As the tornado of inflation roars through Europe and the new season hits our pockets, we’ll try to let you in on a few secrets to saving money. How to avoid running to an electric scooter workshop when your scooter gets broken. How can you troubleshoot the fault yourself, maybe even repair it.
Electric scooters have been on the roads and pavements for a few years now, but are still a relatively new vehicle. Being new, it has all sorts of faults, problems and shortcomings. Of course, no matter how many problems a scooter may have, it is still one of the cheapest vehicles, when one charge of a battery costs about 10ct, a cheaper vehicle might be a bicycle or shoes.
So, in this review, we will look at the problems and solutions of the most popular electric scooters and touch on the following topics:
- Tyres/inner tubes for electric scooters, maintenance>>
- Errors and error codes for electric scooters>>
- Electric scooter stops turning on after winter>>
- Decreased acceleration of an electric scooter>>
- El. scooter brake problems>>
- Electric scooter unbalancing, vibration>>
Tyre problems for electric scooters
If you’ve owned an electric scooter for more than a year, you must have experienced a flat tyre. Of course, this problem is not very acute if your scooter has a tyre height of more than 2 inches, the fitting is easy and quick enough, and the problem is not very frequent, mostly when you run over a sharp object.
If your scooter has a tyre height of 2 inches or less, welcome to the tyre change marathon where the most frugal participants pay the most.
Imagine if you bought a Xiaomi electric scooter, rode it for half a year, and then the tyre tube pops. Since you’re not afraid of challenges and you like to save money, you decided to buy a inner tube for your xiaomi scooter and change it yourself. So, you have the inner tube, you start dismantling, the wheel is off – it’s all according to plan.
And then with a screwdriver or a spoon (customers use this tool, I didn’t come up with it myself) you try to remove the tyre, with no success at all. One side seems to be already removed, when you try to remove the other side, the tyre is put back on the rim. The tyre is full of rubber chips. During the fitting, you keep thinking what black magic is going on here and how did someone put that tyre on in the first place. If the damn inner tube was eventually replaced, the rim is guaranteed to be all scratched up, just like after an accident. And the irony is that this is not the end of the problem. After a week or two, you might get a puncture and have to replace the inner tube again, but this time you’ll have a bit of experience.
This is the story that our customers tells and tells, year after year, but the story remains the same. So the fundamental question is why:
It all starts with the tyre not maintaining the correct tyre pressure (3.5 BAR or more). Low pressure causes the inner sidewall of the tyre to wear, turning the rubber into rubber dust. In other words, when the rubber layer is worn away, you are left with what is popularly known as a tyre cord. Which, so to speak, wears down the inner tube until it eventually bursts. Even if you put in a new inner tube, it’s only a matter of time before you need to replace it again, often within the same week.
What could be the solutions
- Regularly check tyre pressure, inflate to at least 3.5 BAR (atmospheres). Replace both the tube and tyre in case of a puncture. Use a pump that has no air leaks. As the tyre volume is very small, some of the air in the tyre may escape when the pump is removed, so it is better to use a pump or a valve adapter that does not leak any air. Our recommended valve adapter here
- It is possible to fit solid tyres and deny the practicality and existence of inflatable tyres. The solution is very tempting in principle, because investing a little more money will give you a definitive break from flat tyre problems, at least for 3-5 years. 3-5 years, because rubber wears out, it doesn’t last forever, so it may need to be replaced at some point. But the fact is that you can save up to €100 a year on tyre replacement/repairs. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it seems, filling the tyre with rubber instead of air severely reduces comfort. Every unevenness of the pavement can be felt when riding on a morally and otherwise outdated pavement, and the joints of the scooter need to be maintained, as the vibrations cause the screws to loosen, and we recommend applying a specialised screw adhesive to them:
If not taken care of, you may need to visit an electric scooter repair shop.
The higher the height of a solid tyre, the more comfort you will have. Electric scooter solid tyres here
- Fitting 10-inch pneumatic tyres is our recommended solution. The plus points are:
– The higher tyre profile automatically results in a softer ride, less vibration, and healthier for you and the components of the electric scooter. The difference is clear.
– Higher tyre profile means the tyre is more impact resistant and less sensitive to road surfaces than the 8.5″ original tyre. You are less likely to puncture a tyre, and in practice the tire sidewalls do not wear, unless you drive on a completely flat tyre. Personally, I’ve already driven 3000km and never had to change a tyre or inner tube.
– Increased real speed of the scooter, as the higher the tyre, the higher the speed.
– The 10-inch tyres are easy to fit and remove.
– Tyre inner tubes can be the same, no need to change.
The downsides would be:
– 10″ tyres are more expensive than the original 8.5″ tyres.
– Additional modification kit required, higher tyre requires raising the rear mudguard and extending the kick stand.
– In general, the retrofitting itself can be quite difficult, as there is a rear mudguard LED wire connection at the front of the rear wheel, which needs to be either glued to the frame of the scooter, or the wires need to be lengthened and threaded through a different location. With a 10″ tyre on the rear, there is very little space between the tyre and the frame. If you find repairing electric scooters a serious challenge, then I would recommend taking your scooter to a repair shop.
