Wheelchair repair and maintenance is extremely important. If your wheelchair breaks down, you can temporarily lose your mobility. Worse than that, you could be injured if it happens. If you take your wheelchair in regularly for maintenance and repairs, you can increase the longevity of your equipment and save on costly repair bills. Most importantly, it’ll keep you safe!
For people with impaired mobility, a wheelchair can be like a trusty steed. It takes you where you need to go and you can rely on it to be there while you do what you have to. A wheelchair offers a lot of benefits, not least of which are increased mobility, independence, and quality of life. It’s something we use daily, and with that comes wear and tear. But how do you know when it’s time to bring it in to the shop?
The full wheelchair maintenance checklist can be a little overwhelming. In this blog post, we’ve narrowed it down to several important areas to check when you’re looking for wear and tear.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #1: Check Your Tire Pressure
Is your wheelchair hard to maneuver? Do you have issues propelling it forward? This could be a sign that your tires are under or overinflated. It’s important to make sure that your tires have the right pressure to keep them moving right. If they don’t, you can increase the wear on the wheels, which reduces their lifespan. It’s recommended that you check your tire pressure on a weekly basis.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #2: Check Your Tire Treads
Just like with cars and bicycles, wheelchair tires wear out over time. If you feel like it’s harder to propel forward or you find braking difficult, check your treads. Reduced traction can be extremely dangerous, especially on rough terrain and icy, snowy, or wet surfaces. Worn out tires also have an increased risk of a puncture.
The treads on your wheels can be hard to see, but if you are having trouble, run your hands over the tires to feel for the texture. Is the treat pattern still visible? Can you still see or feel it, or has it worn down? Look or feel for any obvious signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or bulges.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #3: Check Your Seat and Backrest
Signs of wear on your wheelchair’s seat and backrest should be quite easy to notice. Whether it’s an obvious tear or discomfort when you sit down, you’ll know if your seat and backrest are in bad shape.
Sometimes your backrest can also begin to lose its shape. When that happens, you may not have enough back support. This usually causes the user to sit poorly, leading to backache or other back-related injuries. If you notice that your seat or backrest are not as comfortable as they once were, consider replacing it.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #4: Check All Nuts, Bolts, and Screws
Nuts, bolts, and screws can become loose with continued use, especially if you regularly ride along rough terrain or bumpy surfaces. Check that any moving parts on your wheelchair are not coming loose. Areas you might want to check include caster wheels, armrests, footrests, and brakes.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #5: Check the Wheelchair Frame
Rust, fractures, or breaks in the wheelchair frame can be especially dangerous. If left alone, even a small fracture can cause the wheelchair to give way over time. Check the condition of your wheelchair frame regularly to ensure that there are no signs of visible damage. If you see a crack or a break, get it repaired immediately. If you catch it early and the damage is only minor, it should be an easy fix for experienced repairmen, like those at Leading Edge Mobility.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #6: Take Note of Your Battery
The batteries on a powered wheelchair typically lasts anywhere between 12 to 24 months, depending on how often you use it. Try to avoid letting the batteries run completely flat and recharge them regularly. If you recharge your wheelchair overnight, you’ll always have a fully charged wheelchair to use when you wake up! If you notice that your batteries are not lasting through the day as long as they used to, it could be a sign that they need replacing.
Wheelchair Repair Tip #7: Check Your Breaks and Wheel Locks
Test your brakes by applying them to confirm that your wheelchair stays stationary and that the wheels don’t turn. If your brakes aren’t working as expected, you can do some basic troubleshooting by making sure that the tires are not underinflated or that the screws are loose. The brakes are one of the most important factors for wheelchair safety, so make sure that they are in good working order!
Wheelchair Repair Tip #8: Take It to a Professional!
Unsure about all the different moving parts of a wheelchair? Feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to ensure your wheelchair is in tip-top shape? While there are a lot of checks you can do yourself, nobody knows wheelchairs better than a professional who works with them regularly.
Your wheelchair is an important part of your life. It helps you get around and it lets you maintain a higher level of stability and independence. When your wheelchair starts showing signs of age, we’re here to support you. From simple tune ups to part replacements, Leading Edge Mobility’s talented technicians are ready to help! Call us today to set up an appointment or for more information!