How To Fix Non-Working GeoTrax Vehicles

When the Engine Lights Up But Doesn’t Run, or The Little Engine That Wouldn’t

If you have a GeoTrax train engine (or other remotely controlled vehicle) that seemingly has given up the ghost, you know how frustrating it can be both for you and your child. The toy that once chugged around the track now just sits there when you push the handle on the remote controller.

Whether the train is one you’ve had for some time or is one you recently acquired on Amazon, eBay, UniSquare, OnlineAuctions, or elsewhere, the problem and solution are the same.

There are several steps to take in trying to fix an immobile train. Let’s take a look at them in order.

Fix-It Step #1 –  Better Batteries 

Especially if the train won’t even light up, replace the current set of batteries both in the train itself and in the remote controller. If you put in new batteries fairly recently, you might be able to skip this step.

If, when you open the battery compartments, you see any signs of corrosion, use a little vinegar to get rid of as much of it as possible. If the points at which the batteries touch the metal contacts are clear, you’re probably okay.

When you insert the batteries, make sure you put them in the proper direction. As far as I know, the trains and remotes are all clearly marked. (That hasn’t stopped me from putting them in backwards on occasion though.)

Fix-It Step #2 –  Steady Ready Light 

If the “ready” light on the vehicle won’t shine or doesn’t shine consistently, try loosening the screws just a bit. I’m not sure why, but sometimes fully tightening them causes the contacts inside to fail or to work intermittently.

Once the light is steady and the remote controller seems fine, you’re ready for the final big (and somewhat surprising) step.

Fix-It Step #3 –  Wham! Bam! Slam! 

What you’re about to read may at first shock you. You might think I’m joking, but I’m totally serious. I’ve tried this method several times and almost always have had success.

Get a piece of corrugated cardboard (or material of similar thickness and strength) and lay it on a flat surface. The floor, whether carpeted or not, might be best.

Grab your troublesome train (with batteries inserted) along the top, opposite the wheels and slam it down on the cardboard good and hard.

Seriously! It won’t break. These are really tough toys.

Then test the remote controller to see if the train now moves. If it doesn’t, try another slam. Be careful not to hurt your hand (as I’ve done). Sometimes a slam on the train’s side seems to help.

If the train still won’t go after a few slams, you may have to give up on it, but this will probably be a rare case. I think this has only happened to me once in ten tries. I’ve had trains I was ready to give up on after a couple of dozen slams, and then they suddenly start to work!

Keep in mind that these trains still work fine as push vehicles, even if the remote motion fails.

As a commenter on the blog mentioned, you might try tapping with a hammer instead of actually slamming the engine. These are tough toys, but I’d be even more careful with a hammer than I am with slamming. A decent arm and hammer have more power behind them than you might think.

Apparently (see comment below from December 28, 2022), sometimes putting the engine into a pillow case (or the equivalent) and swinging it around – be sure you have enough room! – can bring it back to life. I have no idea why this would work, but it’s sure worth a try.

Why Does Step #3 Work?

This is only a guess, but I think this fix-it method works because the moving parts inside a train just get stuck and need to be loosened. A good, solid slam apparently does the trick almost all the time.

I have never tried to open up an engine to look for the problem inside. I’m no mechanic or electrician, so what I might find in there probably wouldn’t tell me anything anyway.

What If the Remote Controller Doesn’t Work?

If your remote controller won’t make any sounds, either on its own or when inserted into the Tracktown Railway Depot (for earlier remotes), you probably have a dead remote.

Sadly, for this I have no fix. I have encountered this situation and have decided just to throw out the remote controller and keep the train for pushing by hand.

In the comments below, Esther has this suggestion: Cut the blue and brown and white wires that are connected to the rev:02 part. Tape the ends of the wires. Then close the controller.

I have not needed to try this, so I don’t know if it works. As I’ve mentioned, only very rarely is the controller the source of the problem.

If you found this helpful, consider a small donation to the cause.

Thank you for your donation, Kathy D. and Matt G.!

360 thoughts on “How To Fix Non-Working GeoTrax Vehicles”

  1. I seriously cannot believe this worked, but it did! Thank you so much! All 3 of our engines stopped working and this got 2 of them going again. Just about to toss, but so happy to have for another season. Thanks again!

    1. Cool! Glad to hear of another GeoTrax engine problem solved.

      Don’t give up on the third one too soon. I’ve had to slam an engine dozens of times in a few cases.

      Also, if you haven’t tried this, give it a slam on either or both sides, as opposed to the bottom, wheel side. That seems to work just as well and doesn’t hurt as much.

      1. OK, let me say I first thought #3 was just silly, but dang if it didn’t work!! I believe it may be bumping some dust or build-up off of the optical receiver. I didn’t know about the trick to see if the remote was working using the phone camera and that worked too! I have to believe it has something to do with that receiver since I did take it all apart and found no mechanical issues. Thanks for the help!!

          1. Thank you Step 3 worked!! My 5 year old was so happy to see his train working! So grateful you took the time to put this site out there for mommas like me!

        1. Awesome. Thanks! Haven’t used the toys since 2005! Grand baby now playing with the literally 1000 piece sets my son once played with. Got 2 engines working and have 20 more to slam!

          1. Gary Sonnenberg

            Take it easy! Wear gloves or use a rubber hammer. Or maybe try the new method of swinging in the pillowcase.


      2. Do you know were I can buy a Remote control my grandson cat someone’s train sad from like 10 years ago it’s the polar express and there is no remote so I am on the hunt looking at you know of any place I can order it thank you

          1. Gary Sonnenberg

            There are a couple that do crossover, but in general, no. You have to have the corresponding remote for the train you have.

      3. Thank you so much for the suggestion to slam the train on the floor. I never would have thought to be aggressive with it, but our completely frozen train magically started working again after several years of being in storage. Thank you!

    2. It is now 2020, this post is a few years old. So glad I stumbled upon it and managed to fix my kids engine (befire transfering to their young cousin. The tip of loosening the screws on the engine helped with getting the light on, but still didnt make the engine move. I also loosened the screws on the bottom of the engine, where the wheel the drives the engine forward is. And now it is moving. Thank you all for the tips and I hope my addition may help someone else.