All in all, this is the best choice in terms of price and quality. Even the new Xiaomi PRO 4 scooter is already available with 10″ tyres. So far, the most durable 10-inch tyres are from Xuancheng. 10 inch tyres here.
Errors and error codes for electric scooters
Most electric scooters have fault detection systems, with various sensors that can detect any fault or problem in the electronics. This is indeed a very good and thoughtful decision by electric scooter manufacturers. Xiaomi and Ninebot pioneered these systems. This really makes life easier for both scooter owners and electric scooter technicians. It would be really difficult to detect a fault if the e-scooter. the level of sophistication of a scooter would be the same as that of a microwave.
Most electric scooters have more serious dashboards that show speed, battery level etc. At the same time, an error code, say E11, E15 or simply 15, is displayed in the event of a fault. However, the scooter can also beep to alert you to a fault in the system. Also Xiaomi M365 and ESSENTIAL models do not have such a dashboard, so the error code can be detected by beeping, in other words they will beep the error codes with long and short signals. If the first error signal is long, it sets the first error code number, followed by short signals which set the next error code number.
For example: your scooter beeps like this – one long beep and four short beeps, in which case the error code is 14.
Electric scooter stops turning on after winter
A fairly common problem at the beginning of the season. Most electric scooter batteries are made from 18650 lithium-ion cells. For example, the Xiaomi M365 or 1S scooter battery is made of 30 18650 cells. Each can be charged up to MAX 4.2V, with a safe MIN discharge level of up to 2-3V. This means that if your battery reaches a certain battery discharge voltages (2-3V), the battery management system (BMS) switches off, which stops the scooter from turning on.
The battery BMS of electric scooters such as Xaiomi and Nienebot have an indicator light. If the light is flashing blue, the battery is fine. If you are flashing red, then all is not well – a fault. If there is no signal, the BMS may have switched off.
Each such battery has a reset button on its BMS controller, e.g:
After removing the battery from the scooter, it should be disassembled so that the reset button is accessible. The battery should be connected to the charger in some way and the reset button pressed until the BMS indicator light comes on. Fully charge the scooter battery, the scooter should work once the battery is back in.
If this problem recurs frequently or if the reset has not helped you and the battery shows no life, red light or no light, we recommend you visit a service centre for electric scooter repairs. You may not need to replace the whole battery, but you may need to replace the BMS or a few battery cels.
Decreased acceleration of an electric scooter
Acceleration and range can be reduced on an electric scooter for several reasons:
Due to cold, when the temperature drops. In battery cells, an electrochemical reaction takes place during the energy release process, and I won’t go into too much detail here, but this chemical reaction slows down by 30-60% when it gets colder. So it’s not surprising that the distance travelled by a scooter is halved, if not more.
Worn battery cells. Nothing lasts forever and the battery cells of an electric scooter can wear out. Maybe not all at once, but wear and tear on one or two of the cells can severely reduce both acceleration and the distance the scooter can travel. This is one of the more difficult repairs for electric scooters, as it requires disassembling the glued and soldered battery.
Battery Management System (BMS) failure. Most of the time, the battery BMS boards fail so that the scooter does not start anymore, but there are also cases where there is a fault, but the scooter still runs for a while. In this case you need to check the battery, if the battery BMS indicator light is flashing blue, then the BMS is OK, if it is flashing red, then you may need to replace the battery BMS.
El. scooter Brake problems
The most common problem with an electric scooter not stopping is poorly adjusted brakes. But in essence, the reasons could be:
Brakes out of adjustment – in this case either the brakes have never been adjusted or the pads are minimally worn, in which case the cable needs to be tensioned. You can also try adjusting the brake pads at the same time.
Worn pads – if adjusting the cable didn’t help, you may have worn brake pads, the condition can be seen with the naked eye, you can see what new ones look like here.
Skewed brake block – if the brakes are adjusted and the pads are new, but the problem is still there, the brake block may be skewed. In this case, you should loosen the screws on the brake caliper, press the brakes down to adjust the caliper to the disc and screw the screws back in. And then adjust the cable and pads, making sure the pads/brakes are adjusted before applying the brake.
Bent brake disc – Scooters are not always ridden, sometimes they have to be carried, and when carrying them over kerbs, you often end up tripping over something, like the brake disc. The brake disc is quite thin and flexes quickly, making it really difficult to adjust the brakes properly. It’s very easy to check if the brake disc is straight by simply turning the wheel and seeing if the disc “wobbles”. If it “wobbles” then the brake disc needs to be replaced.
Electric scooter unbalancing, vibration
The causes of this problem are very clear, either loose screws or worn metal.
Just check your scooter to see which areas are sticking or not working as they should. Check the screws to see if they are loose or not, if so, loosen the screws, lubricate them with screw glue and then tighten them back.
If the problem still persists, it may be that the metal has worn away in some places, a good example is the folding mechanism on the Xaiomi scooter:
The parts have worn out and there’s not much you can do about it, except to compensate for the wear and tear, for example with a rubber gasket, which can be seen here.
In summary, you can save money by knowing your vehicle and its factory defects. The good news is that, thanks to healthy competition, every manufacturer of electric scooters is releasing an improved model every year, with factory defects – or, in common parlance, problems fixed. Progress is clear.
If you need a scooter repair, we are always on hand to help you, either by phone or on site.