Power wheels are an excellent toy for kids and a perfect way to get their first driving experience. However, soon enough, kids get tired of them and want them to go faster. You might be wondering if it's possible to upgrade your power wheels how to make it go faster.
You can make your power wheels go faster by increasing the battery capacity, changing the gearbox, and replacing the motor. You might need to add traction to the tires or add an electronic speed control system to balance the new speed. You can make these changes yourself.
This article is a complete guide on how to upgrade your power wheels to make them go faster. It gives answers to the following questions:
- Can you make power wheels go faster?
- How to make power wheels faster
- How to modify power wheels to handle the new speed
Can You Make Power Wheels Go Faster?
Your kid may no longer be impressed with that power wheel that barely runs at 2mph (3.2kph) for long. I'm guessing that's why you've asked yourself this question, and your inquiry into this subject matter has led you here.
You can make your power wheels go faster. Most power wheels come fitted with a 6-volt battery and reach 2mph to 3mph (3.2kph to 4.8kph). You can carry out some simple modifications to your power wheel to make it go as fast as 6mph (9.7kph).
Some of these modifications are pretty easy, cheap, and only take a few minutes to complete. Others might require a basic understanding of electricity, engineering, and significant financial investment.
How To Make Power Wheels Faster
Now that you know that it's possible to make your power wheels go faster, the next question is how?
The easiest way to get your power wheels to run faster is to carry out some upgrades. Usually, the parts on your power wheels, such as the battery, gearbox, and electronic speed controller, put a speed cap on it. That means it can only go as fast as its parts allow it to go.
Normal wear and tear of parts could also be responsible for the low speed on your power wheels. Over time, the batteries get weaker, or the tires wear out, and the power wheel runs slower for a shorter period.
There are roughly five ways that you can modify your power wheels to get them to go faster. They all involve simple modifications to the parts of the power wheel.
- Add a second battery
- Replace the existing battery with a larger capacity battery
- Change the electronic speed controller
- Upgrade the gearbox
- Change the motor
Add a Second Battery
This hack is only great if you are comfortable with the speed your power wheel offers, but the battery is getting weaker. You could connect both batteries in two ways: Series connection and Parallel connection.
When you could connect your batteries in series, you effectively increase the power and speed of power wheels. For instance, if you join a 6-volt battery to a 12-volt battery, you bump the voltage up to 18-volt.
If you've owned a power wheel for some years, you might have observed that the battery power has weakened over time, causing the vehicle to move much slower and last less than it initially did. Connecting two batteries in series increases your battery's run time by effectively increasing the Ampere-hour (Ah).
A parallel connection won't increase the voltage on your power wheels but will return the battery to optimal function for its current voltage. For example, if you own a weak 12-volt battery that has become slower and only lasts for a few rides, then a parallel connection will restore the battery to optimal speed for 12-volt with a longer run time.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
The first thing you'll need is a battery to add up to the first one. You might want to check out the features of your existing power wheel battery. Ensure that you pick out a battery that closely matches your current battery.
If your power wheels run on a 12-volt battery, you might want to check out this Replacement Battery for Fisher-Price Power Wheels 12-Volt Battery from Amazon. It's compatible with most power wheels and comes with a connector and replaceable 30-amp fuse.
If you intend to make a series connection, ensure both batteries have the same amp-hour (Ah).
Wire crimpers are vital for this power wheel modification. This 3 in 1 tool will help you cut wires cleanly as needed, strip wires, and squish wires to make connections. You can get this for a few bucks at a nearby hardware store. You could try this IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripping Tool / Wire Cutter from Amazon. It has an induction sharpened edge that creates clean cuts.
You'll need these to make a customized cable connecting both batteries. It comes in positive and negative for positive and negative terminals. When you place this around the cable, use the crimper to squish everything together. These Baomain Male & Female Quick Disconnects from Amazon are a great place to start.
Y connectors help you connect more than one item to a single terminal. In this case, we'll be using them to connect both batteries to the battery terminal on the power wheels. Amazon sells this Supco T1121 Chair Terminal. It has one female, and two male ends to ensure everything fits.
How To Make the Custom Wires
- Cut a reasonable length of 10-14 AWG gauge wire.
- Strip both ends of the wire.
- Place a female crimp connector at both ends.
- Use your crimper to secure the connectors.
