How to maintain your wheelchair or motorised wheelchair

By: fishadmin, On: 21 March 2018

A wheelchair is a lifeline for many people with mobility issues, giving independence and freedom. To make sure your wheelchair remains comfortable, safe and reliable you should watch out for common problems to help prevent costly repair bills.

Deterioration of front and rear wheels

Keep an eye on your wheels, especially if you ride the chair on rough surfaces or uneven pavements. You should regularly grease the axle of your wheels and try to avoid rough terrain to allow your chair to live out its full life expectancy.

Worn out, damaged or ill-fitting upholstery

Over time, cracks or tears can appear where the fabric folds or screws can break through the upholstery. And if you rely on a seat cushion, check that it’s still providing the padding and support you need. The upholstery should be cleaned with a regular wipe with a damp cloth and treated with the utmost care.

Battery issues

One of the most important factors in keeping your motorised wheelchair maintained is to ensure that you regularly charge the battery. Check the battery on a regular basis, so that its functioning properly, as well as holding its charge. Your batteries will last longer and perform better if you are careful to keep them charged.

Unlocked/locked freewheel levers

If your motorised wheelchair has become unresponsive, check whether your freewheel levers have been moved to the unlocked position as this disconnects the motor, meaning you can only move the wheelchair manually. If they have been moved to the wrong position, put them back to the locked mode to reinstate the motorised function.


Wheelchair maintenance tips

Many problems can be avoided by carrying out regular maintenance, so here’s a checklist of top tips.

Know your equipment and be organised. Regularly inspect your wheelchair and ensure all nuts and bolts are fastened, as well as securing wiring and electrical connections on motorised wheelchairs. Look out for any cracks or breaks in the frame and have your wheelchair manual to hand, with a list of suppliers and phone numbers that you can rely on for repairs, parts and maintenance.

Check tyres for wear and tear and air pressure. Each week check your tyres to make sure they are not worn, split, deflated or punctured. And every three months, check the wheel alignment in your electric wheelchair to ensure that the steering is straight.

Keep it clean. Use a soft cloth on any metal and electrical components and the seat and a regular dishcloth on the wheels. Wash the upholstery with soapy water at least monthly, using a mild detergent for stains.

Charge the battery. Keep track of your battery charge indicator and plug in your charger when the gauge shows less than half a charge. And remember, the best time to charge your electric wheelchair battery is overnight while you’re asleep.

Keep moving parts lubricated. Every month use an all-purpose silicone lubricant spray to ensure that all points can freely swivel, pivot or fold.

By looking after your wheelchair you can minimise repairs, however, there are some things you can’t prevent, such as accidents or theft. By choosing wheelchair insurance from Fish Insurance you’ll have the security and peace of mind to cover the costs of repairs, as well as protection from negligence claims up to a liability of £2m.

For more information on our wheelchair insurance policies, click here or call a member of the Fish Insurance team on 0333 331 3770.

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