Maintaining Your Manual Wheelchair

JAY J3 Carbon wheelchair back

Proper wheelchair maintenance is key to ensuring the mobility, performance, and safety of your equipment. In this post we'll touch upon some of the recommendations for the daily care of your wheelchair and upon which things you should check most regularly.

How often do I have to check over my wheelchair?

The maintenance of a manual wheelchair depends upon the model and the type of use it is subjected to. Keep in mind that certain features are subject to greater wear and tear, and so much always be in perfect condition in order to ensure their proper function and safety.

As a general rule you should check the tire pressure every week, as well as the condition of the brakes, the backrest, and all moving parts. Correctly maintaining a wheelchair should also include an annual check by an authorized supplier that is familiar with the product and how to carry out repairs on it.

Key elements: basic check for your wheelchair

In the owner's manual for your wheelchair you will find specific points that cover each of these elements so you can verify the correct procedure for your wheelchair.

Wheel Locks

A weekly check of the wheel locks is recommended, though the user is best qualified to pick up on any possible issues through daily use.

Braking efficiency can be impaired by poor placement or by an incorrectly adjusted part, as well as low tire pressure. Wet tires can also lead to poor wheel lock performance. Check these points to confirm that your brakes are working properly.

Front casters

A wheelchair's front casters are very important and should be checked as part of any proper maintenance procedure, paying attention to their fit and functionality.

One of the most common problems is that the wheelchair does not move fluidly or that it moves slightly to the left or to the right. To avoid this, check that the play and angle of the caster are adjusted enough so that both front casters touch the ground and can rotate freely. Refer to the owner's manual for proper torque settings.

Tires and inner tubes

It is essential for the mobility and maintenance of the wheelchair that the tires and inner tubes be in good condition. The correct tire pressure is also important in order to ensure the best possible performance. If the pressure is too low, it will require greater effort to propel the chair as it will not roll or maneuver as freely. If the pressure is too high it could cause the tires to burst or to wear down unevenly. As a general rule, the recommended tire pressure is usually printed on the tire itself by the manufacturer.

Wheelchair tires are similar to those used on bicycles, so fitting them follows the same process. Before fitting the inner tube, make sure that the inside of the wheel rim and the inner tire are clean. It is important to check the pressure once it has been fitted.

A man having his wheelchair checked over by a technician

General wheelchair care and maintenance

  • Check the tires (pressure and general condition) every three months.
  • Check that the wheel locks are working correctly and are properly tuned, paying special attention to the fittings. This should be done weekly.
  • Check every 3-4 months that all screws are secure. Check that all of the joints that are important for user safety are self-locking with special bolts.
  • Clean the frame of the chair using a mild detergent. The backrest and cushion should only be cleaned using soap and water. If in doubt, check the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Use only original parts or those recommended by your wheelchair's manufacturer.
  • If the seat gets wet, try to dry it after use and do not store it while still wet. The wheelchair should also be cleaned after coming into contact with sand or salt (for example, after being at the beach) as both can damage the wheel bearings.
  • If you plan to store your wheelchair for a long period of time, try to cover it and leave it in a dry place that is protected from the sun and at room temperature. Before using it again, you should undertake a complete wheelchair maintenance check.

As you can see, these steps are very easy to follow and will help you to extend the lifespan of your wheelchair and simplify its day-to-day use.

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Date: 4/24/2018 12:00:00 AM

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