be long before these wheels wear out just like the first set, and you’ll find yourself in a vicious cycle of wheel replacement.
Instead, we recommend installing bicycle tires on top of your worn-out Power Wheels’ wheels or replacing them entirely with turf tires of compatible size.
Bicycle Tire Upgrade
This upgrade is a popular choice for most Power Wheel owners simply because many have old bikes in their garage their kids have grown out of and no longer use.
For this upgrade to work, you’re going to want to make sure your bicycle tires are the right size to fit snugly around your Power Wheels’ wheels. A popular choice is 14” kid’s bike tires, as they fit the majority of Power Wheels models, but you’ll want to measure your model’s wheels beforehand.
Once you have the right sized tires, the upgrade is fairly simple. First, cut out the excess rubber lining the inside of the bike tire so it can lay flat on top of your Power Wheels’ wheel. Second, make sure the bicycle wheel is centered around the wheel for balanced driving and wear. Finally, use an electric screwdriver and durable, ¾ inch steel screws to screw the bicycle tire onto the Power Wheel’s wheel.
Feel free to cut off any excess tire if you find it is too long after wrapping it around your Power Wheel’s wheel. As long as everything is properly screwed into place, you should have durable, reliable bicycle tires attached to your once worn-out Power Wheels’ wheels.
Turf Tire Upgrade
If you aren’t familiar with turf tires, these are the tires most frequently found on yard work machines, such as lawn mowers and tractors. Using turf tires on your Power Wheels is ideal if you want to install a rubber wheel that will cover the entirety of your Power Wheels’ wheel rather than a smaller central strip as you get with the bicycle tires.
The biggest challenge with installing turf tires is finding ones that match your Power Wheels’ size. If you have the larger truck Power Wheels models, you’ll probably be able to use 16” X 6.5” X 8” standard lawn tractor turf tires. Smaller models will, of course, need smaller tires.
The installation process is pretty similar to that of the bicycle tires. You’ll still need to cut the internal lining of the tire so it can lay flat on your Power Wheels’ wheel. Afterward, you should be able to slide the turf tire over the wheel on your Power Wheels, and you can either screw it into place, or you can opt for a gorilla glue or epoxy alternative.
You might be thinking this upgrade isn’t really saving you any money because you still have to purchase bicycle or turf tires instead of new Power Wheels wheels. While it’s true, you might have to spend money up-front for these upgrades. We guarantee it will save you money in the long run by increasing the wheel’s longevity.
Typically, replacement Power Wheels wheels are found online for $20-$30 per wheel. Comparatively, the kid’s bicycle tires will cost $10-$25, depending on the brand or quality, and turf tires can cost $30-$40. Therefore, one will be cheaper than Power Wheels replacements, and one will be slightly pricier, but both will last years versus the Power Wheels replacements that might last a few months.
If you want a more budget-friendly option (since replacing four tires at $10-$40 apiece is costly in itself), we recommend taking a trip to your local junkyard and searching for tires there. Sometimes you can get them completely free of charge, and other times, you can purchase them at a minimal cost.
Replacing Plastic Tire Components
Improving the traction on your Power Wheels will do wonders for its functionality and longevity, but you might find other pieces of your Power Wheels’ tires wear out despite this upgrade.
Ultimately, most Power Wheels toys are made of plastic, and this material doesn’t hold up well when constantly exposed to sources of friction. Now that you’ve taken the vital step towards improving your Power Wheel’s wheels with rubber traction installations, it’s time to take it one step further and replace all those plastic components.
The main component we want to focus on here is the plastic push nut you might have struggled to remove previously in the guide.
One of the most frequently damaged pieces on a Power Wheels toy is the plastic push nut, particularly when owners experience difficulty removing the piece. It frequently cracks and shatters upon removal, requiring a brand-new replacement. Rather than having a series of spare plastic push nuts on hand, we suggest you save yourself the cost and install stainless steel lock nuts instead.
Before you can install these, you’ll need to thread both ends of your Power Wheels axels through a die-set tool that’s compatible with the lock nut size you intend to use (we recommend 7/16-14 lock nut size).
Not only will the stainless-steel nut be much more durable and resistant to any friction produced by the Power Wheels, but it will also be much easier to remove and tighten using common tools than the plastic push nut you have to pinch just the right way, or it breaks.
What Are the Risks of Upgrading Power Wheels?
If you search online, especially on YouTube, you’ll find countless videos and articles that focus on the many upgrades you can give your Power Wheels vehicle for it to last longer, run better, drive faster, and more. While we fully encourage you to take advantage of the wheel upgrades we just discussed, there is an element of risk to upgrading your Power Wheels.
Power Wheels upgrades, such as improving traction through the installation of rubber linings, can affect the vehicle’s overall functionality by changing its tire diameter and gear ratio. As a result, you might find the increased traction is actually burning out the Power Wheels’ motor and breaker gears.
Despite their relatively simple design and materials, Power Wheels are still carefully engineered machines that take every little detail into account in order for them to function properly. Altering one part of your Power Wheels without considering its effect on other components could lead to more issues than solutions.
Therefore, if you’re going to upgrade the wheels on your Power Wheels, it is important to consider how the machine as a whole. If the wheels have worn down significantly, the ideal solution would be to install traction upgrades to restore the wheels to their original diameter.
However, if the upgrades increase the wheel’s overall diameter, you’ll need to compensate for this and alter the gear ratio so it doesn’t cause unnecessary wear on your motors or breaker gears. This might seem like more work than it’s worth, but it’s the best way to ensure your Power Wheels lasts for years. Considering the overall cost of these toys, we’re confident you want them to function for as long as possible.
The wheels on Power Wheels toys are a frequent source of frustration, whether the origin is how quickly the tread wears down, how frequently plastic components break, or how difficult the wheels are to remove. With our simple guide, we guarantee you’ll be able to remove the wheel from your Power Wheels with ease and cause minimal to no damage to other components.
Ultimately, if you want to save money on your Power Wheels in the long run and reduce the cost and frequency of repairs, you’ll want to equip it with some upgrades. We recommend improving the traction and replacing the plastic push nut with a stainless-steel lock nut. Just make sure the upgrades you install are properly measured so they don’t wear out other components unintentionally.