        1. Hi, I have just embarked on the mission of sorting our 5 trains. Since your last post: have you come across any solutions how to fix a dead remote control? Thank you

          1. Gary Sonnenberg

            Ewa, I don’t mean to sound snarky, but it depends on what’s wrong with it, doesn’t it? If you can find someone who knows how those inner bits work (not me), maybe they can fix it for you.

    3. After developing a large set of GEO trains about 18 years ago for my son, I was very depressed because none of the engines worked today as I am building a set up for my grandson. I was lucky to find this chat about step 3. After a few banging each engine on a padded table, 3 ENGINES HAVE COME BACK TO LIFE.
      Thank you so much.
      Grateful PaPa. 1/17/2024

  2. Do you happen to know if there is a way to “add” a remote to an existing vehicle? I have a set that came with three vehicles and only one remote, and can’t find matching remotes for them (except at exorbitant prices!)


    1. I’m not sure what you mean by “adding” a remote exactly. As far as I know, the only remote that will work with a given vehicle is one from the same set. That is, any Tracktown Railway (for example) remote with work with any Tracktown Railway engine. But a Tracktown Railway remote will not work with a Lightning McQueen car.

      Rather than continue this conversation on the Fix It page, please use the Contact page to let me know what you need.

      1. There may be more problems than just the gear itself. I would look for a whole new engine. It would probably save you some trouble in the long run.

  3. How could this be possible I don’t know, but it truly worked like a charm. I tried rule number 3 slamming the Toy Story 3 train in a cardboard once or twice then pressed the remote and “Voila” the engine is working like first day. Thanks

      1. Deborah Thurston

        Thank you so much! I am on my second grandchild with this trains set and it sat in a box for a couple of years between kids. I thought it was a goner!
        Slamming a few times worked! I wish you could see the look on my 3 year old’s face. Pure joy! Thanks again, Deb

  4. I’m a grandma where grandsons (far apart) have loved these trains. But the last time I got them out, 3 of the 4 trains didn’t work!
    Your fix did the trick!
    Amazing what you can find when you google a simple question!

  5. I was Trying to get track working for my nephew and found this online. I thought step three was crazy but it worked for both my train and fire engine! Thank you!

      1. WackyConductor

        Worked for me! 0/2 running. First one worked after the first smack wheels down. Second one needed a couple hits on the sides too. 2/2 running, Thank You!

  6. we rolled with laughter when we read your wham bam slam method but thank goodness…it worked! One happy boy! Thank you!

  7. I just did this and the wham, bam, slam method fixed two cars that were not running! The remotes worked (sounds) and the light on the cars came on but would not roll. One of them ran after one slam and the other one took a few times but is now running perfectly!

    Strange but true!!!

    1. Lindsay Adams

      Me too! I almost threw three engines away, but after a few good slams they started to work! Thats amazing.

  8. Thanks for this tip! We just acquired a huge bin full of tracks and trains/cars– the bam-slam method worked!!! Now on to figure out what pieces go together 🙂

  9. Gary (not the owner)

    Wow. 2 bangs did it for us. I even took it all apart before hand to find nothing out of the ordinary, then found this post and gave it a drop then a moderate slam onto carpet and it started working!

    As for testing the remote, it’s infrared. You can turn on your phone’s camera and look at the screen with the camera lens pointed at the remote and see the IR emitter light up when you push the handle. If that doesn’t work, try your TV remote or one you know works to make sure your camera does this. Weird huh?

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the information on the remote. That piece normally isn’t a problem, but it’s good to know what you can try if needed.

  10. There is a solution for the dead controllers. If you open the controller there are a lot of wires.
    If you cut the blue and brown and white wires that are connected to the rev:02 part. tape the ends of the wires. Then close the controller. It worked with us.
    I have some pics if you want.

    1. Thanks for the great information, Esther.

      If you have pictures that you can link to from here, that would be cool.

      1. I would like these pictures too. Would love my boy to stop crying about his “new” train that doesn’t work. He just cries and cries. And it breaks my heart how happy he was when I brought it home.

      1. Hi Sara,

        I don’t know if Esther will return to see your post.

        Are you sure it’s the control that is the problem and the not engine? The control very rarely is the problem.

        1. Hi my grandkids have the same set and the remotes do not work. I have three trains that work but no controllers. I would like to see the pictures when you cut the wires to repair the controller. Anything you can provide is greatly appreciated.
          Papa Gene

          1. Hi Gene,

            First, for the “same set” that you mention, it’s probably the trains (not the remotes) that are the problem. If you haven’t done so yet, try the fix mentioned above.

            Second, I’m not sure how you know that the other 3 trains work if you don’t have controllers for them.

            Finally, I have never mentioned cutting any wires. (Perhaps someone else did.) For more information on this, I would suggest visiting the GeoTrax Packs Community on Facebook where there are members who may be able to answer this question.


    1. If the RC makes noise and the light on the engine (or car) works, don’t give up. Keep slamming until they work or until you get too tired to try anymore. Slam on the left and right sides. That seems to work even better than when upright.

      If the light doesn’t work, even with new batteries, you can stop. Sometimes they do really die.

      1. A few times after you slam the engine, (especially when the light is still on and you’ve slammed for hours) sometimes just pushing the engine across the tracks or a smooth surface works as well. Worked for me, anyway!

        1. A slight twist on the standard formula. Good to hear that it works. A shining light on the engine is important.

  11. Any suggestion for the airplane? Ours stopped responding six years ago when we moved. Lights come on both the plane and the remote but no response.

    1. Hi Stacy,

      Same process really. The trouble is that there’s no flat surface like on an engine. Do the best you can but don’t hurt yourself. Maybe hold it in a towel or something while slamming.

      Sometimes loosening the screw on the battery compartment helps on these planes.

    1. Hi Mandy,

      I’m no electronics expert, but I don’t think there is. At least, it wouldn’t be easy. Someone else may know otherwise.

      The easiest thing to do, if you need a remote for a particular train, is to buy a new (used) one.

  12. Our geotrax have been packed for a few years. My boys hauled them all
    Out but we could only get half the trains working. Your slam, bam method worked wonders on the others. Thank you so much!!

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

    Unbelievable but number 3 did it! I’m so glad! One thing even i can fix 😉

    Thanks a lot, from Belgium

    1. Hi Tony,

      It does happen once in a while that slamming doesn’t work. To have 2 of them would be really unusual.

