Wheelchair users rely on their power chairs every day.; they keep you moving and provide comfort during your day-to-day life. Much like anything with electrical components, you should ensure the unit is properly maintained, and an electric wheelchair is no exception. Poor wheelchair maintenance can lead to serious injuries or even death. The costs of fixing a broken electric wheelchair can also be substantial. The last things you want are wheelchair-related injuries or expensive repairs.
Below are some helpful maintenance tips to keep you and your chair safe:
Areas of Maintenance
The first step is to identify the areas of your electric wheelchair that may need maintenance and inspection. Start by turning the power switch off, and remove any charging cords. Then you should tighten any loose bolts.
Once that’s completed, you can move on to inspecting the following:
- Caster wheels
- Rear wheels
- Seat cushion
- Back supports
- Wheelchair frame
- Electrical system
Electric Wheelchair Toolkit
Your wheelchair manual may recommend some tools and general equipment needed to maintain your electric wheelchair.
Creating a toolkit will give you everything you need in case of an unexpected breakdown or repair. Gather all the tools and spray cleaner you need and keep them together in a bin or plastic bag that zips.
What To Add to My Toolkit
The tools and products you may want to keep in your toolkit include:
- Allen wrench/hex key
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Electric wheelchair tire repair kit
- Various small cloths
- A towel
- A spray bottle with a mild cleaner
- A small bucket to hold rinse water
- A larger bucker for warm soapy water
- A small cleaner brush
Check on Electric Wheelchair Battery
If your battery isn’t working, your electric wheelchair will become a manual wheelchair. That’s not what you want if you paid for a power chair. You never want to put off inspecting your electric wheelchair battery, even if there’s a day you haven’t been using it. Always check to see that your battery has enough power and stay on top of keeping it charged. Providing proper care to your battery will keep it running smoothly.
Some things to consider when maintaining electric wheelchair batteries:
- Keep the battery charged to full capacity, especially if it’s new
- Don’t let the charge level go below 70% during the first ten days of using the wheelchair battery
- Don’t drain batteries by more than 80%
- Always use the charger that comes with the battery or electric wheelchair
Keep the Chair Clean
It’s essential to keep all parts of the electric wheelchair absolutely clean and washed. We recommend daily cleaning with a spray cleaner or a bucket of warm soapy water. The best time to clean the chair is at the end of the day when you aren’t using it.
Built-up dirt and food deposits can cause your electric wheelchair to slow down if you don’t actively keep it clean. You won’t have to spend as much time cleaning if you’re wiping it down each day.
Once the chair is washed, use a dry towel to wipe it down. Inspect every nook and cranny to ensure there aren’t dirt, crumbs, or excess moisture. Don’t forget the controller! You use that device every day. Wiping down the seat, back supports, armrests, and other areas will keep dirt and oil from building up. Remember to avoid using an oily cleaner on your wheelchair, especially the tires.
Wheelchair Tire Maintenance
How’s your tire pressure? When was the last time you checked? Keep your tire pressure at the level stamped on the tire or listed in your operating manual. If the tires are underinflated, it may cause your electric wheelchair to tip over. If the tires are overinflated, they can wear out unevenly.
You may consider using tubeless tires, a popular choice for many electric wheelchair models. Instead of an inner tube, they have a sealant that coats the inside tire wall to prevent it from going flat.
When it comes to power wheelchair maintenance, you can organize the entire process into one weekly routine.
Start by adding these steps to your weekly inspection:
- Feel the chair for sharp edges or tears. Identifying the problem ahead of time will reduce the risk of worsening conditions. Make an appointment with a wheelchair maintenance expert if you can’t fix the issue.
- Examine the footrests to ensure your legs are well-supported. Make any adjustments if necessary.
- Check for loose wires hanging off the chair’s electrical components. Refer to your manual to see whether the wires should be repositioned or use zip ties to keep them secure.
- Wiggle around in the seat to determine if there are any loose bolts or nuts. If you notice a component or section that’s loose, tighten it.
- Keep an ear out for the motor. If it sounds off, you may need to troubleshoot it. Call a repair shop if you can’t solve the motor problem alone.
Want to learn more about the maintenance of electric wheelchairs? Contact our specialists at Re-New Mobility today. We carry a wide selection of wheelchairs in Winnipeg and are more than happy to help you find the right fit and problem-solve for you.