Performing Minor Maintenance on Power Wheelchairs and Scooters
If you need mobility assistance a power chair is a great piece of equipment that can serve you well but as any other sophisticated piece of equipment, electric wheelchairs require regular maintenance to keep in good working order. Some minor maintenance you or a friend or family member can handle without needing too many tools. If you take care of your wheelchair regularly you will extend the life of your unit and keep maintenance costs affordable. We recommend a few minor things that you can do on a monthly basis. If you set a date each month in your calendar it will help you get into the good habit of taking care of your chair.
First, lay a sheet of newspaper underneath your wheelchair so any dirt, crumbs, screws/bolts can fall onto it and will make your clean up much easier to do afterwards. Then, follow the steps below:
- Wipe down the seat upholstery, wheelchair frame, footrests, hand rims and wheels with a damp cloth or a gentle cleaner. You don’t need to use a hose to clean under the seat or in hard to reach areas. Instead, try a duster or a reacher with a cloth wrapped around it. You can finish off the cleaning part by spraying Frebreze or a similar product on the seat and back upholstery.
- Inspect screws and bolts to see if any of them are loose. Most wheelchairs are made to use only a couple tools. Either a 7/15” Allen key or a ½” wrench should work for most hardware.
- Check that all back hardware and control hardware is nice and tight. If you find anything loose, verify where it comes from and tighten the bolt. You may want a friend to assist with this for backs, as tightening the bolt may change the sitting posture you’ve become used to but a second set of hands can be helpful to tighten while you’re sitting in place to help you find the right angle.
- If you have pneumatic (air filled) tires, check the air pressure. The recommended pressure is usually marked on the tires. This is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch). If a tire pressure is lower than others your chair may not want to go straight. Also check your tires for cracks and wear. If pneumatic tires prove to be unpredictable you can usually have them switched to a foam filled tire which will ensure that this step is no longer an issue however foam filled tires don’t normally give as smooth a ride as air filled tires so you’ll want to keep this in mind when making the choice.
- Check for loose wires leading to the controller and make sure all loose wires are tied down or clipped so they don’t risk catching.
- Check to be sure electrical connections are secure.
- Check electrical components for anything that looks like it may have corroded. This is caused by normally by rain or other moisture coming in contact with electrical parts.
- Inspect shrouds, the plastic shield that covers the motors and batteries for cracks or damage. This helps protect you electronics from exposure to moisture which can cause damage.
- Batteries should be charged daily. Unlike cell phone batteries they should not be forced to run out completely.
- Batteries will naturally lose power if they are left on so either keep moving or turn your power off when you are stopped for best results.
Taking care of your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter will save you from downtime. If something requires replacement or you need help with repairs, contact your nearest Motion Specialties store for assistance.