      I assume you also did Steps 1 and 2.

      If you haven’t tried slamming each on their sides (both left and right), give that a shot too. If you really can’t get them going, even after dozens of tries, it’s time to get a new train.

  14. OH my goodness!!! It works now!!! We got the GeoTrax Christmas train for my daughter when she was 1. Last Christmas it wouldn’t work so the little ones just pushed it. son is 2 now and just saw the train in our storage building. Anyway…I pulled it out and he was just thrilled but it still wasn’t working UNTIL I found you! I cannot thank you enough! Why don’t they make these sets anymore?!?!

    1. Hi Nicole,

      What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

      Who knows why Fisher-Price decided to discontinue these cool toys. They do have what I consider a replacement in their EZ-Play line, but I don’t think they are as good as GeoTrax. The new line doesn’t have remote controllers!

  15. I have the christmas train and it gets stuck on 3 parts of the track (mostly the up hill and down hill) like it falls off the track any suggestions. Otherwise this is the coolest thing I have ever seen.

    1. Hi Denise,

      I guess just make sure your tracks are put together correctly and tightly. That’s all I can think of. Maybe someone else will have better ideas.

      Glad you have found GeoTrax to be so much fun!

  16. Any suggestions- engine works great on flat surfaces but can’t climb the hills. 2 other engines have no problems. All new batteries. Thanks

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Batteries was going to be my suggestion. Sorry, I can’t think of anything else. Maybe someone else here will have an idea.

    2. I have the same problem. The train will not take hills even with brand new expensive batteries. I tried the slam method with no avail. Had another train that would not work even with the slam method. I had bought this one used online. With slamming not working, I opened it up. Was able to use tweezers to pull the carpet, thread, hair, etc from around the running wheel on the bottom. While putting the train back together, two wire came unattached. With that, I gave up. So now I have one that will not work, one that works only on flat surfaces and one that does’t work at all.

    3. I doubt that lady still needs an answer to this, but for anyone else who runs into it… There is a spring on one side of the rear axle. Try to stretch the spring. Compress one side to stretch the other and go the other way trying not to recompress the side you just stretched. It starts wearing down after a while and won’t hold the clutch together, causing a clicking sound sometimes and the lack of climbing ability. I have fully disassembled an engine to inspect for just this reason. The clutch is designed to prevent damage to the plastic gears and I have yet to see gear damage on any engine. The seizure of the engine that you have to bang on it for is the motor itself, not the gearing, so everyone knows. They’re not that difficult for someone who has mechanical understanding. Just need a squeeze type automotive plastic clip removal tool (the pry bar type won’t work) to pop off the wheels and, if necessary, the motor assembly (this is only needed to fully dismantle the gearbox). Smaller needle nose pliers work to hold the tiny motor gear in place during installation of the motor assembly and side circuit board. The axle shafts are easier left in one wheel, but they have to be partially removed to access the last screw in the frame and open it enough to get inside. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I might know. I might not.

  17. Hi there,
    We have 4 trains where the ‘guide’ wheel (the beige wheel on the bottom) spins freely (no resistance when you try to turn it like on the ones that work), like it’s been disconnected from something. We’ve tried slamming, running along carpet, etc., but no luck. I’m thinking if slamming the train helps to free up whatever isn’t moving, then the guide wheel on the bottom would’ve been stuck as well, so not sure if I should even keep trying.
    Does anyone -for whomever the slamming method worked – remember whether their guide wheels were stuck or spun around like ours? Starting to feel a little doomed…

    1. Hi Tammi,

      First, just note that comments require my approval before they are posted. 🙂

      The geared wheel on the bottom should spin freely.

      If you already have new batteries in the engine and the light on top is lit (both of those are important), then just keep trying to slam good and hard.

      If it still doesn’t work after a few dozen attempts from all sides, you may just have to give up and look for a new one. It happens.

  18. I can’t believe #3 worked! 😀
    We’d just setup our Christmas Train around the tree and feared the worst when BAM! Works like new again. Thank you so much!!!

  19. I randomly came across this when searching for answers for non working GeoTrax cars. You are a genius! I was laughing so hard when this worked on both of my cars! So glad I found this! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I don’t know about the genius part, but this is pretty much the go-to site for GeoTrax these days. Glad you found it and that it helped.

  20. What about when the wheels keep slipping and the train struggles to move forward. Any cures for that? I have tried cleaning the wheels and this did help a bit but any other ideas? Is there replacement wheels for when the rubber on them wears out? Thanks

  21. Gary, I just got two out of three trains to work following your steps and step three was the winner. Sadly, can’t get the Christmas train to work. Remote functions, train has light and can hear the motor, but wheels will not move. I’ve been giving it some serious #3. Keep trying? It’s my daughter’s favorite for underneath the tree!

    Thanks though — as you SAVED 2 others!!! SO glad I found this site!

    1. Hi Ann,

      Good to hear some of them are working. If the engine sounds like it’s working inside but the wheels and the gear on the bottom aren’t moving, it sounds to me like a piece is broken inside. If that’s the case, I think you now have a push train. 🙁

      1. Appreciate your insight and that is what I was thinking — but your advice is great and thanks for helping me save 2 of 3. Take care! Ann.

  22. Hi!

    It took some time, but this worked! I put in all fresh batteries and the light was steady on. I was wondering why I didn’t feel any motor resistance when I tried to spin the wheels by hand.

    Then I gave it some good whacks with the bottom of a screwdriver on all sides without luck. I didn’t even hear the motor run. That, and not feeling resistance on the drive wheels worried me. Then I tried running the locomotive on my leg in the forward direction a few times while continuously sending the forward signal from the remote. After a few strokes the engine started turning again! Second locomotive worked exactly the same way.

    I hope this addition helps.

    Thank you very much!

    1. Thank you so much!! I had new batteries in remote and batman car – lights were on but slamming wasn’t making it move. I then read about running it up my leg while the remote was on. I tried it and it WORKED!!!! I’m so excited to try all the other trains we have that light up but don’t move.
      I can’t thank you enough!!!!!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Sometimes a slam will get the light to shine. If not, that’s when I normally consider the train dead and start looking for a replacement.

