Electric scooters may be recent technology, but that doesn't mean they are bulletproof.
If not correctly taken care of, you can expect problems to show up occasionally, especially if you ride your e scooter in unforgiving conditions.
However, the great news is that you can troubleshoot and easily fix an electric scooter without checking into a repair shop, even if this is your first e-scooter.
In this electric scooter troubleshooting guide, we'll walk you through X common e-scooter issues and how to fix them.
Let's jump in.
Problem 1: Electric Scooter Not Charging
Charging problems are the #1 problem for electric scooters. If your electric scooter is no longer taking charge, there is a good chance that you have one of the three problems outlined below:
Blocked Charging Port
Dust and debris can get lodged in the electric scooter charger port and cut off the current flow. Unplug the scooter from the wall socket and inspect the charging port by sight to see if there is any dust or debris in the connectors and terminals. If there is, remove the debris gently using a small stick (no needles or sharp tools).
Once no more debris is blocking the current flow, plug in the charger and test the charging port. If the electric scooter is still not charging, then the problem is not the charging port.
The Battery Charger Is Defective
When an electric scooter is not charging, a defective charger could be the culprit. If your charging cable has a traffic light system, make sure the green light shows when the charger is plugged into the power outlet and a red light when charging the electric scooter. The illumination should turn back to green when the charging is complete.
That said, not all electric scooter chargers illuminate when the battery charger is plugged in. You might need to test the battery charger port's voltage using a multimeter.
If the voltage level at the charging port is the same as that at the battery pack, then the charger is in mint condition.
If not, you should replace the charger immediately.
The Battery Is Dead
Dead battery problems are a normal occurrence and not a cause for alarm. A deteriorating electric scooter battery pack will take longer to charge and shorter to discharge. It will repeat this cycle until it is completely dead and unresponsive.
Electric scooters that are powered by Lithium-ion batteries do not experience a dead battery as often. A Li-ion rechargeable battery has 300-500 charge cycles and a lifespan of about 2-3 years. Thus, it won't develop a charge-cycle "memory" as quickly as a nickel-metal hydride battery.
Try charging the battery for a more extended period to get enough power for the scooter. But that is only a short-term remedy. The best solution to fix a dead battery is to replace it with a new battery pack.
Problem 2: Electric Scooter Starts But Won't Move
Sometimes you may find that the electric scooter turns on but refuses to move at all. Other times, the scooter moves but suddenly stops working. There are a couple of reasons why an electric scooter may act in this manner, including:
The Ignition Fuse Is Flipped
Riders may unknowingly flip the main or ignition fuse and render their electric scooters immobile. When a fuse is flipped, the electric scooter turns on but it won't move an inch. Check to see if the main and ignition fuses are flipped.
If you notice that your electric scooter's fuse is flipped, just set it back in the "on" position and start the engine. The scooter should move again unless there is a fuse or circuit breaker problem.
The Ignition Fuse Is Blown
A damaged fuse is another possible reason your scooter will refuse to budge. If you carry more load than the scooter's maximum weight limit, go over steep inclines, or drive through water puddles and mud, a fuse may burn out,.
First, check if the main ignition fuse is switched on. If not, turn it on and start the engine. If the scooter refuses to kick in, you may be dealing with a blown fuse.
To check if you have a blown fuse, pull out the fuse from its box and hold it up to a light to look for a burnt connection inside. You can also use a multimeter to check for conductivity.
You'll need to have the broken fuse replaced by a professional.
The Circuit Breaker Tripping
The circuit breaker will automatically trip and cut off the power supply to the motor if the scooter is overloaded. If your electric scooter suddenly stops running, the circuit breaker has likely tripped.
Check the circuit breaker to ensure there are no loose wires and connectors. You can also test the circuit breaker using a multimeter.
To resolve a tripped circuit breaker, wait a few seconds after the scooter has stopped. Then push the reset button (usually found on the left side of the battery box) to reset the circuit.
The Key Switch or Power Switch Is Defective
A defective key switch or power switch may also result in an electric scooter not moving. You first need to test the power switch or key switch for proper mechanical operation.
If your electric scooter has a power switch, ensure it's properly turned on. The switch should snap onto position and turn the scooter on again unless it is defective.
If you are using a key switch, twist it between the OFF and ON positions a couple of times. If it snaps into both positions, then your switch is fine. But if it feels loose or lacks a positive snap-action feel to it, then you may be dealing with a defective key switch.
The best way to test the continuity of the power switch or key switch is with a multimeter. The on/off switch can develop faults that will need to be repaired or replaced by a technician.
Problem 3: The Electric Scooter Runs Slowly
You may notice that your electric scooter hits its max speed limit as you begin your trip and then slows down or stops completely after a while.
Of course, it's natural for a scooter to slow down when going uphill. On the contrary, the scooter slowing down on flat ground could signify trouble. For example:
Your Batteries Are Wearing Down
When an electric scooter slows down on flat roads, it's most likely that your scooter battery is wearing down. If that's the case, the battery is inching closer to its lifespan and won't hold a charge for long.
