Electric Three Wheel Bikes: It's Problems and Solutions
Posted by Dina Llabore on
Going around your neighborhood while riding a bike is one of the pleasures some people can enjoy. Not everyone knows how to balance a bike. Electric three wheel bikes are popular as it allows you to enjoy the feeling of riding a bike without balancing. You can use it for short distances so you won’t have to bring your car out, which is very convenient.
However, a few problems might pop up while using electric bikes. Since they are battery-operated, most problems will stem from the battery and the charger. You don’t need to worry because, in this article, we will tackle the common problems that you might encounter along with its solutions. Let’s dive in!
Electric Three Wheel Bike Issues
Although e-trikes are very popular right now, repair shops are very few. There’s a chance that the one in your state is too far from your neighborhood. It is why you need to learn a few things about the possible issues that may appear while using a three-wheel bike. Here are some of the most common problems of electric trikes and their solutions.
Problem #1: Battery
As a battery-operated unit, you should expect that most of the problems will start from it. Losing power or the unit failing to start is a very common occurrence, especially if the battery is low. However, experiencing the same issues when your battery doubly concerning.
If you are dealing with these issues, there are a few things that you can try.
1. Recharge the Battery
The most common response to this kind of problem is to recharge the battery. It’s possible that you failed to completely recharge it. Before you do any type of troubleshooting, recharge the battery first.
2. Check the Charger
If you tried to recharge the battery and the result is still the same, the next step is to check the charger. You just need to plug the charger into the socket and check the indicator lights. When you notice an indicator light that blinks or is not illuminated, the charger is probably faulty.
But, there is no assurance that the charger is at fault. You can use a voltmeter to check the output voltage of the charger. You have to make sure that the voltage is a few volts higher than the rated voltage of the battery charger.
If you noticed that the output is zero or it’s below the rated voltage, it means that the charge is faulty.
3. Inspect the Battery Prongs
If it's not the battery itself and not the charger, the next step is to check the prongs. You should check if they are not lined up properly as the electrical circuit won’t be completed. This problem can be fixed by using a wrench to bend the prongs slightly so you can realign them.
4. Battery Replacement
If the charger is working properly and the prongs are in place, the problem is most likely on the battery itself. The best thing you can do is to buy a new battery and then try the new one. Contact the manufacturer of your e-trike and ask if they sell new batteries. Only use the batteries made by the manufacturer to prevent any further issues.
Problem #2: Brake Malfunction
Brake malfunction is one of the most dangerous problems that you might encounter while using an e-trike. You don’t want to encounter this problem while you are riding as it might cause accidents and serious injuries. Don’t be worried as this problem is also very common in cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
Below are a few things that you need to know about brake malfunction problems and how you can resolve these issues.
- The first thing that you need to do is to figure out the reason why the brakes are not functioning properly. If you accidentally dropped the bike, there is a chance that a part of the handlebar was damaged. You can check the motor inhibitor switch to see if the brakes are stuck. The best thing to do is to fix the damaged handlebar and the brake levers.
- If the switch is already damaged, it needs to be replaced immediately. This is the work of a qualified mechanic. If you have the knowledge and experience in handling e-trike parts, then do it yourself. If not, then it’s better to bring it to a repair shop as soon as possible.
- Worn-out brake pads have to be replaced right away. The brake pads will become thinner after every use. The longer you use it, the thinner it will be. This is very dangerous because if the pads are extremely thin, the brakes will no longer work. If you noticed that it’s too worn out already, buy a new one and replace the pads.
Problem #3: Twist Throttle
A twisted throttle usually happens if you tend to pull the throttle back and you let it go too fast. If you always do this, the throttle will be damaged and it will break. The best way to use the throttle is to pull it back and slowly let it go.
If the throttle is a bit loose, you can just replace it. They are not very expensive so you can just buy a new one from an e-bike shop and install it.
If the throttle is not functioning properly, you need to check if it’s still working or you’ll have to replace it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can do it:
- The first thing to do is to get a multimeter and a power source. You need your throttle and the motor controller. They have to be connected together before you start the process.
- You need to turn the controller on. The multimeter should have the black probe located in the COM slot, while the red probe should be at the VHz slot.
- Go to the multimeter and select the DC voltage mode. Check the dial and turn it to the 20V setting.
- Use the probes and place them at the back of the connector. It should be placed between the ground and the red wire V+. You will see values between 4V to 5V.