How To Connect Two Batteries in Parallel on Your Power Wheels
- Disconnect the original battery from the power wheels battery terminal.
- Attach one end of the negative cable to the new battery and the other end to the Y connector.
- Attach the female crimp connector from the old battery to the second male crimp connector of the Y connector.
- Connect the battery terminal of the power wheels to the free female end of the Y connector.
- Repeat this process on the positive side.
- Secure your second battery using zip ties.
Suppose you're still having trouble connecting both batteries. In that case, you could watch this video from Dylan Denney on YouTube for a more precise illustration:
How To Connect Two Batteries in Series on Your Power Wheels
- Disconnect your original battery from the battery terminal.
- Connect the positive terminal on the 12-volt battery to the negative terminal on the 6-volt battery.
- Connect the negative terminal on the 12-volt battery to the positive terminal on the power wheels.
- connect the positive terminal on your 6-volt battery to the positive terminal on your power wheels.
- Place a 30amp fuse holder on the positive side after the battery.
- Find a comfortable position for your batteries and secure them tightly with zip ties.
- Test out your new battery power.
Replace Battery With a Larger Capacity Battery
Most power wheels come with either a 6-volt or 12-volt battery. This battery powers it up to reach speeds of up to 4mph. However, 4mph might become too slow for your kid after a while of driving. The higher the voltage on the battery, the higher the maximum speed attainable by your power wheels.
However, even with higher battery capacities installed, the maximum speed on power wheels is 6mph.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
Firstly, you'll need a new large capacity battery to replace your older battery. The capacity of the battery you'll need depends on the speed you wish to attain and the gear's power. In general, it's better to stick to 18-volt or 20-volt batteries. When you add batteries with a higher voltage, it could damage your gear.
The battery you choose should also come with a fuse. A 30amp or 40amp fuse should serve you well enough. With the battery change, you might observe that the battery fuse blows out under duress, such as while trying to climb a hill or running on rough terrain.
You could use an 18-volt battery from your drill or leaf blower on your power wheels, or you could buy these 2 Pack 3.6Ah Ni-Mh PC18B Replacement for Porter Cable 18V Battery from Amazon. They are pretty affordable and provide power for a reasonable time.
If you'd prefer a more reliable brand of batteries irrespective of the cost, then you might be interested in these Milwaukee 48-11-1852 M18 REDLITHIUM XC 5.0 Ah Extended Capacity Battery. They cost a bit more but give excellent power for longer.
You'll need a ten or twelve gauge wire to make the connection between your new battery and the battery terminal on your power wheels. It's best to go for 12 AWG stranded wire, which is more flexible and less likely to break. You could get 10 yards of black and red BNTECHGO 12 Gauge Silicone Wire from Amazon at an affordable price.
You'll need to add crimp connectors to connect the wire neatly to both the new battery and the battery terminal on your power wheels. Insert the wire ends into the crimp connectors and press down with your crimper to secure it.
They are pretty available everywhere but if you're unsure of what to buy, check Amazon for these Baomain Male Quick disconnects Vinyl Insulated Spade Wire Connectors. They're affordable and fit for 10 AWG to 12 AWG wires.
Your crimper will help you cut your wire to a suitable length, strip wires of their cover, and crimp the wires to connectors. The crimper comes with padded handles to relieve pressure from your hand while you work.
If you're extra cautious, you might want to add an inline fuse. To keep your new battery from blowing up. These are pretty easy to add to your connection, and it can save you from having to replace your new batteries frequently. Amazon sells these MCIGICM 12 AWG Inline Fuse Holder that's a fit for a 12 AWG wire and comes with a 30 A blade fuse.
How To Replace Power Wheels Battery
- First, disconnect the old battery from the battery terminal of your power wheels.
- Create two custom cables by adding male crimp connectors to both ends of each wire.
- Connect the wires to the negative and positive terminals of the battery.
- Connect the other end of both wires to the battery terminal of your power wheels, ensuring that it's connected with positive-positive and negative-negative.
- Secure your battery in place.
- Try out your improved power wheels.
Change the Gearbox
Power wheels generally contain plastic gears. While the power wheels maintain a measly 3mph-4mph, they provide decent propulsion.
Over time, even at such low speeds, the plastic gears can wear out, causing your power wheels to move much slower. Upgrading your power wheels to a more considerable battery power to increase speed can also wear out the gears.
