Maintenance to Extend Power Wheels Battery Life
A majority of Power Wheels owners receive on average between one and two years worth of service life from their Power Wheel Battery. This is about half of the life potential that these batteries are manufactured for! The trick is in the off-season maintenance. Throughout this article, I will be discussing some major pitfalls to avoid, as well as key steps that you can take to prolong your Power Wheels battery life - simply by using your Power Wheel battery charger properly during the off-season.
Common Mistakes When Preparing Your Power Wheels 12v Battery for Storage
Through my years as a battery specialist, I have seen and heard just about everything possible when it comes to battery related problems. I have composed a list of three of the most common mistakes that I have seen many of my customers make when they prepare their specific Power Wheels unit for storage.
It is never recommended to leave any Power Wheel battery on charge for longer than 12 - 15 hours. The Power Wheel battery charger is typically not an automatic charger that can sense when the battery is fully charged and shut off - instead, it will keep pumping voltage into the battery regardless of its charge level. Leaving the Power Wheel battery on charge of a period of 24 hours or longer can cause damage to the internal plating of the battery by generating an excessive amount of heat. If the Power Wheel battery charger is left on long enough, it could cause the battery pack to swell in size and eventually crack open.
Leaving The Battery Hooked
Up to The Unit
A majority of the Power Wheel models out in the market place today have very little to no draw on the batteries when the unit is not being used. However, typical storage time is between 3 and 4 months for the seasonal states. If there by chance is a small draw on the batteries, this could kill them over the duration of the storage period. If your Power Wheel battery gets drained low enough, your Power Wheel battery charger will not recognize that it is hooked up to a battery to begin charging it.
Storing a Dead Power Wheel Battery
I have had few people actually do this, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Do not shoot yourself in the foot and not charge up your Power Wheel battery before storage. The number on killer of Power Wheels battery life is leaving it on for long periods of time in a discharged state. Not charging your Power Wheel battery prior to storage will guarantee you a visit to the battery store next spring!
What Occurs to the Battery During Storage?
Now, some of you reading this might be growing a little frustrated because you have taken all of the above mentioned precautions and still not received more than two years' worth of life out of your Power Wheels 12v battery. There is an explanation, and it's called the natural rate of discharge. What the natural rate of discharge means, is that even though you charged your battery up fully prior to storage the battery will begin to naturally discharge itself when not in use. This is a common attribute to any rechargeable battery in the market place today including the Power Wheels battery. The typical battery will naturally discharge itself within two to three months of sitting.
The number one killer of every Power Wheel Battery life that I have come across is from sitting around for a long period of time not being used or charged. The problem is that when a rechargeable battery sits around for a long period of time in a discharged state, sulfation will begin to build up on the internal lead plating of that battery and kill its operating capacity. If given enough time, sulfation will corrode the insides of the battery and eat away at its capacity!
Getting the Most Out Of Your Power Wheel Battery
There are a few simple steps that if followed will guarantee any
Power Wheels owner over two years' worth of life out of their Power Wheels
Disconnecting and Removing The Power Wheel Battery
It is always a good idea to disconnect and remove the battery from the Power Wheels unit. Disconnecting the battery will prevent any potential drain from happening to the battery. Also, removing the battery and storing it in a decently warm climate of 55 - 70 degrees is an ideal atmosphere for proper battery storage.
Keeping the Battery Charger During Storage
In order to combat the natural discharge rate of the Power Wheel battery, it is recommended that you hook the Power Wheel charger up to the battery once every two to three months. You can leave the typical Power Wheel battery charger hooked up for a period of eight hours without overcharging your battery. This is by far the most important point to remember and will play a huge part on determining your Power Wheels battery life span.
This brings us to the end of my proper maintenance guide for Power Wheels batteries. You are now aware of the most common mistakes that are made, and how to avoid them. Following these last few suggestions for maintaining your Power Wheels battery will ensure that you receive the proper life expectancy out of your battery.