  23. Step #3 is amazing! It actually worked. I’m sad I didn’t find this solution last year because I got rid of one of our trains that was no longer working. Thank you again!

  24. Wow! I am so glad my Google search found your site. Our Geotrax Christmas train lives another year. Thank you so much.

  25. I’m one of the many who stumbled upon your posts on how to fix this. My issue was just that the batteries had leaked. I tried to scrub the contacts but it never worked. Then I read your suggestion to use vinegar to clean the contacts which had leaked battery content on them. I used a Q-Tip and cleaned all of the contacts and loaded it up with fresh batteries. I gave the remote a push and away went the train! Thank you for maintaining this information.
    I wish FisherPrice would make a new set similar to this one. It’s very cute and the kids love playing with it (again)

    1. Glad the vinegar worked.

      Fisher-Price makes the EZ Play Railway which seems to be their GeoTrax replacement. Many of the 13 or so (currently) sets are very similar to some of the GeoTrax sets. The biggest difference is that there are no remote controls. Personally I think this is not a good thing. I’m also not certain if the tracks are compatible with GeoTrax.

      Someday I may add EZ Play Railway sets to this site.

  26. I am shaking my head and laughing!!! This really worked. I had two that stopped working and was thinking of buying new ones because my grandson loves them. Thanks so much for saving the day!!!!

  27. I can’t believe it worked. Thank you. My 11 year old is very happy. We just set up train around xmas tree. Wow who would have thought of such a high tech solution.

  28. Hi! So I came across this thread to learn more about Geotrax! We bought a huge used set from a garage sale thinking we scored the big jackpot! Well we either completely clueless or have been scammed! Looking to see if you can share some insight! We have 3 remote controls and many train sets but we are unable to figure out how to get the trains to move! There’s nothing that resembles a battery. I have a feeling they gave us the EZ trains not the remote controlled ones. Are you able to give us some advise!? Desperate mom here.

  29. Who would have guessed! We have two trains that haven’t worked for YEARS! Tried step 3 with both of them…IT took a good 6 slams on the cardboard, but both are working like new now. Thank you!!

  30. Thanks to your post, 9 Geotrax trains were brought back to life. I had some corrosion issues due to batteries gone bad. Once I had cleaned them properly and had the red light, they still wouldn’t go. Your #3 suggestion worked like a charm. Thank you again for taking the time to post.

      1. Hi Gary
        This comment is from Trinidad and Tobago
        I restored two geotrax Fischer price trains after battery corrosion .I used your method for one and then to my surprise for the other one after a few seconds delay and the other one came on. Apparently there is a delay for the receiver and transmitter to lock on.

        1. Hi Adesh,

          Normally, the RC works immediately, but I suppose there could be a little delay for some reason sometimes.

          Glad you got yours to work in any case.

  31. Have you gotten any more info on remote controllers that don’t work? I bought the item used and found battery leakage and corrosion in the battery compartment but that seemed to clean up fine with vinegar and elbow grease. Inserted brand new, high quality batteries and still no infrared beam.


    1. Hi Leah,

      I don’t have any more info on this type of thing. I can’t recall having a remote that didn’t work. (It’s usually the engine.) If I would come across one, I would try to buy a replacement instead of trying to repair one. Someone else here may have more information.

  32. I suspect moisture plays a part with the motors becoming stuck during storage. Years ago I read that wrapping electric trains in newspaper instead of plastic would be a better choice because the paper would absorb the moisture better. Makes sense to me. Also remove all batteries when storing any toy trains to prevent battery leakage problems. And sometimes I use rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar to clean battery contact points with a Q-tip and/or a small flat blade screwdriver. Love my Geotrax!

  33. Amazing! #3 worked for me with 5 engines!! I slammed the first one and then switched to a rubber mallet ???? Thanks for the tips!!!

  34. Can’t believe it, but about 7-8 firm hits on the side with a hammer brought my grandchildren’s two engines back to life. How did you come up with this incredible troubleshooting tip? Thanks

  35. Selling a set at a garage sale. My engine wouldn’t run. Thought it was bad batteries, but that didn’t work. Hooked for a fix and found your post. Gave step 3 a try and shore enough it worked. Simply amazed something so simple. I have to admit I had my doubts thinking that maybe this was just a spoof, but it worked like a charm.

  36. I, also, was a skeptic; But this totally worked! I was about to give up on our train, because it still didn’t work after a few good hard whacks. Then I hit it a couple times on the sides also and after letting it sit for a few minutes, IT WORKED! Happy 3 year old. Happy mom! Thank you!

    1. Congratulations, Beth!

      To any other skeptics, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try, as long as you’re careful with your hand or use a rubber hammer (as mentioned in another comment above).

  37. I have one HAPPY 5 year old on my hands. THANKS so much, the slamming fixed not only the used train we just bought through Mercari but the one we had that broke a year ago. Simply amazing 🙂

  38. Thank you for the info. I had 4 trains not working. Thanks to you they are all working now. I also had a remote that wouldn’t work . I thought what the heck nothing ventured nothing gained. I wacked it on the floor a few times and its working also.

  39. Oh my gosh, step three legitimately just worked on Finn McMissile. I could hug you! I thought he was a goner! My kids are going to be thrilled when they get home from school! #whatidowhiletheyreatschool

  40. So I have opened an engine up to figure out the slam method is dropping a gear that is getting stuck (dirt,hair,etc) out of place instead of freely dropping into its line of other gears.

  41. The slam method works great! Went out in the cold garage and slammed engine number one twice. Voila it began to work. Engine number two needed a little cleaning with vinegar. That method alone did not solve the problem. Instead of going out in the cold garage again, I sat in my easy chair and slammed the engine on my knee. Another success story.

    Thank you very much!

  42. Slam! Bam! You are the man! It worked! Only 2 slams required. My kids will be super pumped when they get home from school. Thanks so much for sharing such a simple fix. Have a wonderful holiday!

  43. One with remote and one without and the SLAM worked on both. Thanks Gary, there is going to be a 3 year old that will have a big smile on his face for Christmas.

