|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
Power Wheels is a brand of battery-powered ride-on toy cars for kids ages 12 months to seven years old. Power Wheels ride-ons are built with kid-sized, realistic features – in some cases, real working features like FM radios, opening/closing doors and hoods, power lock brakes, and both forward and reverse motion.
The Power Wheels brand name dates back to 1984, when San Francisco-based toy company Kransco acquired Pines of America, makers of battery-powered vehicles for children. Two years later, Kransco renamed the line "Power Wheels". By 1990 sales of the battery-powered vehicles reached over 1,000,000 per year.
In 1994, Power Wheels was purchased by Mattel. Following Mattel's acquisition of Kransco, the Power Wheels line immediately became part of Fisher-Price toys out of East Aurora, New York. With the addition of new vehicle licenses the new Power Wheels by Fisher-Price and Mattel lines did well.
Power Wheels Vehicles
Power Wheels ride-on cars, trucks and motorcycles have been sold with more than 100 model names.
The latest line of Power Wheels features small scale versions of popular real world vehicles, including the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Hurricane, Ford F-150, Ford Mustang, Kawasaki KFX quad, Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Cadillac Escalade EXT as well as Lightning McQueen from Pixar’s movie, Cars.
Power Wheels vehicles have been the subject of Safety Recalls.
The first recall in 1991 involved the 18 Volt Porsche 911, in which the contacts in the foot pedal switch could weld together in use. If this were to happen, the motor would remain running and the vehicle would continue moving forward, unable to stop. A new accelerator pedal was fitted that eliminated the possibility of welded contacts.
In 1998, Fisher-Price undertook a monumental recall of up to 10 million Power Wheels 12 volt and Super 6 volt vehicles manufactured since 1986. The recall and repair program was conducted to replace battery fuses and strengthen battery connectors in order to prevent the units from overheating. The main difference of a post recall Power Wheel is that the original "H" (or on very early Power Wheels, "S") connectors are removed and replaced with the larger, black "A" connectors. If a Power Wheels ride-on was built in or before 1998 and has the Black "A" connectors, then the recall work has probably been performed.
The third recall in 2000 involved the Harley Davidson motor cycle ride-ons, In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Fisher-Price is recalling about 218,000 battery-powered Power Wheels Harley-Davidson motorcycle ride-ons for repair. The foot pedals, which activate the ride-ons, can stick in the "on" position. Children can be injured when the motorcycle ride-ons fail to stop and strike other objects. The recalled Power Wheels Harley-Davidson motorcycle ride-ons have model numbers 74290, 74293 (with a red body) and 74298 (with a black body). A "Power Wheels by Fisher-Price" logo is located on the left side of the seat on the product, and the model number is located on a label in the battery compartment. Only model numbers 74290, 74293 and 74298 are being recalled. These vehicles are intended for children 3 and older, and the vehicles' speed is 2.5 or 5 mph. Toy, mass merchandise and discount stores, and Harley-Davidson dealerships sold the motorcycle ride-ons nationwide from September 1999 through August 2000 for about $190 for the red vehicle and $700 for the black vehicle.