In conjunction with The Electric Transport Shop’s electric bike servicing, maintenance and repairs guide, this is a quick checklist for fault-finding if you should find yourself at the side of a road with a problem.
Roadside troubleshooting and fault checks for electric bikes
On an e-bike with e-components that work beautifully together and have the capabilities for the intended use, the average fault rate should be lower than 1% over 12 months and lower than 3% over 3 years, other factors aside.
Many e-bikes are used outside of their capabilities and this is where faults occur and the need for repairs or alterations arise.
Sometimes an apparent fault is simply a need to understand the product a little better.
So what happens and how can you deal with it if you don’t live near to a skilled electric bike shop?
- No power (lights off) – check the battery is charging and charged, check the battery fuse, check connections. If none of the above it may be your control unit or display depending on the model. Check if the battery has entered sleep mode by connecting it to your charger firstly off the bike and then on the bike, switched off then switched on – exact method depending on models.
- No power (lights on) – check the return on your e-brakes, check connections to your motor, then connections to your interface (display/throttle) and PAS sensor, if speed/cadence sensor (PAS) check that your PAS system is clean and correctly positioned, check for loose wires.
- Power cut-out – check e-brake return, check battery contacts and if black check lock in tolerance, check connections. Before seeking help try to notice exactly when the cut-out occurs, i.e. on a long hill, on a short steep hill, how many miles from last charge, after a bump, immediately after stopping or slowing.
- Battery not charging – check the charging fuse, check the charger fuse, check the power supply, connect directly to a wall socket on a ring without high consumption appliances such as washing machines, don’t use long extension power cables.
- Motor noise – roll backwards to see if the same noise occurs, cycle without power to see if the same noise is still there; check connections especially if you have removed a component recently. Check for sources of friction behind the brake pads and around the wheel.
- Motor resistance – ensure motor wheel is mounted correctly, check brakes are disengaging and set up correctly, check for sources of friction, disengage power and see if resistance persists, roll the bike backwards with the power on – you may have a sticky/rusty clutch especially if you’ve driven through flood water (not advised).