  44. From terrell Texas. You have to hit it harder than you think but it does work. Wife and it went crazy when it started working. Thx

  45. Hi there,

    So glad I found this page before train finding quickest route to the bin.
    I’m about to clean with Vinegar, however have now noticed, a whole spring(bar 1 coil) has corroded, is this repairable? I’ve tried tinfoil, to no avail, prior to any cleaning however so hopefully this will make a difference

    1. I have never tried to fix a bad spring (other than the vinegar treatment). I have always just sent such vehicles to the trash and looked for a better one.

  46. I just got Doc (about 8 years old) working after about 12 slams! I was getting discouraged, then all of a sudden he was raring to go! My four-year-old is totally into the Geotrax his 11-year-old brother used to enjoy. Thank you so much!

  47. I have a set that I have had since my 16 year old was little. I brought it out for a 3 year old I am watching and he loves it. I figured I would look up how to fix my two trains that have not worked for a while. This is the first site I came to and I cleaned the springs, changed the batteries and with a few slams I got one train going again! I am about to see if I can get the other going once I get some more batteries! I will make sure I take the batteries out from now on so they don’t corrode the metal contacts. Thanks for putting this info out because these sets were really made to last!

  48. Thanks for the pounding trick. I hit mine on the side with the remote and it worked on 4 vehicles. Thanks again

    1. Glad it worked, though I be leery about using the remote to do the slamming. They’re tough, but the remote is probably the least tough part made.

  49. Great advice but I can’t figure out how to replace batteries in the cars. Do u have to unscrew the car and take apart?

    1. If you have a “car” or train with a remote controller, there are 2 screws that are fairly obvious that you need to unscrew to get at the batteries. The remote itself also has screws to open.

  50. How to tell if a train has been stored with or without its batteries? And are the batteries leaking? This is always a problem and requires locating a screwdriver and removing the battery door to find out. Not any more.
    When playtime is over for the season, I check each engine: Remove the batteries, clean the contacts with vinegar and/or rubbing alcohol & Q-Tips and reinsert batteries to make sure the motor and remote control are working. Then I take the batteries out again, close the battery door and stretch a rubber band around the engine and another around the remote control. Never have to wonder or check again.
    If an engine or remote control has a rubber band around it, I know it has been cleaned, is operational and has no batteries inside. (I also clean both ends of the batteries with rubbing alcohol, before storing them.)

  51. My husband thought I was crazy for making him try this but it worked great! We had just decided to throw the controller away after having it not work for years when I came across this. Thank you so much!

  52. My son will be 18 in 2 months he has had this since 2003 one of the batteries leaked a cleaned the terminal but it would not work but the light stayed on I slammed it off a piece of cardboard and now it works like a charm unbelievable all these years later!

  53. I just bought multiple sets of Geotrax from a Nextdoor contact. It included two airplanes and a train engine. The airplanes worked but the train engine would not work. The controller made sound and the engine light went on but it would not move when the controller was activated. I was so disappointed because I plan to give the whole box to my granddaughter for Christmas. I tried slamming the engine several times and it still would not work. I was afraid of damaging the wheels so I slammed it against my hand, avoiding the wheels and hitting the bottom between the two axles. Couldn’t believe it… worked. The engine now responds to the remote. Thank you!

  54. Oh my goodness! You are a hero at my house! We have had our train for 7 years and this is the first year it we couldn’t get it to work. Our Christmas GeoTrax train is a must have at Christmastime and my 5 year old was in tears when it wouldn’t work. I was desperately seeking answers and found yours! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I have 2 very happy children playing with the train now! I would have never tried to slam the engine down to get it moving. Have a blessed Christmas!

  55. Oh my heck! We have had the Geo Tracks train set for 7 years and it stopped working after 6 months. My kids have been playing with it still but not using the remote which is obviously not as much fun. I just stumbled onto the troubleshooting guide and it totally worked 3 hard slams and it fired right up!! Thank you so much! My kids are so excited!

  56. I honestly can’t believe it worked… it took quite a few slams (and truth be told I might have thrown it once or twice too) but I got two trains working again. One also needed a little vinegar clean up around the battery. Thank you so, so, so much. This is such a great set. I can’t believe they don’t make it anymore!

  57. Both the train and Lightning McQueen worked after a few slams. The train took a few more but they are now working perfectly. Thanks again!!!

  58. Can’t believe it… My trains have been in storage for 15 years. Changed out the batteries and no movement on the train. The light on the train lit up so I thought the problem was the controller, but then on your advice tried two (gentler) bangs of the train on the carpet and now it works! Thanks so much; I can now lend the set to my colleagues’ kids to play with!

  59. Thanks! Kid was disappointed that train didn’t work this Xmas. Just today as we’re taking down Xmas ornaments we pulled it out of the closet and I started looking for a replacement trains. Didn’t find any but found this page. Ten or fifteen slams later and it works and kid is overjoyed. We now have to set it up even though Xmas is over!

  60. Thanks so much for the tip about banging the button! I bought a used Geotrax system for $10 and it’s been sitting in a trash bag for 2 years. I finally remembered I had it and showed it to my 6-yr old who started putting it together right away. But, the train button wouldn’t work, even though I changed out all the batteries and scraped out the corrosion.
    So, I told her about your tip to bang it with something and she took the butt if the screwdriver and wacked it. DING! The red light lit up! We were so excited!

  61. We gave up hope and our 2 year old would ask us to fix his train everyday. We finally just bought a different train. I saw your post and tried the vinager with a q tip and it worked like immediately. Thank you!

  62. I have several trains that are having issues, and I have tried all of these things. They all are a bit different tho:
    1st train: the light *was* working, but it would not move. A quick slam worked, and it ran for a bit. I left it for a while, and now it will not even light up or move.
    Trains 2 and 3: light up, but will not move. I have slammed them down a lot and no results.
    I’m not sure if I’m missing something or not. What else can I try? I’m considering replacing the capacitors inside it.

    1. That’s about all I know how to do, David. Check out the Facebook group for other members who are tinkering with the insides in some cases.

  63. After 9 years of storage, I pulled out my son’s old train set for a 4 year old nephew that will be visiting soon. I was so disappointed when I discovered that none of the four trains were working even with all new batteries.
    After finding this site, I tried the slamming method. It took quite a few slams for each train and now all four are working! I almost gave up on them, but I kept trying because of all the success stories here. Thank you so much for sharing this little trick and to everyone else who shared their story. My nephew is very excited to play with the trains (and not just push them). 😊

  64. Thanks very much for posting this! I was about to give up on them as we just got them from a friend as a hand me down, but now my kids are super happy because they’re working!

