Modifying or upgrading the motor of your kids’ toy car will make their Power Wheels faster and provide greater power. Just remember that a more powerful motor may require other upgrades and modifications to keep the machine running in top condition.
When Do You Need a Motor Upgrade?
The most common reason that you will need a motor upgrade is if you have upgraded your Power Wheels battery. A replacement battery with a higher voltage will require a higher-performing motor or it could overheat and might even explode.
Another reason to upgrade your motor is to increase performance and horsepower. If you have multiple children or your child is interested in hauling a small trailer, you may need a better motor that can handle the extra stress and provide more torque.
Which Motor Do I Buy?
To upgrade a Power Wheels motor, you will most likely need a 775 sized motor. These motors have greater power and torque and run cooler with a higher voltage battery than the standard 550.
Just keep in mind that a 775 sized motor will require a larger pinion gear and larger screws than a 550. When making your purchase, make sure that the gear matches your current gearbox.
You can also replace the 550 in your Power Wheels instead of getting a 775, and you won’t have to connect a new gear. The 550s will not work well with higher voltage batteries, though, so if you need more power, think about making the switch to a 775.
But, ultimately, the right motor for you will depend on the battery you have installed and the age of your children.
Replacing the Motor
The best way to upgrade the motor of a Power Wheels is to replace it with a higher-performing model. You can purchase a motor kit from the manufacturer or an aftermarket site.
Just make sure that if the kit comes with any gears, they are the right size and have the same tooth count as your current gears.
What you’ll need:
- A screwdriver – you may need one to open the motor box depending on the model of your Power Wheels.
- A new motor or motors compatible with a Power Wheels. Note: Do not use a motorcycle, lawnmower, or car motor. These motors can potentially explode or leak acid.
- You may need a torch or soldering iron. If you don’t have one or prefer not to use one, wire cutters and a crimper are acceptable.
- You’ll need pinion gears that match the original ones in teeth count if you are switching to a 775. If you buy a motor kit made for a Power Wheels vehicle, it should come with a new pinion. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy one yourself from a local hardware store.
Replacing the motor:
Note: Remove the battery before working on the motors. The battery should be completely disconnected and removed to prevent damage to the vehicle. Taking out the battery or batteries will also prevent any electrical shocks from loose wiring.
To put a replacement motor in a Power Wheels, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the wheels. You can do this by taking off the push nuts in the center of the wheel and then pulling the tire off the axle.
Next, detach the wires from each gearbox and remove them to allow better access to the motors. After this, you will be able to unfasten the screws that hold the motor on and remove it.
If it doesn’t come out easily, wiggle it until it is loose.
If your model doesn’t have easily removable gearboxes, you can use a torch or soldering iron to remove the wires. Another option is to cut the wires and then re-crimp them back together.
Just remember that if you opt to cut the wires, they will be shorter, and, therefore, it will be harder to make modifications in the future.
Once you have taken off the original motor, go ahead and slide on the new one. Then, switch out the pinion gear, add grease if you’d like, and rethread the wires to the gearbox.
Power Wheels have color-coded wiring to help you ensure the electronics are connected back together correctly.
Finally, you’ll want to put electrical tape over any exposed wires to prevent any damage to your Power Wheels’ electrical workings and prevent malfunction. Put the wheels back on, but do not tighten them too much, or they won’t be able to move.
Repeat these steps until you have replaced each of the old motors. Most cars have either two or four motors, so make sure you have replaced all the motors.
After finishing the motor replacement, make sure that all the tires are spinning in the same direction. Then, have an older child or adult take it for a slow test-drive to ensure everything is working correctly before giving it to a young child.
Consider Battery, Tires, and Gearbox Upgrades
When you replace the motor in a Power Wheels car with a better option, you’ll get more torque and power, but you may experience malfunctions if you haven’t upgraded other parts of the vehicle as well.
New and better components, such as a higher voltage battery, can also be a significant upgrade to modify Power Wheels toys.
A higher voltage battery will give a vehicle greater power and increased speed.
Ensure that you have the correct size before you buy it; even a battery that’s a few centimeters too large may not fit.
To replace the original battery with a higher voltage option, simply disconnect the old battery and install the new battery, making sure to put the positive side near the positive terminal. Then ensure that the red or white wire is connected to the positive terminal and connect the black wire to the negative one.
Tires will wear down quicker when the car has greater power to go faster and over more challenging terrain. Buy tires straight from the manufacturer, or make sure you’re getting aftermarket tires that are compatible with your Power Wheels.
You can also add traction when you connect certain wheel upgrades.
To upgrade a wheel in your machine, simply remove any outer casing if your model has that, pop off the push nut or push nuts, place the new tire on, and make sure you connect everything back together.
You should install new gearboxes after you’ve changed the motors in your ride-on, or your current gears won’t last longer than a few months. Upgrade all of the gearboxes in your ride-on to ensure your car runs for a long time to come.
Replacing the gearbox is also a good idea because most models have plastic gears that are susceptible to damage and stripping.
Consider upgrading to a 7R gearbox if you don’t already have one. The 7R cases are more durable, can accommodate different internal shafts, are compatible with 550 and 775 motors, and have a thicker final drive gear.
You can also buy an extra gearbox so you have every gear handy in case one of them breaks.
Heat sinks are a great way to keep the new motors from overheating. Heat sinks increase the surface area so that heat can disperse more easily.
They are a good addition when performing motor upgrades or for an older toy to prevent damage to the vehicle.
Heat sinks only take a few minutes to install. Once you’ve got the right sized heat sinks for your motors, just snap them on.
Ensure that any wires are secured away from the new motor so that the heat sink does not damage them. You can now drive on rugged terrain or at an increased speed while keeping the motors cool.
Electronic Speed Controller
Another excellent method to modify your Power Wheels motor is to get an electronic speed controller (ES controller). With this device, parents have many options to control the inner workings of their child’s Power Wheels.
An ES controller can give the machine more speed and supply the correct amount of battery power so that the Power Wheels can work at its best. This device can also prevent issues with the motors, wiring, and gears.
ES controllers are a perfect way to ensure your child’s safety when playing with his/her Power Wheels. Not only can you control the speed, but there is also a kill switch that will stop the machine immediately if a child is getting too rowdy or driving near something dangerous.
When you increase speed capabilities with new motors or batteries, safety becomes more critical to prevent injury.
To install an ES controller, you will have to disconnect all wires except the ones attached to the dashboard. This complicated installation makes the upgrade harder to perform than swapping out the battery or motor.
Still, an ES controller can significantly improve the run time of your Power Wheels, make it go faster, keep the parts working longer, and allow you to control your child’s movements.
Power Wheels are great toys for the little ones, and a motor upgrade will help the machine run faster and give it greater power. Just remember that when replacing the motor, it is also a good idea to install a better battery and wheels and switch out one or more gears for optimal performance.
Additionally, an ES controller is a fabulous upgrade and will allow you to control the machine’s inner workings.
Even though it isn’t as easy as swapping out a few screws, it will enable you to make the vehicle go at a faster or lower speed at the touch of a button and prolong the life of your motor upgrade and Power Wheels battery.