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Is Your Electric Scooter Motor Not Working?

Imagine this: You’re about to leave your house for work, you hop on your electric scooter, and the motor short circuits. What a terrible way to start the day, right? We hope you never have to go through this experience. But it can’t hurt to be prepared for such an event nonetheless.

Begin by looking for any signs of visible damage to the motor, battery, and controller. Test the components with a multimeter to make sure they’re receiving enough power. If push comes to shove, you may need to replace the motor or bring it to a shop for maintenance.

The motor of your electric scooter might seem a bit intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with how motors work. However, you can do some basic maintenance yourself with knowledge of the basics and some elbow grease. Let’s take a look at how scooter motors function and what to do if yours isn’t performing as it should.

How an Electric Scooter Motor Works

Changing a wheel on an electric scooter

Electric scooter motors can be quite complex, so we’ll cover the basics and simplify things. For starters, some scooters have motors inside the deck that connect to the wheels through gears and chains. Other models have motors integrated into the wheels, creating a more robust design.

Generally speaking, the motor listens for input from the controller. When you hit the throttle button, the electric controller sends a signal to the engine to start running. The motor will draw energy from the battery to begin producing acceleration.

The exact specifications of an electric scooter motor will depend on its type; brushed or brushless. Both of these devices use direct currents from the battery, making them DC motors. The most common electric scooter motor is a brushless DC gearless hub motor.

Brushed DC Motors

Nowadays, most electric scooters use a brushless DC motor. Brushed DC motors are generally less effective and outdated. However, it can be beneficial to understand this technology to further understand electric scooter motors.

Brushed DC motors have permanent magnets on the outside of their structure, with a spinning armature on the interior. The stationary magnets are known as the stator. The armature contains an electromagnet and is called the rotor.

The rotor will spin 180-degrees when an electric current is run to the armature. To rotate any further, the poles of the electromagnet need to flip. As the rotor spins, the brushes make contact with the magnets, flipping the magnetic field and allowing the device to spin a full 360-degrees.

Brushless DC Motors

Typically, if you purchase a new electric scooter these days, it will have a brushless DC motor. This motor design is an improvement over its brushed counterpart. Brushless motors have an efficiency rating around 85-90%, while brushed motors rate around 75-80%.

Brushless DC motors are essentially the inverse of their brushed counterparts. The permanent magnets are on the rotor itself, and the electromagnets are on the stator, eliminating the need for brushes flipping the electromagnetic field. These motors use a computer to charge the electromagnets to rotate the rotor a full 360-degrees.

How to Fix an Electric Scooter Motor

Now you know a bit about the basics of electric scooter motors. However, you may still be at a complete loss on how to fix one. Here are some of the troubleshooting methods available to you:

Examine the Motor

The first part of the troubleshooting process is to carefully inspect the motor. Look for any signs of loose wires or wire connectors. Gently tighten each wire and connector so they won’t come loose when riding. If you find something that looks burned or melted, that’s an indicator of an overheating motor.

When parts start to melt or degrade, they can short circuit and cause the motor to malfunction. You may need to replace the motor entirely or just the melting bits.

Inspect Your Battery and Charger

The battery and charger need to be in working order for the motor to work correctly. Inspect the physical elements of your battery. Look for any signs of visible damage or wear and tear. Rough terrain, harsh riding habits, and exposure to the elements can damage your scooter’s battery.

You should also check the charger. Test your electric scooter charger by plugging it into a power outlet. Do the lights come on? Your charger may be defective if the indicator lights aren’t working properly. You can also use a multimeter, like the AstroAI 2000 (on Amazon), to test the charger’s voltage.

Inspect Any Fuses and the Circuit Breaker

Some electric scooter models use a fuse or circuit breaker. If your model uses a fuse, check inside to determine whether or not it’s burned out. If your model uses a circuit breaker, you may need to push it on or flip the reset switch. You can also use a multimeter to determine if they’re working adequately or not.

Examine the Throttle

You may need to test your electric scooter’s throttle. Use a 4.5-5V DC power source and multimeter to test your throttle. You may need to consult your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to determine the specifics on how to test the device.

However, if your throttle reads less than 4V DC output, it may be defective.

Inspect the Speed Controller

You should also inspect the speed controller of your electric scooter. Look for any visible damage to the wires or connectors. If you don’t see any physical damage, you should test all the electrical components around the speed controller with a multimeter.

Test the Brake Lever Switch

You may need to test your scooter’s brake lever switch. The brake lever switch tells your speed controller to turn off when applied. If this component wears out, it will stay in the on position, causing malfunctions.

Disconnect the switch from your model’s controller, and try to operate your scooter as normal. If it runs smoothly with the switch disconnected, the switch is the problem and it should be replaced immediately.

Test the Power or Ignition Switch

You should also test the power or key switch on your electric scooter. Move the power or key switch between on and off several times. Check to see if the switch or connectors are loose. Look for any physical damage.

Is there no positive snappy feel? Unfortunately, your switch may be defective. You can also use a multimeter to see if the component is receiving enough voltage.

How to Replace an Electric Scooter Motor

If the troubleshooting steps above didn’t work, you might have to replace your electric scooter motor entirely. The process varies between models and brands. However, here are some general guidelines to get you started for a rear hub motor:

  1. Ensure that the scooter and MCB are turned off.
  2. Cover all loose connections with insulation tape.
  3. Safely store all covered screws.
  4. Unplug motor connections in the junction box.
  5. Remove protective covers from both sides of the scooter.
  6. Remove wheel after loosening all screws.
  7. Replace the rear hub motor following all manufacturer instructions and guidelines.
  8. Reconnect all the screws, protective covers, and connections. Remove any insulation tape. Power on the MCB and scooter as normal.

If you aren’t particularly tech-savvy or experienced in this area, it may be better to leave this job to the professionals. As always, practice proper safety measures before beginning any project.

Electric Scooter Motor Maintenance Tips

Changing a wheel on an electric scooter

The motor is one of the most essential parts of any scooter. This means it needs special attention, care, and maintenance to function properly in the long term. You can cause damage to your vehicle and shorten its lifespan if you don’t take care of your motor or if you push it beyond its limits.

Here are some tips for proper motor maintenance:

Check the Connections

As mentioned earlier, loose connections and physical damage can cause your motor to short circuit. To avoid this, regularly check the connections to determine if anything has come loose or suffered damage. You can do this before your commutes, weekly, monthly, etc.

Avoid Humidity and Water

You should store your electric scooter away from humidity, harsh weather conditions, and water. Although some of the components are sure to be weather resistant, these elements can cause damage over time.

If your motor gets wet, be sure to dry it off when you get the chance or after your commute.

Clean the Motor Regularly

Cleaning your electric scooter motor is part of the maintenance process. Clean it frequently, following the guidelines from your manufacturer or owner’s manual. Never use running water or leave the scooter on while cleaning.

Have a Professional Examination

Although much of the maintenance process can be done at home, having a professional look at your vehicle every now and then is a good idea. Take your scooter into the shop at least once a year for a full service.

You can also go bi-yearly or quarterly if you’re more concerned about your ride.


Electric scooter motors are a vital component of the vehicle. Without the motor, you’re not going to be able to travel very far. That’s why proper maintenance and care are crucial to your scooter’s longevity. Be sure to inspect the physical elements regularly for damage or loose connections.

Avoid damage from the elements and clean the motor according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. And for the best results, have your electric scooter serviced by a technician at least once a year.

If you follow all these steps, you can substantially extend the lifespan of your motor and electric scooter.