The average manual wheelchair has a lifespan of around four years. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are a huge investment. And, many of the people who use them want to know how they can prolong their life. The truth is that the best way to extend the life of your wheelchair or electric scooter is to clean, service, and repair it regularly.
Not sure how to get started? Check out our electric mobility scooter and wheelchair maintenance checklist to keep your mobility aid in tip-top shape!
Note: This blog will not cover electric mobility scooter battery maintenance. For more info on this topic, contact your local Mobility City!
Why is Wheelchair & Scooter Maintenance Important?
Whether you use a manual or power wheelchair or an electric mobility scooter, your mobility aid is a huge investment. Cleaning and preventative maintenance are your best opportunity at prolonging the life of your mobility equipment and maintaining your own personal safety.
What Tools Will You Need?
Before we dig into the items that should be on your scooter or wheelchair maintenance checklist, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need. Some chairs may come with a small repair kit. But, you’ll likely need to purchase a few other tools in order to complete regular maintenance.
The tools you need may include:
- Screwdrivers (flat and Philips head)
- Adjustable wrench
- Socket wrenches
- Air pump
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tire lever, tubes, and patch kit
- Your owner’s manual
Check your owner’s manual to find out if your wheelchair or scooter requires metric or imperial tools. Using a tool that “nearly” fits can strip screws and bolts over time and make maintenance difficult or impossible.
You may also want a helper (or two) depending on your level of mobility outside of your chair and the maintenance that needs to be completed.
Your Electric Scooter or Wheelchair Maintenance Schedule
Every person and every mobility aid requires different upkeep and maintenance. However, there are some universal tasks that we recommend be competed weekly, monthly, and yearly as part of your electric scooter or wheelchair maintenance checklist.
Weekly Wheelchair and Electric Scooter Maintenance
Most wheelchairs and scooters require simple weekly maintenance that can easily be taken care of at home. Here are three tasks to check off each week:
- Clean – Use a damp cloth and mild detergent to wipe away any dirt or debris on your wheelchair. Focus on the seat, arm rests, and any other areas that come into direct contact with your body.
- Check Tire Pressure – Low tire pressure can make pushing a wheelchair difficult. It can also cause overheating and motor problems with electric scooters. If you don’t have a tire pressure gauge, you can inspect them visually or by giving them a gentle squeeze.
- Check Spokes & Wheel Locks – Check for any bent or broken wheel spokes. Test your wheel locks with the help of an assistant and adjust or tighten them as needed.
Monthly Wheelchair & Scooter Maintenance
The next items on our scooter and wheelchair maintenance checklist should be completed monthly. These tasks are a bit more in-depth and require some basic knowledge about how wheelchairs work. For that reason, many people opt to take their scooter or wheelchair in for service rather than servicing it themselves.
When in doubt, we always recommend utilizing a local wheelchair repair and maintenance professional who knows the intricacies of your mobility equipment.
Here are the maintenance tasks that should be completed monthly:
- Clean – In addition to a quick weekly wipe-down, your wheelchair or scooter will benefit from a more in-depth cleaning each month. Spray a wheelchair-safe cleaner onto a clean cloth and wipe down the seat, frame, and wheels.
- Wax – Waxing your wheelchair or scooter frame helps protect the paint and prevent dirt buildup. It’s best to use a wax made for wheelchairs, but many multi-purpose bike and car waxes will also do the job.
- Check Wheel Alignment – Line your chair up 6 inches away from a straight line like the edge of a rug, floor board, or curb. For wheelchairs, give one straight push forward and allow your chair to coast. For scooters, shift for ward on the joystick until you’ve gone 10-15 feet. Then, see if there is any change in the distance to your guide line. If your wheel chair is out of alignment, we recommend visiting a wheelchair repair professional who can help you check this item off of your scooter and wheelchair maintenance checklist.
- Check Bolts and Screws – Finally, you’ll want to give your chair a once-over to identify any loose bolts or screws as well as any other issues with your mobility equipment. Loose elements should be tightened and any more concerning issues should be brought to a professional wheelchair and scooter repair service.
- Make Fit Adjustments – Not getting the support you need from your footrest? Struggling with posture because of a loose back cushion? This is the perfect opportunity to make any fit adjustments you may need, as well as replacing cushions, covers, and other add-ons.
Annual Wheelchair & Electric Scooter Maintenance
The final piece of your electric scooter or wheelchair maintenance schedule is getting annual service from a trained professional. Even if your wheelchair is operating smoothly, having an expert take a look can prevent expensive fixes down the line.
We know that for many, being without their wheelchair or scooter is extremely difficult. At Mobility City, we offer convenient mobile repairs from our van – often with same-day service! Our goal is to get you back to your wheelchair as quickly and safely as possible.
Here are the tasks your maintenance professional should complete each year:
- Inspection – Having an annual inspection is one of the best ways to ensure your scooter or wheelchair will stay in working order for years to come. A professional will inspect and test each component of your scooter or wheelchair, and their trained eye will help them identify and fix issues quickly and affordably before they result in more serious issues.
- Required Maintenance – Once your wheelchair or scooter has been inspected, the technician will liely suggest routine maintenance based on their findings. This may include replacing tires, breaks, wheels, foot rests, and more.
While this can be one of the more expensive items on your scooter and wheelchair maintenance checklist, it is one of the best ways to keep your mobility aid in working order for years to come. And, by completing appropriate weekly and monthly maintenance, you can avoid big repairs at the end of the year.
- Deep Cleaning – Your annual maintenance appointment is also a great time to have your scooter or wheelchair deep cleaned and sanitized. At Mobility City, we use a chemical-free steam cleaning program that kills 99% of bacteria and viruses.