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How to build your own children's pedal cars?

Updated April 17, 2017

Kids do not need to wait until their late teens for their first car. Building a pedal car is not only a good way to focus your child's energy, but a good time to bond with them, too. It is also a lot of fun. Pedal cars come in many forms and give you a great opportunity to let your creativity shine.

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  1. Fit the front wheels first. A pedal car steers with the rear wheels so the front wheels are static. Attach the rear wheels to the rear axle.

  2. Attach the seat. Get your child to sit in the frame and find a comfortable position for them. All their power will come from the body pushing from the seat. Now you can measure where the pedals and steering wheel need to be.

  3. Draw lines from where each front wheel touches the ground to the centre point of the axle. Find a point around six inches (15cm) down each line. The steering will be linked from here and these will be linked with swivels. Swivels keep the wheels on track.

  4. Drop the steering column through the cycle drop tube in the frame. Position your child in the seat and attach the steering arm at an angle and distance comfortable for them. The angle will be around 90 degrees to the cycle drop tube.

  5. Assemble the driving mechanism from the bicycle transmission system. Attach a five-speed freewheel to one end of a lay shaft. Attach a cog in line with your rear wheels. Next attach a bike chain to the freewheel and the cog. Attach the pedals to the freewheel and make sure they are a comfortable distance for your child.

  6. Attach the brakes. Use the shortest possible cables while mounting the caliper brakes on the rear wheels.

  7. Build the bodywork from wood or other sturdy fabrics you feel comfortable using. The overall design is up to you or your child, but ensure the design is safe, well-built and visible to other road users. The bodywork also must not interfere with the working of the car.

  8. Tip

    Get your child involved in designing the bodywork. This can be a project for them when you are fixing all the other details in steps 1 to 5. Go-kart steering wheels make excellent choices for pedal cars.


    Forward momentum makes it dangerous to mount the brakes on the front wheels. Test the rear brakes and make sure your design is secure before letting your child use it. Keep the pedal car well maintained.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pre-made Pedal Car Frame
  • Four bicycle wheels
  • High-backed seat
  • Bicycle Transmission System

About the Author

Mark Wollacott began writing professionally in 2009. He has freelanced for "Kansai Time Out" and "Kansai Scene" magazines and he has also worked for Travelocity and the Austin Post, writing about travel, business and technology. Wollacott has a Bachelor of Arts in ancient history and archaeology from the University of Wales.

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