  65. Omg!! That’s wild! We just pulled the trains out of storage after 15 years. They light up and make the sounds but didn’t move lol tried your wham bam method and what do you know they BOTH work!! Thanks!! My littlest is thrilled!!

  66. Can’t get the airplane to stop running. Remote does make brakes sound but the plane just keeps going. Changed both batteries. Slammed both around. Remote’s lights can’t be seen. Help???

    1. Hi Christine,

      I don’t have a good solution for you other than to remove the batteries. Maybe someone else here will have another idea. You could also try asking in our Facebook group. (It’s free to join in case you’re not already a member.)

    1. Hi Kelly,

      I assume you mean the remote makes sounds and the car lights up. If so, slamming is the thing to do as outlined above. There isn’t really any synching to do. This also assumes you have the right remote/car combination.

      If you have more questions, ask me via the Contact Page.


  67. Wow! Had 3 R/C trains. All 3 remotes made sounds, all 3 trains lit up, but none worked. Slammed them around and like magic they worked! Some took a few slams, some needed a lot. Fascinating!

  68. Hi! One of my remotes works when it is in the charging “station” but doesn’t make sounds when it isn’t. New batteries. Any ideas?

    1. That’s not a charging station. It’s the Tracktown Depot. It was designed that way. Early remotes have the 3 metal contacts at the lower front to make the sound connection when in the Depot. There’s nothing wrong with your remote.

  69. Got this huge set out for my grandson after being in storage for 12 years at least and could only get one of 4 trains working. finally with your suggestions. vinegar, and bamming i got two more to work. still working on the other one. Kids are thrilled. Grandma is thrilled. Thank you for the suggestions.

  70. Hi, we had being keeping the entire Set for almost 16 years, is time to bring out for Xmas. & found out all 4 the train couldn’t work. So just did What u said slam it again & again. 4 out of 3 It works my tears almost coming out.. a lot of memories there.. but one remote looks dead.
    Anyway to fix it? & Thank u

  71. OMG!! Thank you so much for the tip!! My daughter pulled out her GeoTrax (which have been stored in bins for years) because she wants to put them up for Christmas. After putting in new batteries, to our sadness, neither her train nor her Toy Story 3 car would work. Lights were on and remotes were working. Tears came to my daughter’s eyes. I googled “why doesn’t my GeoTrax work” and came across this website. We read about the fix and through some comments, found some cardboard and slammed away…wheel side and both car sides. After many slams, they both made noise and wheels turned! I have a very happy daughter and tears started to swell in my eyes this time (tears of joy!)! Thank you!!!

  72. OMG, thank you so much! My 17yo was helping me clean the basement and found his old (extensive) track system, but was sad that neither engine worked. Well, we cleaned all the corrosion and put in new batteries, to no avail. I whacked it a few times on the counter and still nothing. Then I whacked it way harder than I thought I should and SUCCESS! He and his younger teen sisters are having a great time playing right now. THANK YOU!

      1. Isn’t it wonderful to help so many people with something which initially sounds like a joke. I actually saw a u tube video of someone doing the same thing but ignored it thinking it was just a ploy to have people break their trains or at least look foolish. I had bought a large bag of parts and trains at my local consignment store for $20 not even knowing what I actually had except a lot of track and a few trains. When I realized what they were and put in fresh batteries I was prepared for success but aside from everyone lighting up no one was moving. I read your site and prepared for smacking them a few times. One I wacked on my wood floor (on top of a piece of cardboard) about 24 times until it kicked in. The last one only needed one good wack. I appreciate you getting my consignment treasure fired up and running for my 2 year old grandson. I can’t wait till next tuesday 🙂

  73. I had two trains that we’re no longer working, my 17-year-old son no longer wanted them so it was time to sell. I used a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol to clean the contacts, put in new batteries and still nothing. So I did the method of slamming, and both are now working. Thank you for this post!

  74. I have 4 sets that have been stored for about 4 years. My now 8 and 10 year olds decided to play with them. None of the trains would work. Decided to go “Google” my problem and found your “whack/slam” solution…and got 3 of the 4 to work! Still working in the last one, but I’m happy that we at least have 3 that works! Thank you so much for sharing this fix! 😊

  75. I just purchased a used grand central station from FB today and it didn’t work! I found your site and tried the whack tip and it did work… kind of. It keeps freezing. Especially going forward and when it goes uphill or around curves. It does a little better in reverse. But it does keep freezing and then I continually have to give it a few smacks and then most of the time it starts, until it freezes again. Do you think it will improve as we play with it or do you think it’s on its last leg?
    Thanks in advance for your opinion/suggestions.

    1. Gary Sonnenberg

      Grand Central trains are kinda notorious for losing their power, at least, compared to other sets for some reason. I can’t say if yours will get better or worse. If it gets worse, you can likely find a replacement on Ebay or just use another train. They all work the same way.

  76. Ryan Schoonveld

    My wife wanted to save these. When we pulled them out and they didn’t work, it was reinforcement that we should’ve gotten rid of them long ago. Then I came across your site. Unbelievable…she’s right again. Our older kids who are out of the house had years of fun with these trains. Our 8 year old is jacked they are working again. Just slam it on the ground…smh. Thanks Gary!

  77. Thanks for saving the day! My older son played with his trains until baseball became life. We packed them up to sale, but God surprised us with another little one 9 years later. I pulled them out to find them not rolling. This made the older kids remember what it’s like to play again, and made a little boy really happy!

  78. Sylvain Poisson

    My grand-son of 4 years old will be very happy to play with those trains. After a dont know howmuch time in a closet and trains not rolling, well, you help me. Thank you for the informations.

  79. Crazy, but this worked. Haven’t had the Lightning McQueen set out for a few years. A few slams later and it is working.

    1. Gary Sonnenberg

      That’s not common, but it can happen. If you’re sure that’s the problem, you have 2 options. What I usually do is throw it out and look for a new one. Or, if you know someone who is electronically inclined, have them look at it to see if it’s fixable.

