Power wheels 12v battery not charging – troubleshooting ideas and useful tips

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Your power wheels 12v battery not charging?

We know it can be insanely frustrating but hey, here are some troubleshooting tips and ideas to try to get it charging again (and get your child’s favorite ride going again)..

Power wheels 12v battery not charging – troubleshooting ideas and useful tips

1. Investigate if the battery is stone cold dead or the charger is having a problem

Sometimes it is either the battery or the charger that is dead and we suggest that you test if this is the case before you move on.

Needed tools

  • A functional 12v power wheels battery charger.
  • A voltmeter (available at local hardware stores for $10-15).
  • 2 paperclips (if you’re testing the red 12v Power Wheels battery)

Step by step

Follow the steps below to try and figure out if it is the charger/the battery that is having an issue:

Testing the Battery Charger Output:

  1. Switch your voltmeter dial to 20(on DC side).
  2. Now touch both electrodes to the battery charger (-ve to –ve and +ve to +ve).
  3. Check the reading- You want the voltage reading to be higher (than the battery’s). To be specific, for a 12 volts power wheels battery, voltage should be 13.5 plus (Anything below this will not charge your battery successfully).

Quick Tip: This charger output test works on most 12v power wheels battery chargers but for a quick charger.

Question: My 12v charger is reading 11.5v. Is that too low?

The charger is possibly fine. It is not unheard of to test your 12V power wheels battery charger and observe it putting out 11-ish volts.

Connect the charger to a battery -you might see an immediate increase in voltage output to the 13-14V range.

Testing the Battery Output:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20(on DC side).
  2. Place the two electrodes against your battery (-ve to –ve and +ve to +ve).
  3. Check the voltage reading- If the 12v battery is below 10.5v, the charger won’t be able to charge (the appropriate voltage should be 10.5v+) and you probably need a replacement battery.

Quick Tip:  If you’re testing the red 12v power wheels battery, the electrodes won’t typically fit directly into the slots. As such, first insert the paperclips into the slots then hold the two electrodes beside them (against the battery).

Question: Will you really get a voltage reading to help you find out whether the battery is okay or faulty if the battery is not charged?

The answer is NO!

You must attempt to charge your battery first – even if it means leaving it plugged in for a few hours- as all a voltmeter does is indicate the actual state of charge (of the battery).

2. Check the basics

Just to be certain you’re doing everything correctly, make sure the battery and charger connectors are completely joined.

Next, if the power flow to the wall outlet you are charging from is switch-controlled, confirm that the switch is “ON” (and that the outlet is not defective).

Don’t forget to check the wiring especially if you’re using a 12v replacement battery- it might not charge if you have messed with the wiring.

Proceed to step 3 if all the wiring looks fine and everything turns out to be tightly attached.

3. Inspect the battery /charger connectors

Have you checked the connectors on the battery and charger?

If not, have a keen look at them because the freezing cold may have corroded the connectors while they were in storage during the cold months.

You want to clean all the connectors with signs of corrosion- corrosion prevents proper contact and could be the cause.

4. Swap the charger

Your power wheels 12v battery are unlikely to charge if you have plugged the wrong battery charger in your kid’s miniature car!

Try the right charger (that you know is working).

Power wheels 12v battery not charging – useful tips

Leave the charger connected overnight

If you had left your power wheels battery for several months uncharged, the best approach is to start by leaving the battery connected to your charger overnight.

In some cases, the extended charging session tends to refill a battery that had been abandoned for too long.

Follow instructions when charging the battery

An important step to avoid charging problems is to charge it per the instructions always.

You see, if you follow the right instructions, the battery will charge and stay charged for a very long time.

A quality charger is extremely important

In addition, if your stock charger failed, make sure the replacement charger (it should be matched to your 12v battery size) is of good quality (here is our recommended 12v battery charger).

Also keep in mind that you need to take proper care of your kid’s power wheels battery – ensure you charge it for the recommended hours (check the owner’s manual) and don’t forget to top the charge after every use.

Avoid discharging the battery fully

For long-lasting power wheels battery health, it should not be allowed to fully discharge.

That is because it often cannot accept a new charge if the battery has been run totally flat.

To avoid this situation, observe the manufacturer-recommended guidelines when charging the battery.

For the most part, you should charge it as soon as you feel the power dropping and the motors beginning to lose power.

Buy a second battery (if you can afford it)

To keep your child happy, you may consider buying a second 12v power wheels battery.

That way, when he/she runs one down, you take it out then put in the spare battery so your son/daughter will be back in the races shortly.

Of course, you will be charging the drained one as your granddaughter/grandson continues with the fun.

Power wheels 12v battery not charging – Frequently asked questions

I got a brand new 12v power wheels battery but it doesn’t charge. What should I do?

If new (as in you have just bought it brand new), your best bet to bring it back from the dead is to leave the charger hooked on for about 24 hours.

Test to see if you’ll get any improvements on the voltage after this period.

Is there a way of telling if an old power wheels battery is dead? (How to tell if power wheels battery is dead)

One quick way you can tell if an old power wheels battery is stone cold dead is to firmly shake it.

The sound of debris shifting around (within the battery) means its lead plates have either disintegrated or fallen apart (or both).


That’s all folks..

Remember to stay tuned for our next article.



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