Unfortunately, the only solution to a worn-out battery is to replace it with a new one. Even if you try charging the battery, it will take time to charge fully and will drain faster. Switching to a new battery pack gives you sufficient battery power and avoids inconveniences.
Tyre Pressure Is Insufficient
Your electric scooter may also run slowly if you have low air pressure. When the tyre pressure is insufficient, the contact patch (the part of the tyre that is in contact with the ground) will increase, resulting in increased driving resistance.
You can fix this problem by pumping up the tyres to their factory-recommended PSI. If this does not help, you may have a puncture. Fix it as needed and see if that helps.
You Have a Dirty Motor
A dirty scooter motor can also result in a slow running scooter. Inspect the electric motor for any dirt or debris that might be preventing it from running correctly.
If you see any debris blocking the motor, clean it out using a brush or compressed air until everything is clear. Then try powering up the scooter once again. The scooter should now run as usual.
The Scooter Is Overloaded
Overloading the electric scooter will also affect the speed.
If your weight exceeds the recommended payload capacity, the scooter will travel slower than expected. You have three options: lose weight, suck up travelling at slower speeds, or upgrade to a scooter with a higher weight limit.
You Have a Faulty Controller
All of the fuses and wires on an electric scooter are connected to a speed controller. This electrical control board manages the scooter's speed and keeps it within a fixed range. If liquid or other foreign substances contact the electric scooter speed controller, it may short circuit, causing the engine to act up.
A defective speed controller can be a little daunting to fix. In scenarios where loose connections or wires are needed, you can tighten them yourself. Then, test the scooter and see if it accelerates smoothly. If it doesn't, there could be an issue with the transistor.
In that case, seek help from a technician to fix a faulty speed controller. Even if the transistor seems to have popped out of its place, don't touch it if you don't know what to do. A professional will fix it quite easily and get you back on the road.
Problem 4: The Electric Scooter Engine Won't Start
Your electric scooter may not have a battery, fuse, or circuit breaker problem. However, the engine still won't run no matter how hard you try pushing the scooter to start. A defective kill switch or motor can cause this issue. For example:
The Kill Switch Is On
Some electric scooters come with a kill switch that helps save energy. Many scooter manuals recommend turning the kill switch on when the e-scooter is not in use or while charging.
The kill switch may still be in the "on" position when your engine doesn't start. So check if the kill switch is on and turn it off before starting the engine. Your scooter should be able to start unless there is a problem with the motor.
The Motor Has Overheated
Engine overheating is never a good sight. When the engine heats up, it means the battery is also heating up. Consequently, the electric scooter will stall to prevent further damage to the battery. Turn off the engine and inspect it to see if there are any signs of overheating.
Move your nose closer and take a whiff of the motor. If it smells like it's burning, it is a good sign the motor has overheated, and wires have burnt up.
There are different locations of the motors on electric scooters. Some have hub motors integrated into the front or rear wheel. Others have chain or belt drives built into the rear wheel. In some high-end scooters, the motors are located in the front and rear wheels.
Issues with overheating motors typically do not have a quick fix. If your motor is overheating too often, a trip to your nearest electric scooter repair shop may be inevitable.
The Electric Scooters Needs to Be Reset
In some cases, the solution to an electric scooter that won't start is simply resetting the device. There is no one-size-fits-all method for resetting electric scooters.
Most electric scooters can be reset using the power button. But not all scooters have this functionality.
If in doubt, consult the manual for help on how to reset your e-scooter. Most scooters have a manual containing the reset procedure. You can also check online for a manual or guide for troubleshooting your electric scooter's specific make and model.
Problem 5: Electric Scooter Runs at Partial Throttle
Your electric scooter may run only at partial throttle, yet the battery is not faulty or worn out. This can be frustrating, especially when you want to unleash the machine's full speed.
There are a few possible causes for this partial throttle response:
Failing Brake Lever Switch
As with the kill switch, the rider can activate the brake lever switch by mistake. There is a direct connection between this switch and the scooter's throttle control system. Therefore, if this switch is on, it may cause partial or complete deactivation of the entire throttle system.
Confirm if the brake lever switch is turned on. If it is, make sure you deactivate it before starting the engine.
Brakes Do Not Function Properly
Malfunctioning brake cables or pads may also cause a partial throttle response on an electric scooter. Failing electric scooter brakes can lock up the machine, so it doesn't move at full speed.
Try checking the brakes to see if they are working correctly. You may need to clean and lubricate the brakes to prevent them from locking up the scooter. Replace the brake cable or the brake pads if they are completely worn out.
Have you recently experienced any issues with your electric scooter? If yes, how did you fix it? Did you do it yourself or seek help from a professional technician?
E-scooter issues can show up when you least expect them. Fortunately, you can diagnose and fix most of these issues without involving a repair technician.
What's more, a regular check-up and cleaning before and after riding can go a long way in keeping most of these e-scooter problems at bay.