An electric wheelchair is a big investment. Manual chairs can cost you an average of R5000. Meanwhile, power wheelchairs are even more expensive, running anywhere from R18000 to over R500000! Power wheelchair users are always looking for ways to increase the longevity of their chairs.
That’s why we’re bringing you this guide to electric wheelchair maintenance. Maintaining your chair properly can extend its lifetime. Plus, diligent maintenance means you’ll have to shell out less in repairs over the years.
Sound good? Then you’re going to love our top nine tips for getting the most out of your wheelchair. Check them out below!
1. Daily Wheelchair Maintenance
Dirt and debris accumulate on the frame, tires, and upholstery each time you use your chair. Over time, this buildup can lead to damage. That’s why it’s so important to perform daily maintenance on your chair.
Always give your chair a good wipedown at the end of your day. Use a spray cleaner and a cloth for minor messes or switch to warm water and soap for more serious stains. Follow up with a clean, dry towel to soak up any remaining moisture.
Make sure to pay extra attention to high-use sections of your chair. For example, most wheelchair users frequently touch and manoeuvre the joystick. Give it a good wipe down every day to combat oil, dirt, and moisture buildup.
2. Weekly Electric Wheelchair Maintenance
Weekly wheelchair maintenance should address the parts most susceptible to damage. That means inspecting tires, caster wheels, breaks, electrical connectors, and nuts and bolts weekly.
Each week, check tires and wheels for any cracks, holes, or significant wear. If they’re in good shape, your wheels should pivot and rotate easily. Always ensure there’s enough air in your tires to reduce the risk of injury or malfunction.
Faulty breaks are among the top causes of wheelchair accidents. That’s why you should check each manual brake release weekly for signs of damage or overuse. Release the brakes one at a time and make sure they disable as intended.
Electrical connectors consist of charger cords and cables that keep your chair running smoothly. Perform a weekly check to ensure there are no loose or damaged cables. If you find a problem, don’t try to DIY the repair – let a qualified electrical professional deal with the problem or contact your chair manufacturer.
Finally, make sure you perform a weekly check of your chair’s nuts and bolts. These smaller components can become loose with time and wear. If one comes loose at the wrong time, it could mean disaster for your chair or, worse, you.
3. Power Wheelchair Battery Maintenance
Charge your wheelchair battery to full capacity every single day. That’s right: you even need to charge your battery if you haven’t used your chair at all. This will ensure you have enough power the following day.
Nightly battery charging also helps extend your power-wheelchair battery’s life. Only using the charger that comes with your chair is another excellent tip to keep your battery performing optimally and increasing longevity.
4. Keeping Your Electric Wheelchair Frame Dry
Moisture is your biggest worry if you want to keep your chair in excellent shape. Most wheelchair frames are made of metal, and metal is prone to corrosion. Keeping your chair dry will prevent frame corrosion.
Wheelchair manufacturers don’t recommend the use of power wheelchairs in the rain or snow. If a trip outside during these conditions is absolutely necessary, wipe down your chair’s metal frame with an absorbent towel as soon as you get home.
5. Maintenance for Electric Wheelchair Tires
Maintaining your wheelchair’s tires is critical for a comfortable and smooth ride. We’ve already mentioned weekly tire maintenance tasks. Yet, depending on the material your wheels are made of, maintenance needs may vary.
Check your wheelchair’s user manual to learn about any additional maintenance your tires require.
6. Maintaining Your Power Wheelchair Electronics
This tip couldn’t be any more vital: you have to keep moisture away from your electronics. Moisture can cause debilitating damage or worse- it could lead to shock and even injury. Avoid these problems with the following tips:
- Keep your chair in a dry place
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen
- Stop using your chair and call a professional maintenance specialist if your electronics do get wet
Most wheelchairs feature shrouds, which are plastic covers that protect the chair’s electronics. Regularly inspect your chair’s shroud for damage or loose screws. If your shroud is in disrepair, replace it immediately to avoid expensive electronics repairs.
7. Electric Wheelchair Cushion Maintenance
You sit in your wheelchair for most of the day, so you want to be comfortable and safe. That’s why high-quality cushions are a must-have. But even the best wheelchair cushions can wear out quickly if you fail to care for them.
Inspect your seat and arm cushions frequently to keep them in good shape. Air cushions will need inspection at least once per week. Gel, foam, and fluid cushions only need one inspection per month.
To start inspecting your cushions, remove the cover. Search for rips, tears, or wear and check to ensure the zipper functions properly. Replace your cushion if you find any damage or signs of significant wear and tear.
8. Check Your Electric Wheelchair User’s Manual
Your wheelchair manual may specify further maintenance requirements based on its make and model. The manual also includes safety information and provides contact information for professional repairs or troubleshooting.
For this reason, you should always have your user’s manual handy during maintenance.
9. Know When to Repair and When to Replace
As long as you choose a high-quality chair from a reputable manufacturer, you can expect your wheelchair to last at least five years. Most wheelchairs last much longer, especially if you follow these tips for wheelchair maintenance.
Yet, sometimes, even the most diligent wheelchair maintenance isn’t enough. That’s why most manufacturers recommend replacing your wheelchair every ten years.
Of course, this estimate varies depending on how frequently you use your chair and how well you look after it.
Replace Your Electric Wheelchair With Mr Mobility
Wheelchair users can extend the life of their chairs and save countless dollars on repairs with proper maintenance. Follow these nine tips to keep your power wheelchair in tip-top shape for years to come.
Is your worn or damaged wheelchair past the point of no return? Then it’s about time you checked out the incredible chairs Dr. Mobility has to offer. Browse our products today for the wheelchair replacement of your dreams!