Common Electric Scooter Problems and How to Fix Them
- Read Time: 12 min
The electric scooter is a simple and great vehicle not to mention fun and practical. Properly maintained and shown some TLC you should be able to rely on your electric partner.
But they are not bulletproof. And you might run into some issues. Big as well as small. Many common or minor problems you can fix on your own.
The one thing to remember is that many issues can be connected to the battery pack. Old, worn out or faulty battery packs will create problems. It is therefore a good starting point to always check if your battery is working as it should. Especially if you have bought a second-hand electric scooter and you don't know for sure how many life cycles are left.
Below are some other issues that might occur.
My Electric Scooter Keeps Cutting Out
If you experience that your scooter shuts off or cuts out while riding, it most likely means that your circuit breaker has been tripped. Check your circuit breaker and see if it is very warm or has loose wires. Make sure the wires are secured properly. Overloading or steep inclines can cause the breaker to trip. Wait for a few seconds after stopping and try starting it again.
To prevent it from happening again, go to a repair shop and have a professional check it.
My Electric Scooter Won’t Move
This could be simple or something that needs more attention.
Make sure the power switch is on and that it works properly. I.e it is not loose or feels it is not connecting properly.
If the battery is charged and operates as it should, then a fuse is probably the culprit. It might have flipped or it has blown. Check to see if it has flipped. If so, switch back to the "on" position. If it is blown, you need to replace it.
Is it a "kick to start to start" scooter? Some scooters need to be pushed before the throttle engages.
Check the battery and recharge it if needed. If possible, see if the battery pack works on another electric scooter.
The brake lever switch is another possibility. Most electric scooters have normally open brake switches but some have normally closed brake switches. The brake switches inform the speed controller to turn the motor off when the brakes are applied.
To test for a faulty normally open brake switch, you have to disconnect the brake lever wire connector from the speed controller and then see if the scooter runs. If it does, it is a normally open type that is faulty.
Testing for a faulty normally closed brake lever switch, you must disconnect the brake lever wire connector from the speed controller, bridge the two terminals together in the controller's connector that the brake switch is unplugged from. If the scooter runs when the controller's brake switch connector terminals are bridged together, then the brake switch is a normally closed type which is faulty.
Check the battery charger port for damages, as well as the battery charger.
Check the speed controller for any burned or melted wires. If any wires are burned or melted then the speed controller may be defective.
The motor might have overheated. Melted or burned wires and connectors indicate overheating which might cause damage to the motors copper wire windings.
Look for any burned or melted wires or wire connectors attached to the motor. Burned or melted wires or wire connectors indicate overheating of the motor which may cause the plastic insulation to melt off the motor's copper wire windings.
The Kill Switch is On
Some electric scooters have a kill switch. It allows riders to turn the scooter on or off without using the key and is also helping to save energy after using the scooter. The recommendation is many times to turn the kill switch on when the e-scooter is charging or not in use.
Check to see if the kill switch is on before checking for a low or dead battery. If it's on, turn it off and you should be able to restart your electric scooter unless there is a problem with the battery or the motor.
Vehicle Runs Slowly
If your scooter is sluggish or runs slowly, the most common cause is an old worn-out or faulty battery pack. The only remedy is to replace your electric scooter battery.
A less common issue could be a faulty motor. This is more difficult to diagnose than a battery pack as there are no similar tests easily performed to see if the motor is at fault. But 99% of the time, it will be a lack of battery power that is the reason.
Speed Controller Does Not Work
Speed controller issues are not uncommon on electric scooters. The speed controller manages your speed and keeps it within a certain range. It is an important part of your e scooter that is prone to damage if you don't take care of your scooter.
The first step is to dismantle the speed controller. If any wires are burned or melted then the speed controller may be defective. Tighten or replace loose or damaged wires. Reassemble and test to see if it accelerates as it should.
There is Little to no Acceleration
This is similar to the previous issues. Check your speed controller and/or the fuse. Always check all wires to see they are attached properly and if they are in good condition.
Vehicle Runs Constantly
When the motor runs constantly, it will most likely be a defective speed controller issue. See above for faulty speed controller.
On occasion, it can be a faulty throttle or short circuit in the throttle cable. To test whether this is the problem, disconnect the throttle from the speed controller. If the motor stops running, then the throttle is defective. If the motor still runs constantly, then the speed controller is defective.
The reason for this happening is that most electric scooters use a so-called MOSFET transistor, (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) for speed control. When this transistor burns out, it locks the power into the on position, causing the motor to run at full speed continuously.
Vehicle Cycles On and Off
This issue is usually a faulty or old worn-out battery pack. The electric scooter speed controller which is wired in between the battery and motor has a low voltage cutoff function. It turns the motor off when the voltage of the battery or battery pack drops to a 0 % charge state.
This cutoff function prevents the battery pack from being over-discharged which is crucial as if this happens, it may damage the battery in such a way that it can never be charged again.
If the battery is faulty or just old and worn out, it can drop down to zero percent when in use, and that causes the speed controller to shut the motor down. But when the motor is turned off, the voltage will rise again above zero. This then causes the motor to cycle on and off.
Vehicle Only Runs At Partial Throttle
See above as it is most likely the same issue, a faulty or worn-out battery pack. The cutoff function preventing the battery pack from being discharged completely causes the speed controller to shut down. The voltage rises again as soon as the motor is turned off and this then results in partial throttle response.
Vehicle Runs But Not With a Rider On It
If your electric scooter does not accept a rider on it, it is most likely due to a battery pack that is dropping power under load. The battery pack might need replacing or it can't be recharged properly.
