Regular maintenance of your wheelchair keeps you mobile and ensures that your equipment is performing at the highest level of safety. Here, we look at some of the most common issues with wheelchair maintenance and how to keep your chair in tip top condition.
How often should I do a maintenance check on my chair?
If you use your wheelchair regularly, its mechanisms will probably be subjected to quite a bit of wear and tear. Because these features are essential to your mobility, they should always be kept in good working order. Follow these simple checks and maintenance tips and you will help prolong the life of your chair.
- Check the pressure and condition of your tyres once a month
- Check the wear-down and general condition of your brakes once a week
- Check your upholstery and footrest every 3 to 4 months
- Check the moving parts and adjust the backrest if it has shifted
- Check the chair’s frame for rust spots
- Look over the wheelchair and its fittings, checking each screw point and testing for looseness. Make sure you also check any joints that are secured with self-locking bolts
- Carefully check your anti-tip mechanism
- Use a mild detergent to clean your wheelchair, avoiding upholstery and any exposed bearing points. Rinse the chair before storing or using. To wash your backrest or cushion, use mild soap and water. Give your chair a more thorough clean if used in a sandy area or it comes in contact with salt
- Improve disassembly time by applying a small amount of oil on modular and moving parts. If you start hearing creaks or notice stiffness in any moving parts, apply oil and schedule a check-up with an experienced service provider
- Every 12 months, you should contact an authorised repairer for a full maintenance check and service
Common problems in manual wheelchairs
After purchasing your wheelchair, carefully read the user manual’s maintenance section. Most manuals have a section that covers specific points of interest and ways to rectify simple problems.
If you notice any braking issues, make sure you check it out straight away. The efficiency of your chair’s brakes can be degraded by incorrect adjustment or placement of the braking system. Having wet or low-pressure tyres can also impair the performance of the brakes. After you have checked for these signs, you should have a good idea of whether your brakes are working correctly or not.
Your wheelchair’s front wheels play an important role in the stabilisation, turning circle and propulsion of your chair. When performing minor maintenance, take a moment to look at the fit, condition and overall functionality of your front wheels. Slight right or left turns and non-fluid movement are two of the most common problems that can occur when the front wheels are out of alignment. To correct this issue, adjust the angle of the front wheels until they can rotate freely on flat ground.
Tyres & inner tubes
Your wheelchair’s mobility can be significantly affected if your tyres and inner tubes are in poor condition. In fact, one of the most common causes of mobility problems is having low tyre pressure. When your tyre pressure is too low, you have to exert far more energy to propel and direct the wheelchair. However, if your tyre pressure if too high, you run the risk of bursting the tube and outer tyre. Check your user manual for the recommended pressure range.
How to store your chair
If you’re planning to store your wheelchair for any length of time, put a protective weather-proof cover on it. Leave it in a dry place and avoid direct sunlight. And when you next use your wheelchair, make sure you do a comprehensive maintenance check first.
By following these simple tips, you will be able to increase the lifespan of your wheelchair and improve its overall performance.
Trust the experts at Power Mobility
At Power Mobility, we understand the importance of having someone you can rely on to maintain, service and repair your equipment. So before you buy, ask about after-sales service and repairs. Many retailers simply sell the products – they don’t offer service and repairs. Power Mobility offer a convenient mobile service and repair centre through our sister company, GS Electronics – a trusted and experienced service provider for over 40 years.
An NDIS Registered Provider, Power Mobility provides the perfect combination of quality mobility products, personal service and expert advice. Widely regarded as the power chair specialists, Power Mobility also offers a wide selection of manual wheelchairs, scooters, lift chairs and much more. So give our friendly team a call on 07 3265 4663 or drop into our showroom in Geebung.