Maintaining Your Wheelchair or Mobility Scooter in Winter
By: fishadmin, On: 12 December 2019
A wheelchair or mobility scooter can be a lifeline if you have disabilities or mobility issues, giving you independence and freedom. To make sure your wheelchair or mobility scooter remains comfortable, safe and reliable, it’s really important to take care of it. Watching out for common problems can help prevent costly repair bills, especially over winter when a breakdown might leave you stranded in poor weather conditions.
7 top winter wheelchair and scooter maintenance tips
Many problems can be avoided by carrying out regular maintenance, so here’s a checklist of our top tips.
1. Know your equipment and relevant contact details.
Just like with a car, it can be sensible to keep your equipment manual to hand, along with a list of suppliers and phone numbers that you can rely on for insurance, repairs, parts, and maintenance.
2. Check tyres for wear and tear.
Keep an eye on your wheels, especially if you ride the chair or scooter on rough surfaces or uneven pavements. Each week check your tyres to make sure they are not worn, split, deflated or punctured.
You should regularly grease the axle of your wheels and try to avoid rough terrain if you want your chair or scooter to live out its full life expectancy. At the start of winter, or if you’ve knocked your wheels on an obstacle, check the wheel alignment in your powered wheelchair to ensure that the steering is straight.
During winter it can be important to check the tread on your tyres is deep enough. Old, worn tyres may be more likely to skid in icy and snowy conditions, so it’s worth checking they’re in tip-top condition before venturing out in chilly weather.
3. Inspect your equipment as you clean it.
Mud and grit can be an issue in the winter months as they can leave your chair or scooter in a bit of a state. 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.
As you take a closer look at your wheelchair or scooter in order to clean it, use it as a chance to inspect your equipment more closely! Ensure all nuts and bolts are fastened, as well as taking the opportunity to secure wiring and electrical connections if it’s a powerchair or mobility scooters. This inspection will give you a chance to look out for any cracks or breaks in the frame to help you foresee any future issues that may arise.
4. Charge the battery.
If you have a powerchair or mobility scooter, one of the most important factors in keeping it maintained is to ensure that you regularly charge the battery. Be extra vigilant with your battery during winter as you don’t want to be left stranded in bad weather.
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 or mobility scooter battery is overnight while you’re asleep. Our top tip is to set a nightly alarm to remind you to put your equipment on charge.
5. Keep moving parts lubricated.
Every month use an all-purpose silicone lubricant spray to ensure that all points can freely swivel, pivot and fold as they should.
6. Repair any 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.
7. Unlocked/locked freewheel levers
If your powered wheelchair becomes unresponsive, don’t panic straight away. First, make sure to check whether your freewheel levers have been moved to the unlocked position. 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.
By looking after your wheelchair you can minimise repairs, however, there are some things you can’t prevent, such as accidents or theft. We provide insurance for manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs, and mobility scooters.
If you’d like to speak to someone about insuring your equipment, call a member of the Fish Insurance team on 0333 331 3770.