Test the voltage of the battery pack. Perform a deep charge. Charge the battery for 48 to 72 hours. Sometimes lead-acid batteries need a deep charge to regain capacity. Doing this a couple of times per year is a good practice.
If the battery has been left uncharged for more than six months, it may not be able to charge anymore. An electric scooter battery doesn't like to be completely discharged.
Vehicle Only Runs for a Short Amount of Time
Electric scooter troubleshooting will always start with checking the battery pack. This issue is also mostly due to a low or at the end of life battery. See above for info on speed controller as this also plays a part.
Vehicle Only Runs When Its Wheel Is In The Air
This is the same as when the scooter doesn't accept a rider on it. The battery pack is dropping power under load. Often caused by an old, worn out, or faulty battery pack. It might also be the charging system. Check battery charger and charger port to make sure those work properly.
Vehicle Only Runs When Charger is Plugged Into It
This can happen if the battery pack is being discharged down to a voltage that will not run the motor. It might also be a problem with a circuit breaker, wiring, connectors, or a fuse.
Test the battery charging port, and try to deep charge the battery for 48-72 hours.
Motor Runs But Scooter Does Not Move
Check the transmission for missing parts or other issues. Power transmission issues can be caused by worn-out freewheel clutches, a missing or damaged belt/chain, or missing cogs and sprockets.
If the motor, chain, or belt spins while the throttle is being applied but the driving wheel does not, the problem is a defective freewheel clutch mechanism.
If the motor spins when the throttle is applied, yet the chain or belt or rear wheel doesn't move, the problem is with the chain or belt being loose, having fallen off or there are missing or damaged cogs and/or sprockets.
Battery Does Not Take a Charge
When this happens it can be caused by the following.
1. A faulty battery charger doesn't allow the battery to be charged 100%. There might be damaged, loose, or corroded wire connections or a faulty charger port.
2. The battery has been over-discharged and its voltage level is detecting this which prevents it from being charged. This can happen if the key or power switch is left in the on position for more than a couple of days. Or if the battery pack was left in storage without being fully charged or if the battery pack hasn't been charged for a long time.
Battery Does Not Hold a Charge
If you have a fully charged battery and the electric scooter still doesn't run, or it runs slowly and for a short amount of time Then the battery doesn't hold the charge.
If the battery pack has been left uncharged for a long time or put into storage for 6 months or more, it might not be able to fully recharge. Go through all the procedures of checking the battery condition. Try to determine its history. How long has been sitting uncharged?
Try deep charging, (charging it for 48-72 hours) and check the battery charger port.
Battery Charger Light Stays Green
Quite a few things can be going on here.
- A faulty charger port
- Faulty wiring
- Faulty connectors
- Faulty fuse between the charger port and controller
- Faulty wiring harness or connectors on the battery pack
- Faulty battery pack
- Faulty battery charger plug
- Faulty battery charger
Chargers for most electric vehicles are "smart chargers" that automatically detect the condition of the battery pack. For safety reasons, it will not recharge a battery that is over-discharged, has an internal short circuit, an abnormal voltage, an open circuit, is wired in reverse polarity, has plate vulcanization, or some other fault.
Under these conditions, the light will stay green.
Battery Charger Does Not Work
First thing is to make sure that the wall outlet is functioning. Check with another appliance and also check another outlet.
If the wall outlet is working the charger should indicate red when charging.
Always plug the charger into the vehicle first and the wall second. If the charger doesn't charge and the light stays green while the battery is still empty, it means the charger port is not receiving voltage. To be sure, you can use a voltmeter to check your charger's output. You might need to get another charger. Always make sure it is of the exact same specifications as required by the manufacturer for your e scooter and also that it is compatible with your home.
Battery Charger is Lost
If you need to get another charger it is extremely important it has the exact same Ah rating and voltage as per the instructions for your electric scooter battery. To be safe, get one from the same manufacturer.
Connectors Have Melted
If the wire insulation or wire connectors to the motor have melted, it was caused by overloading the controller or motor beyond its designed capacity. This can happen to electric scooters and other similar PEV:s if the vehicle is driven up an incline too steep for it, or if it's being overloaded in another way, like running through sand or mud.
Fuse or Circuit Breaker Keeps Blowing Out
Overloading an electric scooter by using it in a way it was never designed for can cause the fuse to burn out or the circuit breaker to trip. Going up steep hills, driving through mud or sand can all result in an overload.
Rubbing brake pads due to brake components not being maintained or having the proper cable tension can also cause these problems. In short, any unnecessary resistance should be avoided.
Key is Lost
If you lose your key and don't have a spare one, usually it's best to change the entire key switch if possible. Or see if a locksmith can do a new key for you.
Fuse is Missing or Lost
Fuse holder caps can unthread and pop off while riding. This is one of the most common reasons when glass fuses go missing. The spring that holds the fuse in place ejects and goes missing together with the fuse holder cap when the cap unthreads the whole way.
Brakes Don’t Function Properly
Check the brake pads and shoes for excessive wear and replace them if needed. If they are in good condition, try tightening the brake cable adjuster on the brake lever or on the brake itself to see if they respond better.
Tires Go Flat Frequently
Eventually, you will suffer a flat. It happens. But if it happens frequently, then it is probably not something you run over all the time. make sure the tire is installed and fitted properly. You can suffer flats from tube pinches and valve stem separation due to underinflation.
Always maintain the right tire pressure.
The best way to fix any of the above issues is to maintain your electric scooter properly and avoid these problems in the first place.
An electric scooter is a relatively low-maintenance vehicle, but it does require maintenance. You can't just ignore it.
Regular check-ups and cleanings are good practice. Before and after riding.
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