In much the same way that handicap vans need routine maintenance to stay in perfect shape, and get you to and from everywhere you need to go, the wheelchair you or the person you care for uses needs routine maintenance, too.
And, much like there are different maintenance tips for every type of vehicle and further maintenance instructions for the specific components to that vehicle, there’s different maintenance care required for every type of wheelchair.
Developing Maintenance Habits
If you develop and stick to a routine for taking care of your wheelchair, eventually it will just become habit. Until then, we suggest making a list of daily and monthly tasks to keep your wheelchair in perfect working order.
One of the best daily tasks you can do for your wheelchair is to wipe it down with a damp washcloth. Ideally, this would be done after it’s done being occupied for the day, but any light washing will keep the fabric on the seat, arm rests, and foot rests from breaking down and becoming greasy. Additionally, this will help your chair look newer longer.
Every month, you should give the wheelchair a good looking over. This means checking for loose nuts and bolts, and tightening anything that feels even slightly loose.
Additionally, checking all moving parts (foot rests, wheel axles, etc.) to see if they need to be tightened. Doing this will ensure the safety of your wheelchair and keep the chair in working order.
Tasks Specific to Power Wheelchairs
For power wheelchairs, it’s important to listen to your motor so you can easily determine if something might be wrong with it.
To do this, make sure to become familiar with the sound of your wheelchair when it’s new. By doing this, you’ll be more accustomed to the sound and can identify when the wheelchair sounds increase. Increased noise can indicate the start of a problem, so if you notice additional sounds, make sure to get your wheelchair looked at as soon as possible.
Like any other product, it’s important to read the owner’s/user’s manual for your specific wheelchair. There may be additional routine maintenance suggestions your wheelchair manufacturer has for keeping your wheelchair working like new.