How to Add Traction to Plastic Power Wheels?

Power Wheels tires are not the most durable. Your ride-on can easily wear out if driven on rough terrain or in harsh weather like snow.

The most convenient way to increase traction is by investing in brand new tires and replacing the old ones. But while this is easy, it’s also not cheap.

The three methods below will help you add grip and traction to your little one’s Power Wheels without spending as much. They’ll also last as long (if not longer) as the new wheels, so you’ll get exceptional results at a lower cost.

Upgrading Your Wheels

When adding traction to your Power Wheels tires, always make sure to take out the battery. This applies to everything about remodeling and not just a tire upgrade.

You can choose to add traction to only the rear tires as they are the most important, but it’s always best to work on all four plastic tires. The wheels will be more balanced.

You can add traction by either fitting on a rubber bicycle tire, adding a rubber coating, or adding traction bands or rubber bands. The first method is the best as the rubber tires have much better tread on them.

Method 1: Installing New Rubber Tires

Here are the tools you’ll need for this process:

  • about three bicycle/motorcycle tires;
  • a pair of strong scissors;
  • a screwdriver or screwdriver drill; and
  • screws.

Clean Your Power Wheels Tires

This first step applies to all three methods. Take out your plastic tires and thoroughly scrub them with soap and water.

Set them aside to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Split Open the Bicycle Tires

Take your pair of scissors and cut through the rubber tire’s sidewalls. Once the split is made, proceed to cut through the width.

Measure the rubber tire with the wheel to ensure that it’s going to fit. The good thing about using bicycle tires is that they are slim enough to not need much modification.

You can do this process with the wheels fixed back on for a firm grip. The rubber needs to fit the center of the wheel for proper added traction so if it covers more than that, you can trim off a bit.

Screw In the Rubber Tires

Fit the cut rubber along the length of your Power Wheels. With your trusty screwdriver drill, drill in a couple of screws to secure the rubber.

Stretch it along the plastic tire and insert some more screws at different intersections. Do this until you’ve covered the whole wheel.

Once done, repeat this for the other three wheels.

If you don’t have any screws on hand, you can use an adhesive like glue. It won’t be as quick, though, as you’ll have to let the glue dry for a while before letting the children use the car.

Put on some gloves and apply the glue around the plastic tire. Fit the rubber tire onto the surface and let the setup rest for a day.

After 24 hours, check to ensure that the rubber is firmly secured onto the wheel. If it is, you’ve got some good upgraded tires in place.

Method 2: Adding a Rubber Coating

This process will require you to cover your wheel with a liquid coat or seal spray. These have the same attributes as rubber and will add traction and grip to the ride-on tires.

It’s not time-consuming, but it’ll take longer than the above method due to you needing to wait for the spray or liquid to dry out. You’ll need a few things to properly carry it out:

  • a dry towel;
  • duct tape/fiberglass;
  • Flex Seal spray/Flex Seal liquid;
  • masking tape;
  • isopropyl alcohol;
  • brushes; and
  • sandpaper.

Prepare the Plastic wheels

Start by cleaning the Power Wheels tires. Take them out and scrub them with some sandpaper.

Once done, wash them with soap and water to remove any mud, grass, or debris on the surface. Dish soap will help take out some of the dirt stuck onto the plastic surfaces.

Finish this off by applying rubbing alcohol on a towel and giving the Power Wheel tires one final scrub. When done, set them aside to dry.

Before going on to apply the coating, make sure to cover any cracks on the wheel with duct tape. The irregular pattern might interfere with the spray/liquid coat. 

Wrap a couple of layers of the duct tape onto the plastic tires for an even surface. Don’t use too much duct tape as it might mess up the balance of the wheels.

A simpler way of doing this is by using a fiberglass kit. The kit comes with basic instructions and if you follow them, you’ll be done in no time.

Apply The Coating to The Tires

The best products for this are the Flex Seal spray or the Flex Seal liquid. 

Carry this out with your plastic wheels still separate from the car as the activity can get a bit messy. 

Wrap the rim, axle, and entire wheel with masking paper; only leave the treaded part open. Doing so will avoid the spray/liquid from spilling over to other parts, like the rims.

Take your Flex Seal liquid/spray and apply it to the exposed part. Keep your brushes close to you when using the liquid as you’ll need a new brush for every new coat.  

It would be best to place the wheel in a suspended position. This will allow you to easily apply the liquid/spray all around the tire.

If you can’t access such a surface, apply the coating on the top part of the tire then wait for it to dry before applying the second coat. Do this for the other wheels too.

When dry, scrape off the excess plastic to enhance the increased traction. Your little one’s Power Wheels car now has a much better grip on the surface.

Method 3: Add Traction Bands

This method is the easiest, but it’s not as effective as the above two options.

If, however, you need a quick, temporary solution for your ride-on and you don’t have some rubber coating or rubber tires lying around, it’s sure to increase traction and get the job done.

There are different traction bands for different Power Wheels cars, so make sure to order the right ones for your toy. If you have, just attach them onto your Power Wheel tires.

Large rubber bands will perform the same job, though you’ll need to use a bunch of them to fit the center of the plastic wheels. Although quick, this method is still efficient enough to add more grip and traction to your Power Wheels ride-on.

Conclusion

It’s easy for your child to become frustrated with his/her ride-on when it doesn’t spin as it should on a particular terrain.

The 6-volt Power Wheels cars don’t wear out as quickly as the 12-volt cars as they’re mainly built for indoor use. If, however, your child is the proud owner of a 12-volt Power Wheels (or a toy with even bigger motors), you’ll need to upgrade the tires sooner or later.

It’s relatively easy to carry out, and with the added rubber surface, your little one will have even better tires than before.