  80. You saved Christmas. We were about to throw our train out. Now we can send it around the tree again this year! Thank you, Step 3. I added in some good shaking to help things along.

  81. Kids love GeoTrax and after they were discontinued (and folks’ engines stopped working) people have been for years selling mega-track collections. SIDE NOTE: A severe weakness in the toy train market is the paltry amount of track they sell you.

    BUT, keeping the engines running is tough. I have two that despite following everything I could find on the internet I cannot get their motors un-seized. I have used mechanical agitation to the extent I think it’s safe.

    I wish there were good disassembly instructions! I have not found anything (and the internet has EVERYTHING) on disassembly. My attempts have been unsuccessful because I get to a point where I think I’m going to damage them and so I turn back. If I knew exactly where the motor was inside the engine I could drill a small hole in the plastic and use a narrow tool to turn the rotor manually… but I don’t.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Steve,

      I wouldn’t try drilling either. If I can’t get it to work by (lots of) slamming, I just give up and look for a replacement.


  82. Thank you! Set up the Christmas train this year and the engine lit up but didn’t move. Found your page and began “impact calibration”. Still no good after 15 or so slams. About to give up I grabbed my screwdriver and gave the train a few raps with the handle. The gears started moving. Appreciate the page and happy that we get a 10th year with our train. Happy holiday.

  83. OMG!! Step 3 worked!! The wife keeps saying it’s a silly method but wants the train to work. Fresh battery, likewise with remote. It responds to the remote, but train wheels are not responding. Slammed the train on the carpet several times, and it worked.. Thanks

  84. Just picked up a large box of trains and luckily most of them started up no problem once I figured out how they worked…

    Didn’t have to use the bang method at this moment but….

    Had two engines that their light wouldn’t light up…so I cleaned up the contacts but no luck still no light….but then I discovered a little pin that was a little corroded just beneath the inside center of the battery door hinge area…

    Cleaned the pin up and actually got it to break free…it turned out to be a spring loaded contact pin that once cleaned up brought the engine back to life….

    As the pin clicks in as you close up the door it triggers some internal switch…

    Just thought I’d pass this on maybe this will help someone who is to about to give an engine up for dead…

  85. Thank, thank you, thank you! I think I wanted this to work more than the kids 🙂 New batteries in, out, in, out…..cleaned battery contacts with vinegar…..question my ability to place batteries in the correct direction, remove said batteries once again and refit….curse words, phone camera to confirm remote had infrared, yep..lights on and sounds made but no train movement…..time for train slam/slam…nada…bam, bam, bam…nope…..hubby gives up. I don’t. Side slams, wrestling moves basically on each caboose cuz now I question which one makes the rules….darn near 12th attempt and a room of heads shaking looking at me–voila! I could barely believe it myself and blinked twice! Woo hoo, thanks soooo much–our almost decade old train comes alive after several moves and a couple years stuffed away!

  86. Happy Daughter = Happy Dad

    I seriously did not think this would work, and honestly on my first 12-15 tries each on 3 different trains, nothing happened. Then, the next day, my daughter tried it on one train after I tried it another 10 times or so with no success, and magically it the train just started working. Then I tried it on the Christmas train and after 6-8 hits, the Christmas train started working! She was so excited to have these two trains start working, especially the Christmas one since it is the Christmas season, and all she wanted was for her Christmas train to work. One thing that we did second on the second day of trying compared to the first is that we had the controller set to the ¨forward¨ position as we banged the trains on our carpeted bedroom floor. I don´t know if this is a ¨secret¨ or not, but we didn´t do this the first day of attempts, and when we did it on the second day of attempts both trains started working.

  87. Carissa D Purvis

    Well, it worked again!! I remember my kids opening their GeoTrax stuff Christmas morning and for birthdays when they were kids. ALL of the train stuff was put into a tub years ago, like 12 -15 years ago! Now here’s 2020 and my two year old grandson will get to enjoy too! #3 still works! Not all of the trains work but we only need one right now.

    Best tip I can pass on….check the trains first. It’s a real bummer after putting an elaborate set up and not having a train to go. I’m so glad I came across this post! Merry 2020 Christmas to me! Thanks again, another year. What a legacy you’ve created!

  88. Gary, do you happen to have any posts on pulling the geotrax apart to get to the gears? The engine is running but it seems a gear might be stripped. I’ve removed all the screws that I’m aware of and at this point only the wheels seem to be holding it together. I’ve put some pressure on them to try and pop one off but I’m worried I might break it. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Andrew,

      I took one apart once, but since I’m not good at all with such things, it was useless to me. There are many parts, and they’re hard to keep together, especially without good tools. For me, when it comes to this point, I give up and look for a replacement.


  89. Replaced the batteries tap it several times with a hammer and we have a working train! Thank you! My 3 year old grandson is ecstatic.

  90. We did these three steps to get it to work:

    1. cleaned out the battery terminals with baking soda and water paste, then applied with a Q-Tip.

    2. used a condensed air can in the motorized wheel. Dust came flying out (similar to the old style of mouse on a computer) and then it worked. My guess is the “banging method” is actually just moving the dust that’s stuck in the gear of the wheel.

    Make sure you spray until dust flies out. Otherwise it will just be stuck in there.

    1. Gary Sonnenberg

      Awesome idea! Thanks for letting us know. This may very well work in many instances. Sure worth trying anyway.

  91. God bless you, sir! I love my son’s GeoTrax trains (he’s 18 now), but I’ve been so disappointed that they aren’t all working. Thanks to you, they all work now!!!

    I’m going to set them up around the Christmas tree next December. I’ll be drinking coffee with eggnog instead of cream, watching the trains run their course, and I’ll bless you once more. 🙂

    Thank you!

  92. I have three engines and remotes and a huge set of tracks stored from MANY years ago. I was going to give them to a neighbor and realized that while the trains and remotes lit up, they didn’t go. A few whacks and OMG THEY WORK! My husband and I were laughing so hard. It is 2021 and this article is still helping. Thank you!

  93. Hello! I didn’t go through all the comments so I don’t know if anyone has posted this but here’s information to be able to know whether or not your controller is still good. I believe it’s infrared light. Put good batteries in the controller and aim your phone camera at the controller, while moving the controller switch on and off. If the remote is good, you’ll see a shining light in the controller while looking at your phone. It’s pretty cool!! Good luck!!