There are two ways to fix this issue. First, you can buy replacement gears to replace any worn-out gears, or you could buy a full gearbox that's compatible with your vehicle and change it yourself to improve the speed and torque.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
A nice sturdy pair of pliers are essential to changing the gears on your power wheels. You'll need these to take out the pitch nut on the tire wheel to allow you to reach the gearbox. You don't need anything too fancy; any pair of pliers in your home can serve.
You might need to use a screw gun to separate the gearbox from the motor. You can also use it to take out other screws that keep the body of your power wheels secure. In place of the screw gun, you could use a trusty flathead screwdriver to take care of that job.
The gearbox comes with a pinion gear attached to the motor. It also has a first, second, third, and final drive gear. One of these gears could be worn out and might need changing.
It might not be a one size fits all situation when it comes to which gearbox to buy for your power wheels. Newer power wheels run with 7R gearboxes, which might not be compatible with older gearboxes.
Consider checking out this chart to see the gearbox that suits your vehicle, so you don't buy the wrong fit.
If you've upgraded your power wheels to a 24-volt power supply, you might want to check out this NSD 24V Gearbox for Disney Pink Princess Carriage Large Axle Hole from amazon. You'll need to verify that it's a perfect match for your power wheels first.
How To Change the Gearbox
- Identify the troubled gearbox and find a replacement.
- Remove the hubcap on the wheel.
- Use a plier to remove the push nut.
- Remove the wheel.
- Take out the coupler.
- Remove the screw securing the back seat and get it out of the way.
- Pull out the axle to release the gearbox.
- Take out the screws connecting the gearbox to the motor to separate them.
- Screw in the new gearbox to connect with the motor, ensuring that it lines up with the pinion gear.
- Return the gearbox to its proper position.
- Secure the chair and wheel, and your power wheels are ready for a test drive.
How To Change the Gears
- Identify the troubled gearbox and take it out.
- Use your screw gun to take out the screws holding the box shut.
- Take out the gears one by one to identify the damaged gear.
- Replace the damaged gear with your replacement gear.
- Apply grease.
- Screw the gearbox shut.
- Return the gearbox to its proper place in your power wheels.
- Take your power wheels on a test drive.
Change the Motor
Changing the motor can be an excellent way to increase the speed and torque on your power wheels. If you've upgraded your power wheel battery power and speed, you run a risk of frying the stock motor that comes with your power wheels. Changing the motor on your power wheels can also keep them from burning out.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
First, you need suitable quality motors to power the power wheels. Ensure that the voltage on the motor matches the power upgrade on your power wheels. For instance, you might need an 18-volt motor to run your 18-volt battery.
This Traxxas 5675 Titan 775 Motor 10-Turn 16.8 Volts on Amazon would work well with an 18-volt battery.
You'll need pinion gears with enough teeth to match your gears. Open up your gearbox and count the number of teeth on your pinion gears to get the correct size. If your gear has ten teeth, then this Redcat Racing RCL-H012 Motor Pinion Gear (10T) on Amazon might be the right one for you.
Heat sinks increase the surface area of your device to disperse heat. When you add a heat sink to your setup, you decrease the chance of your motor overheating. I recommend this Hobbypark 2-Pack Aluminum Electric Motor Heat Sink from Amazon if you decide to include it.
How To Change the Motor
- Take out the push nuts.
- Remove the wheels to access the gearbox.
- Disconnect the wires and take out the gearbox.
- Use your flat head screwdriver or screw gun to remove the screws securing the motor to the gearbox.
- Install the pinion by slipping it over the shaft of the new motor.
- Hookup the wires and test them to see that the wheels rotate in the same direction.
- Secure the wires with zip ties and attach the heat sinks.
- Take your power wheels out for a test drive.
Problems of Increased Speed
The faster your power wheel goes, the quicker the tires wear out. The increased power can also cause the tires to spin out of control. To ensure your child has a safe driving experience on their power wheel, you might want to consider improving the tires' traction after a speed upgrade.