- Check the throttle signal by putting the probes between the black and green signals. You should keep in mind that the green signal is usually white depending on the type of e-trike you are using. If the throttle is at rest, the value should be 1V. If you twist it, you should see that the voltage will rise until it reaches 4V.
Problem #4: Pedal Assist
The pedal-assist mode on your e-trike is also susceptible to damage. The damage and the solution will depend on the type of pedal-assist system that you are using:
- Built into the bottom bracket
- With the ring of magnets built directly to the front sprocket
If you are using a pedal-assist system that is built in the bottom bracket, you might deal with two main issues:
- Bike pulsating
- The torque sensor is out of alignment
Once these problems occur, you will have to readjust and reconnect the sensor. Your e-trike has a lot of mechanical adjustments. It means that every adjustment you make can have an impact on the torque sensor. If adjusting and reconnecting the sensor is too hard for you, it is better to bring the bike to the nearest shop and let the mechanics do the job.
If your pedal assist is actually the ring of magnets in the front sprocket, the magnets usually get knocked out of place. It means that the sensor will have a hard time working because the magnets are already too far.
The best solution for this is to get a flathead screwdriver and push the disc to the sensor. There are times when the magnet disc gets knocked out and becomes wobbly. You can use simple tools to slide it back to its original place.
Electric Three Wheel Bike Maintenance Tips
Electric trikes are extremely convenient since you can go to nearby areas without using your car or motorcycle. But, you need to know how to maintain it. These bikes are more sensitive than regular bikes so you need to be very careful when using them. Here are a few maintenance tips that you can consider if you want your e-trikes to always be in tip-top condition.
1. Clean it Regularly
The main reason why you need to clean your bike regularly is to prevent dirt, debris, and dust from messing up your motor. Always remember that your e-trike is different from a regular bike since it already has a lot of moving parts.
Cleaning the e-trike will also guarantee that the moving parts won’t grind against each other. When cleaning it, make sure that you don’t use any stream of water or pressurized hose. There is a lot of electric equipment around the bike so it’s not advisable to use it. You can use a low-pressure stream or you can just wipe your bike with a wet rag.
Cleaning your bike should be done once or twice every week depending on the frequency of use.
2. Lubricate the Moving Parts
It’s great that you’re cleaning your e-trike, but you need to lubricate the moving parts as well. You are trying to avoid friction as it would damage the moving parts. You can use lubricants to keep the mechanicals functioning properly.
You can look for a cleaning solution to remove the dirt and dust from the chains before you apply the lubricant. Lubricating your bike should be done at least once every week.
3. Check for Loose Screws
Make it a habit to check the bolts and screws of the bike before you ride. It won’t take too much of your time. You just have to go over the screws and bolts and make sure that they are in place. Remember not to tighten the bolts too much.
4. Look at the Tire Pressure
The pressure on the tires is very important as it would affect the performance of the trike. By looking at the side of the tires, you can already tell if it’s flat or not.
You can also use a pressure gauge to determine if the tires need more air. If the pressure is too low, the tires will sink when you push your finger. If the pressure is too high, the tires might blow up while you are driving.
5. Always Check the Brake Pads
This is a very important maintenance tip that you need to do before you go out and drive the e-trike. Even if you’re driving a three-wheeled electric bike, losing your brakes while driving will cause serious injuries to you.
The best thing to do is to check your brake pads every week to see if they are still good or they are too worn up for a ride. They are very cheap so don’t be afraid to replace them.
6. Take Care of your Battery
The battery is one of the most susceptible to damage. It is also the part that requires maintenance since its efficiency decreases as you use the e-tryke. You need to know how to properly charge the battery. If the instruction says that you need to charge it for eight hours, then you should charge it for 8 straight hours.
Improper charging can lead to damage and it will wear out your battery faster. Battery replacements are very expensive so you should maintain them and use them as much as you can.
Just like the other modes of transportation, electric three wheel bikes also have a fair share of problems. But, the solutions are pretty straightforward. You can do it on your own or you can bring it to an e-bike store near you and let the professionals handle the repairs.
Getting a top-quality electric bike is a must if you want to make sure that all of the parts would last for a long time. Repairs cannot be avoided completely, but if you are using a high-quality e-bike and you know how to maintain it, your bike will last for a long time without needing any repairs.
Check out our full line of exciting electric three wheel bikes. We have models for single, dual, and three riders. https://www.ebikejoy.com/collections/electric-trikes
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