When you rely on your mobility equipment you realise so that it needs to be maintained properly. Special attention is required for wheelchairs because of this reliance. Knowing how to properly care for your wheelchair will not only prelong its life but, more importantly wheelchair maintenance ensures that it will not let you down.
Should wheelchair problems arise, you, the wheelchair user will probably be the first person to notice it. For this reason, it is very important for you to know the basics of wheelchair maintenance. Manual or self propelled and transit wheelchairs are relatively easy to maintain in comparison to electric wheelchairs which are best maintained by a wheelchair repair and servicing centre.
A regular routine of wheelchair maintenance is a good idea for peace of mind and smooth operation. Even simple frame cleaning is worthwhile, using a rag or cloth to clean your wheelchair on a regular basis has its merits. Some wheelchair users use car wax to make the task of cleaning the frame easier and to provide a finish that lasts.
Inspecting your wheelchair for possible light damage should be part of your routine to ensure that the integral parts such as the frame and wheels are in good order. For electric wheelchairs, it is essential to test the brakes and anti-rollback functions from on a regular basis. Nuts and bolts should be checked regularly for tension as these can be prone to working loose. Locktite or a similar product is good for securing the more prone nuts. Wheels and tyres are critical and must be checked daily. Replacement wheels and tyres can be found here
When you but your wheelchair it will have come with a manual which should include a chapter on maintenance, it is important to read through these before performing maintenance tasks. The manual should inform the user about warranty policies and wheelchair usage.
The guide should also contain instructions on which are the best suited tools for maintaining the wheelchair. Having a set of tools specifically for your wheelchair is essential, including different spanners, allen keys, a spoke tightener for self propelled wheelchairs and a pair of pliers. If you are able to carry these with you it is ideal and gives you peace of mind on your journeys.
So weekly checks of tyres and nuts and bolts are a good thing, monthly checks of frame damage and upholstery wear also. If you can, keep your wheelchair clean and well lubricated and it will serve you reliably for longer.
Why not watch a great video that covers much of the wheelchair maintenance that we have discussed: