The New York Times reports that ride-on toy cars — from pedal-powered vehicles to motorized sedans that look (and drive) just like mom and dad’s car — remain one of the hottest toy trends in North America.
But while toy cars might be smaller and intended for toddlers, tikes, and tweens, they can still be a big pain to put together.
It’s time to put the pedal to the metal. This guide to toy car assembly will get you into high gear. And if you’re trying to avoid spending the usual five to six hours building a toy car, don’t worry. We even include a few tips on how to find easy, done-for-you assembly solutions to have you going from 0 to 60 without lifting a single finger (or a hammer).
How to Build a Toy Car
**Click to auto scroll by section
- Gather the Tools to Build a Toy Car
- Double-Check That You Aren’t Missing Any Parts
- Inspect the Toy Car For Damage
- Step 1. Review the Safety Precautions and Charge the Battery
- Step 2. Prepare Your Work Space
- Step 3. Build the Toy Car As Specified in the Manual
- Tips for Difficult or Complicated Toy Car Parts
- Don’t Forget: How to Charge the Battery
- Speed Up: Get Help with Toy Car Assembly
Start Your Engines: Tools, Parts, and Inspections
Think of this step as like your first trip to the DMV to get your license. You probably took a few practice quizzes, re-read your notes multiple times, and asked to borrow the family van one last time for a practice drive around the block.
Building a toy ride-on car is no different: Success (and safety) starts with the right preparation.
Gather the Tools to Build a Toy Car
Some ride-on toy cars may include one or two tools, such as a small ratchet or a few hexagon keys. But check the manual before turning your living room into a Nascar pit stop, since most toy car products require a slew of other tools:
- Sharp scissors or knife
Double-Check That You Aren’t Missing Any Parts
Most toy car manuals start off with a diagram showing you all the necessary parts to build your ride-on toy car. Carefully empty the contents of the box and layout each piece. Verify that you:
- Have all the right parts
- Have the right number of each part
Finding out halfway through the assembly process that you’re missing a wheel or an axle will cause huge headaches for you and any excited, impatient children in the next room.
Inspect the Toy Car For Damage
It might not be a true fender bender, but a twisted bumper or bent battery terminal is, at the least, a huge disappointment when the average ride-on toy car costs $400 to $600. At most, it creates a safety hazard for your family.
- Rust and oxidation
- Chipped or peeling paint
- Dents, scrapes, cracks, or scratches
If you notice a damaged piece, consult the manufacturer’s manual for instructions on how to submit evidence of damage and get the part replaced.
🤔 If at any point you feel stuck or you realize you don’t want to spend your weekend building the toy car, you can send assembly professionals from LoadUp to get it ready to ride fast. Experts will fix it up and assemble the toy car without the price gouge of the sketchy neighborhood mechanic!
Steps to Assemble a Ride-On Car
While every specific brand and model will differ slightly, the general process is long, tedious, yet straightforward. (Yes, if you’re hoping to save time on building a toy car, we’ll give you a hint in a second).
Step 1. Review the Safety Precautions and Charge the Battery
A small Hot Wheels car left on your living room floor is a minor inconvenience. But a ride-on toy car built improperly can create actual hazards for your children. Before you get started, carefully review all safety info included in the owner’s manual.
While you’re reading, plugin and charge the toy car’s battery. Charging can take upwards of a day, so don’t delay.
Step 2. Prepare Your Work Space
You need a clean, uncluttered, and quiet space to build the toy car. Now is not the time for little ones to go dashing through your pile of tiny screws, or for little fingers to press the ignition of the yet-to-be-completed vehicle.
Set all of your tools and parts out in front of you, then arrange the parts in order of when you’ll need them. Assembling a toy car can take hours, so get organized up front if you want to save time during the process.
Step 3. Build the Toy Car As Specified in the Manual
In most cases, you’ll start by assembling the chassis of the car. However, every brand and model is different. Treat the owner’s manual like you would if you were to drive past a roadside police check: Slow down, and ensure you’re following all the rules and regulations.
Tips for Difficult or Complicated Toy Car Parts
Putting the sticker and brand emblem on the front of your toddler’s racecar? Easy. Adding fake mud paint to the back of your daughter’s toy Jeep? What a breeze.
But there are a few key parts of your family’s ride-on toy car that are notoriously difficult:
- Door latches:
It’s easy to get the tension wrong, or to have a bent or insufficiently spaced spring. This can lead to door latches that don’t shut the door fully, or that pinch your child’s fingers.
- Wheel axle:
The axle, just like in a real car, keeps the car’s four wheels moving in sync with each other. Poor alignment, or a bent axle, can mean a stuck wheel, a car that drives unpredictably, a car that’s hard to steer, or a wobbling movement when your child is playing.
- Electronic pieces and wiring:
From headlights to battery terminals, a poor connection can lead to a malfunction. And a missing connection can make the car not work at all!
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Don’t Forget: How to Charge the Battery
As noted previously, try to charge the battery before you even get started (if the toy car comes with a freestanding battery charger). All motorized toy cars run on an electric battery. The more common 12V and 24V batteries take up to 20 hours to charge the first time, and then approximately eight hours to recharge. The less common 6V batteries require 12 hours of initial charging, but only six hours to recharge.
- Consult the owner’s manual
- Ensure the battery is securely plugged into the charger or, if it charges while in the toy car, ensure the battery is touching all the terminals
- Keep the toy car and the battery away from rain and moisture (in other words, bring it into your garage or house and don’t let it charge where it will be exposed to the elements)
Speed Up: Get Help with Toy Car Assembly
If you’re hitting some speed bumps while trying to assemble the toy car, give LoadUp a call.
LoadUp is your full service, white-glove assembly partner assisting in putting together products for you, from toy cars to scooters and bikes. Our nearly assembly professionals in more than 170 cities will swing by and do the heavy lifting.
Plus, if you’re worried about toy car safety, you’re 100% covered by our multi-million dollar premium insurance. Find your upfront, guaranteed price for a pro toy assembler near you!
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