You can improve the traction on your power wheels by:
- Traction bands
- Traction control system
Adding traction bands over the existing tires proves useful to improve the grip on your worn-out power wheels tires. The friction created by the rugged surface of the traction bands keeps the tires from spinning.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
Bicycle tires are pretty easy to use for this modification. They don't have to be brand new; you can pick up some from a junkyard. If you have old bicycle tires lying around at home, you could use that too. You could also use old tires from your riding lawn mower for this purpose because they tend to fit onto the power wheels better.
Like the old bicycle tires, you can also get the old mower tires from junkyards or transfer stations.
You'll need to have something sharp and sturdy to cut through the tires. Usually, a pair of household scissors does the trick, but if you're having difficulty cutting through, you could use wire cutters to assist the scissors' efforts. A sharp razor or box cutter would make an excellent cutting tool.
If you'd like to secure the traction bands over the plastic tires on your power wheels, you could put on a layer of epoxy or gorilla glue. This adhesive will ensure that the bands stay in place while the power wheels are in motion.
A couple of ¾ inch screws are excellent for securing the bicycle tires to your power wheels plastic tires. You'll need roughly five or six screws for each tire and the odd one or two to tighten up any areas you notice slipping off.
You might need to have a screw gun on hand to drive in the screws swiftly. Anyone you possess should do the job nicely. If you don't have a screw gun, you could use a regular flat head screwdriver to secure the screws.
How to Attach Bicycle Tires
- Use your scissors to cut through the bicycle tires.
- Using your scissors, cut out the sidewalls on your bicycle tires.
- Screw-in your bicycle tire onto your power wheels with your screw gun and ¾ inch screws.
- Wind the bicycle tire tightly around the plastic tire.
- Secure the bicycle tire with screws once you arrive at your starting point.
- Cut off any excess tires so the beginning and end of the bicycle tires lap smoothly.
How to Attach Riding Mower Tires
- Cut off the sidewalls of the tires.
- Clean up the power wheels plastic tires.
- Apply a layer of glue to the power wheels (optional).
- Put the tires over the power wheel tires.
Traction Control System
If you have remote-controlled power wheels, you might want to consider making a traction control system to help reduce wheelspin. Using a Node MCU that receives feedback from 3D-printed sensor wheels operating on a pair of optocouplers. This system allows the vehicle to start at a lower speed and gives the driver better control over the car.
You might need some technical expertise to set up this technical control system. This video from CodeMakesItGo gives you a step by step guide on setting up a traction control system on your power wheels:
Burnout and Damaged Motors
If you increase your power wheels' power to as high as 24-volts, you stand a risk of damaging the motors, breaking the gears, and causing weld, wide-open gas pedals.
A cool way to avert this issue is to pair the power upgrade with a new Electronic Speed Control.
You could try this yourself using the East Coast PowerUp DIY ESC Kit. This kit comes with:
- 12-24v 1,000 Watt Motor Controller
- Metal Variable Throttle and Metal Brake Pedal
- (3) 40 amp Relays
- 80+ American-Made Crimp Terminals
- 18 Gauge American-Made Hook-Up Wire
- 12 Gauge American-Made Hook-Up Wire
- Optional Variable Sized Drill Bit
- Optional Remote Brake Switch Trigger + Lanyard
- Charge Port
- 3 amp Mini Blade Fuse, 40 Amp Resettable Breaker
- Voltage Regulators
- Illuminated 24v Toggle Power
This upgrade requires more financial investment than the others. Setting things up might seem complicated, but the kit comes with a step by step guide to lead you through the process. It could take up to 4 hours to finish the installation.
- Disassemble the car using screwdrivers.
- Take out all the factory wiring except the battery leads.
- Install the batteries, controllers, and relays away from water.
- Assemble the motor voltage regulator, kill switch, relays, and controller on the working bench.
- Install the brake and throttle pedals.
- Set up the power switch, LEDs, and charge port.
- Connect the shifter to the shifter wire.
- Power on the car to test the setup.
- Set up the shifter combination.
- After testing all connections, secure the wires using wire management.
- Reassemble the parts of your car.
- It's time to take your power wheels for a drive.
You can upgrade and modify your power wheels to go faster. It could be an exciting experience, but it might take a few hours.
This article tells you how to upgrade your power wheels to go faster by doing any of the following:
- Adding a second battery
- Changing the battery to a higher voltage
- Upgrading your gearbox
- Changing the motor to a higher voltage motor
We also highlight ways to fix common problems arising from increased speed, such as wheelspin and damaged motors.