  94. Thanks! My sons are beyond happy! We’ve been given a huge lot of geotrax from a family member and a few trains wouldn’t work! Saw this and gave it a shot! Took 7-10 hits but it worked! Fixed a few! Thanks so much. Glad this chain is still up and going!!

  95. I pulled out my 21 year old sons’ trains for my 2 year old grandson. I have 8 trains, and the first two I tried would not move. I checked everything you said. No corrosion. New batteries inserted in the proper direction, all the way in their slots, and in all of the compartments. Remote control made sounds and the “ready” light was on. Still nothing. So I tried step 3. I slammed it on the bottom and side multiple times and it still wouldn’t move. I was so sad. It seemed to work for everyone else. I gave up, but then I decided to try it without the cardboard and slammed it right onto the tile. Finally…VICTORY!! I’m so excited to play trains with my grandson. When I boxed them up, I never thought the day would come when I’d be a grandma…but here we are. This is so fun!!

    1. Great, Kim! The cardboard is just for the protection of your flooring. I’ve taken engines outside and slammed them on the concrete to get them to go. The only problem there is that sometimes the paint chips off.


  96. We have a lightning McQueen and he moves fine on flat track but really struggles to make it up a hill. New batteries. Are there any solutions for this?

    1. Gary Sonnenberg

      Not that I know of. You might try a different brand of batteries, but it probably won’t matter. Some vehicles just take the hills better than others. You could also make sure the car is really clean – that nothing is hindering gear/wheel movement.

  97. I had these geotraxs for years. My grandson is 21 now. My great-grandchildren are playing with them now in 2022. Three trains didn’t work. I did step 3 and wow they started working. One light didn’t come on, still working. One I started shaking it and the light came on, and the last one step 3 working. I was so excited to have them working again. The remote didn’t work for one so I’m going to try and take it apart. Thank you for the information.

  98. Thanks so much for this site! Got two engines working that I’d given up for dead. One, the light came on, but it wouldn’t move. Another, the light didn’t come on, but I gave it a whack anyway and it immediately worked. Yay! This giant box of Geotrax a neighbor gave away free now has actual use value for my 3- and 5-year-old boys.

  99. Just thought you’d like another success story. We have a massive amount of sets and 8 trains that have been in storage for 10+ years. I mentioned selling them a few years ago and my son tugged on my heart strings not to do it – he was 16!

    The neighborhood yard sale is coming up and my wife and I are looking to empty our very full attics. 7 out of 8 trains lights came on and all of the controllers make sounds. But none of them were running until I found your post. After some ‘percussive maintenance’ (IT term) all of the trains but the Old Timer have roared back to life.

    Now the memories of spending hours with my kids engineering and building layouts has me struggling with selling the best toys we ever had. We may be years away from having grandkids and it may cause a rift with the Mrs. but I’m not sure I can part with them.

    Thanks for the tip Gary!

    1. Gary Sonnenberg

      Thanks for sharing, Scott. I can tell you from personal experience that grandkids – even today – love these old trains too. I’d hang on to them.


    2. Lil’ Daddy

      Fisher Price should be paying you for the parents and grandparents you’ve made happy, Gary! The wham, bam, slam method totally worked! I added my own variation by slamming the trains on each side a few times when the wheel down method didn’t work. Super helpful!

      1. Gary Sonnenberg

        Hahaha! If they only knew!

        Yes, slamming on the side is actually a method I gradually shifted to myself – mostly because it’s easier on the fingers.


    3. Our son is 13 and won’t let me let them go either. I agreed To keep the Christmas set and some of the special pieces and we packed the rest in a “maybe sell” pile. I still Haven’t sold them. 😂 but I’m thinking another 10 years until we have grandkids to play with them isn’t too long to keep them right? 🤷🏼‍♀️

  100. Krystal Freeze

    Literally just bought a remote on EBay. Was very upset when the train was not moving with the remote.
    Put the batteries back in, went down stairs…slammed the train on cardboard a few times…BOOM! WORKS!
    I did a victory dance.

  101. Yay!!! You are awesome!! We got our Christmas Geotrax set out to put under our tree that we’ve had for about 10 years now and all the lights came on but no movement! Did all the things you said (pretty sure the bang did it) but it started working again!!! Thank you, thank you!!! Now I just 22 batteries charged to make the rest of it light up and play music 😂 Totally worth it though!🎄 Thank you again!!!

  102. Mary Pat Lemass

    Oh boy – that was so helpful Gary – thanks! We have 5 remote control trains so I wasted a lot of time installing 30 new batteries, 3 for each train and 3 for each remote. Everything lit up and the remotes made cute sounds but none of the trains would move. We were so disappointed until I read your advice. Just spent the last hour banging trains – family thinks I’m nuts but guess what? I got them all to work – yippee!! Thanks again and Merry Christmas!!

  103. You are the best! My wife and I are cracking up from your advice. My older grandchild loves the banging part and BTW, it’s also great therapy for anxiety problems for us older kids!

  104. Thank you so much for this article!! I’m a teenager, and we’ve had our geotrax since my first ever Christmas. The last few years we’ve lived with family, so we didn’t get to set up the train. This is the first year for a while that my mother and I have been able to set it up – some trains stopped working half way through, others didn’t work to begin with. I tried your slamming method and it was like they were brand new!! You have saved my Christmas, and I sincerely thank you for sharing your wisdom here. Merry Christmas!

  105. December 2022:

    Someone on a other thread said they swung an engine around in a pillow case and hey! It worked!

    We tried slamming a bunch but nothing and finally the pillow case pulled through.

  106. Amazing we followed these steps and it fixed our little train as well. Thanks for the post. We have a happy little boy again

  107. Thank you! Just brought our 18ish year old geotrax back to life for a 5 year old grand. She is so excited! Like others, so surprised banging the engine did the trick!

  108. Thanks Gary! My girlfriend was vividly upset when my geotrax Christmas train wouldn’t drive anymore. I was starting to lose hope, but then I whammed, bammed, and slammed that train until I heard the sweet sound of the train gear.

  109. Mallet worked for me 🙂 Thanks for the tips – donation sent. Even the biggest amount is way less than I would’ve spent for a replacement.

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