One of the essential components of any ride-on car is its battery. It provides power to the wheels as well as all of its electronic displays and sounds. Therefore its quality and capacity directly impact the performance and longevity of the ride on. Let’s take a deeper look at it right now to help you choose the right one, and also how to maximize its usage.
Types of Battery
This is by far the most common type used in the vast majority of ride-on cars on the market today. It uses the same technology as the batteries found in most consumer cars. It provides the best value in terms of the amount of power per dollar.
Pros: Inexpensive, requires little maintenance, comes in different sizes to accommodate various power requirements.
Cons: Longer charge time, a shorter lifespan.
Just like for regular cars, lithium battery technology is slowly making inroads in the toy ride-on car industry as well. These new batteries deliver more power, longer playing time, and faster charging at a higher cost (for now).
Pros: Quick charging time, longer playing time, more powerful.
Cons: High initial cost.
Since most of the ride-on cars today use lead-acid batteries, we’ll focus on them for the rest of this article.
The simple rule to remember here is that bigger is better, as measured in voltage (ie. Volts). A bigger voltage means more power, higher weight capacity, and more playing time. All things being equal, always look for units with a bigger battery to ensure a lasting good time. Of course, more power comes with a bigger price tag. Therefore finding the sweet spot for good value is the smart choice to make.
Here are some common battery sizes you’ll find.
This is the smallest size, with the least amount of power. Suitable for ride-on bikes, small ATVs, and small cars. The weight capacity is usually around 40 lbs or less. Suitable for young children between 18 months and 3 years.
The most common size found in ride-on cars. Gives an excellent balance between power and cost. Can be utilized in both 1 or 2 seater cars, with up to 70 lbs of carrying capacity. Suitable for children 2 to 8 years old.
24V to 36V
The largest size found in the biggest models. These beasty power units can easily move 2-seaters, with additional options of going off-road, and has a weight capacity of 100 lbs or higher. You won’t need to charge them nearly as often either. When you want the biggest and the best, this is the way to go.
Battery Care & Safety
Lead-acid batteries have a normal shelf life of 1 to 2 years depending on usage frequency, and operating conditions (extreme cold and hot temperatures shorten its lifespan).
Here are a few simple tips to help you safely maximize their battery life:
- Fully charge your battery for at least 12 hours (or overnight) before the initial use.
- When not using the ride-on car for an extended period of time, or putting it away for the season, fully charge it prior to storage.
- Disconnect the battery before storage (after a full charge).
- Do not let the battery compartment get wet (ie. avoid spills).
- Do not place any metal objects over the battery to prevent shorting.
Battery Disposal & Replacement
Eventually, even with the best care, all batteries will need to be replaced. First, make sure you dispose of the used battery correctly -- by recycling it. Do not throw it away in the garbage as it contains many chemicals that would pollute and contaminate the landfill. Contact your local recycling center, toy and electronics stores, or any automotive shop where regular car batteries are recycled. Make a safe and responsible choice!
As for getting a new battery, the good news is that despite the vast selection of ride-on cars available, the actual number of battery models are much smaller, as many units share the same power unit.
The easiest way is to re-order your battery from where you purchased the ride-on car. If that’s not available, you can also purchase from a different seller, just make sure the voltage and ampere ratings match your current one as indicated on the front or side of the battery.
With a little knowledge and care, you can make sure your little one will continue to enjoy riding in their ride-on toys for many years to come!