Updated February 17th, 2023
Electric scooters are really fun to ride and good for the environment. A sad fact of life is that if you ride your electric scooter long enough, something is going need to be fixed. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to fix electric scooters. Here are 9 things to check to fix your electric scooter if it has stopped working.
9 things to check to fix electric scooters
1 – Reset your scooter
Many electric scooters have a reset button or reset procedure. If you are not sure how to reset your scooter, check the manual. If you do not have one, then check online for a manual or guide for your electric scooter.
2 – Check for a kill or arming switch
Many electric scooters have a kill switch or arming switch. This allows the scooter to be powered up but the motor will not run unless the switch is in the correct position. Check this if the display on your scooter is working but it won’t move. If your not sure where this is on your electric scooter, check the manual or look online for a manual.
3 – Check the fuse or circuit breaker
Most electric scooters have a fuse or circuit breaker. This is to prevent damage to the motor, batteries, and electronics. If you run your scooter full throttle with the motor stalled, it can be damaged due to over current. The fuse or circuit breaker prevents this. If your scooter was stalled or jammed up you might have blown the fuse. If your scooter got wet or rained on it might have shorted a circuit that also could have blown a fuse. Your scooter might have several fuses or circuit breakers so check the manual.
To check a fuse, hold it up to a light and look for a burnt connection inside. You can also use a multi-meter to check for conductivity in the fuse. Once a fuse is burnt it will be an open circuit.
The below video shows how to check the fuses an an electric scooter.
4 – Make sure the battery is fully charged
Make sure your electric scooter’s battery is fully charged. If the battery is dead your scooter won’t operate. There may be enough charge left to power up the electronics and display but not enough to make the scooter move.
If it’s been several months since the last time you rode your scooter you should fully charge the battery before trying to ride it.
Check the lights on your battery charger and battery to verify that the charger is working. Different chargers use different light patterns. Look at your scooter’s manual to learn what your scooter’s battery charger should show.
The below video shows how to check an electric scooter battery charger.
5 – Check the motor
Inspect the motor. There are many different motor types and locations on electric scooters. Some have hub motors built into the front or rear wheel. Some have belt or chain drives to the rear wheel. Some high powered scooters have motors on both the front and rear wheel.
Check the motor for any debris that might have gotten stuck in it and is stalling it out.
Check the connectors at the motor to make sure they are firmly plugged in. Check the wiring for any wear or chafing that might cause a short circuit.
Smell the motor. It should not smell like it’s burning. Burning smell indicates that the motor has overheated and the wiring has burnt up.
Some electric scooters use brushed motors. The brushes are small metal parts that push against the shaft to transfer current into the motor. Brushes wear out over time. The surface the brushes rub against can become burnt or have carbon built up. Burnt surfaces or carbon build up will prevent current flow. If the current doesn’t flow, your motor doesn’t turn.
If the motor is brushless, it won’t have brushes. Brushless motors have 3 power leads coming from the motor. Brushed motors have 2 power leads coming from the motor. See this article in Popular Mechanics to learn more about the differences between brushed and brushless motors.
6 – Check the wiring
Check the wiring around your scooter. Check all connectors to make sure they are plugged in. Check the leads coming out of the connectors to make sure they are still attached. Don’t pull too hard on any lead so that you don’t break a connector while checking it.
Look for any chafing or wear on the wiring. This is most common where the wires go around a hard edge or wear the wiring can bounce or move a lot.
If your electric scooter only works sometimes, there may be a loose connection somewhere in the system. It’s sometimes okay but sometimes not. A circuit may be bouncing open to close and back due to a loose connection.
7 – Check the speed controller
The speed controller will have connections to the battery, motor, throttle, and brakes. It will also have connections to any display on your scooter. This is really the brains of your electric scooter. Check all the connections on your speed controller. Smell it for any burnt odor. If any of the switches or transistors are burnt out in the speed controller it won’t work. If this is the case it needs to be replaced. Check your electric scooter manual for where replacement parts can be bought for a new controller.
The below video shows how to check the controller on an electric scooter.
8 – Check brake lever switch
The brake lever on your electric scooter will have a switch that turns off the motor when you apply the brakes. It is normally an open/close switch somewhere in the brake lever. If this switch isn’t working or stuck in the “brakes on” position then your motor won’t run. You can check this switch with a muti-meter. It should be an open or closed circuit when the brakes are applied. It should be the opposite when the brakes are released.
9 – Check the batteries
The batteries in your scooter are one of the most complex and important parts. If you are not getting the speed and range you used to, the battery may be where your electric scooter fix is needed.
The battery will consist of many cells. That may be wired in series and parallel batches. If you have lithium polymer or lithium ion batteries you may have balancing circuits also. Go here to learn more about Lithium batteries.
If your electric scooter is not going as fast as it used to, the battery is the number one culprit. An electric motor has something called a k-value where it spins a certain RPM for a given input voltage. As the voltage drops, the motor spins slower.
Each cell in your battery outputs a certain voltage when it’s fully charged. This amount is different for different battery types. If your battery has 10 cells wired in series it outputs 10 times the voltage of a single cell. If one cell in the pack goes bad, then it outputs 9 times the voltage of a single cell. If 3 cells go bad then it outputs 7 times the voltage and so on.
If your 10 cell battery has 3 bad cells then your only operating at 70% of the voltage. Your motor is only going to spin at 70% of the RPM it had with 10 good cells.
It’s common for individual cells to go bad inside a battery pack. You can use a multi-meter to check the voltage of your battery pack when it’s fully charged. It should be equal or slightly greater than the specified fully battery voltage. It it’s several volts less, there is a bad cell in your battery.
When your battery discharges it’s output voltage reduces. A pack with 30% charge remaining will not output as much as a full pack so your scooter will go slower.
As your scooter battery ages and goes through more charge/discharge cycle it’s capacity reduces. It’s peak voltage also reduces which means your scooter goes slower. It also means your scooter won’t go as far. If your scooter battery is more than a few years old it may be time for a new battery pack. The average electric scooter battery will last between 2 and 5 years depending on how hard it is used.
The below video shows how to check the voltage of an electric scooter battery and individual cells.
Find a repair shop
If you’ve gone through the list and can’t find the problem it may be time to take it to a repair shop. It can be easy to fix electric scooters but there are some problems that may need more experience. The first thing to check is your scooter manual to see if they have a place to send it for repairs. If your scooter is new and not working then send it back. Don’t dig into your scooter too far and risk not being able to return it for a refund if it’s new.
Many scooters were produced in China and have no customer service or support in the US. In this case, it’s time to look somewhere else for help.
Some bicycle shops will repair electric scooters but many will not. You may try a generic electronic repair shop as well. Hobby shops are another good place to try. A lot of the electronics in an electric scooter are the same as what is an RC plane or car.
You might also like:
- Electric Scooter Maintenance In 5 Easy Steps You Can Do
- Electric Scooter Weight Limit. Can Big People Ride Them?
- How To Make An Electric Scooter Faster. 5 Simple Ways You Can Do It
Co-Founder & E-Scooter Editor
I spent most of my life in Taiwan where riding scooters is the main form of transportation for most people. I love riding e-bikes and e-scooters and think they are a great way to get around and avoid driving. Nothing beats feeling the wind and fresh air while riding around the lakes and parks here in Michigan. I am a design and marketing professional by trade but would rather be outside riding around.