How to Modify Power Wheels: Upgrade Speed, Looks, and Performance

How to Modify Power Wheels

As a parent, you don't have to look far to see that there are many toys on the market. While the popularity of some toys come and go, others remain popular for decades. One of those toys with ever-lasting popularity is the power wheel. These are motorized vehicles that children can safely drive, as they don't typically reach speeds above 2.5-5 miles per hour.

in today's post I'm going to show you How to Modify Power Wheels: Upgrade Speed, Looks, and Performance.

As you take it out of the box and put it together, power wheels can provide lots of fun and enjoyment for young children. But what about when these children get older and want to drive something a little more grown-up? If you're comfortable with taking a bit of risk, it's possible to modify power wheels.

But where do you start when it comes to learning how to modify power wheels? Don't worry; we have everything you need to start making power wheel modifications.

1. Choosing a Ride-on Car That's Easy to Modify

The first step in this article is one that's easy for busy parents to miss. When you're looking for a power wheel, try to find out that's fairly easy to modify. This would mean a ride-on vehicle that has electronics capable of receiving more power without experiencing problems. Generally speaking, 12-volt power wheels are great for modifying purposes.

A few popular types of power wheels for modification purposes include the Power Wheels Dune Racer and John Deere Power Wheels.

2. Modifying Power Wheel Batteries

Every power wheel comes with a battery that essentially powers this device. Most power wheels feature standard 12-volt batteries.

However, the exact battery voltage your child's power wheel has might vary. Before doing any kind of modifications, make sure that you know the voltage level of your battery.

Let's say that you have a 12-volt battery, the most common one in power wheels. With this kind of battery, upgrading it to 18-volts now means that you'll have a power wheel that goes faster than normal.

When it comes to upgrading a power wheel's battery, it's best to only try to upgrade by several volts. If you tried to upgrade a 12-volt battery to 36-volts, for example, it would place far too much strain on this vehicle's motors and gears.

If you want to know more about top speeds, make sure to check out our recent article that answers the question: how fast are power wheels?

3. Visual Upgrades

We've spent a lot of time discussing how to modify power wheels from a performance standpoint. But what about improving how they look? Many adults get to enjoy customizing their real-life automobiles. With that in mind, why should kids miss out on all of the fun?

There are a few popular ways to visually upgrade power wheels. If you can safely install an electronics speed controller (we'll fully explain what this is below), you can wire in all types of visual and audio accessories.

When it comes to visuals, your options are almost limitless. A popular way to upgrade how a power wheel looks without going overboard is by installing a simple set of LED lights around this vehicle.

If you're handy with audio tools, it's also possible to adjust what sounds your child's power wheel will make. This might seem like a simple adjustment as a parent. However, children getting to hear the roar of a powerful engine sound can take their imaginations to the next level.

It's understandable if you don't want to do these kinds of upgrades. Fortunately, there are many popular power wheels that are already made to look just like real-life automobiles. A few popular examples are the semi-truck power wheels

Getting an ESC Kit

4. Getting an ESC Kit

Another important part of your power wheel is its electronics speed controller, abbreviated as ESC. We understand if this is all sounding a bit too complicated. To explain an ESC in a simpler way, it's basically an on and off switch that affects a power wheel's speed.

With that in mind, you can purchase an ESC kit to help bring an improved experience to your child's power wheel. Typically, an ESC kit will cost you about $125-$150. But it's worth the price if you want to upgrade your child's power wheel.

5. Swapping Out Motors

Before we get started with this list item, it's important to note that swapping out motors will seriously boost this vehicle's power and speed. Because of that, this type of upgrade is better suited for adult drivers.

But, if you desire to turn a motorized vehicle into something much faster, consider swapping out this vehicle's motor for a direct-drive electric motor. While this will turn this vehicle into a legit off-road automobile, it's also going to be quite expensive.

If you need something that's not quite that powerful, have a look at this list of top power wheels for 4 year old children.

6. Installing New Gears

If you're going to start swapping out motors, it might also be a good idea to install new gears in a power wheel. We can't lie, this isn't the most glorious part of modifying a power wheel. However, you might need newer and stronger gears to provide optimal power wheel performance.

It's important to note that power wheel gears are similar to, but not exactly like those you'll find in a car. Most Power Wheels branded ride-on vehicles feature a 7R gearcase. Inside of these gearboxes are five gears.

When you're thinking about upgrading gears, just like power wheel batteries, you don't always want the most powerful upgrade. Getting gears that are too powerful for a power wheel can cause motor-related problems.


There you have it, several helpful tips on how to modify power wheels. If you consider yourself handy with wiring, electricity, and similar types of repairs, it's possible to successfully modify ride-on vehicles. On the other hand, you might feel that you're experienced enough to start doing these types of repairs, which is perfectly understandable. You might consider having someone handle modifications who is familiar with this type of work.