Wheelchair Maintenance Basics for the Average User
Hearing a squeak from your wheelchair lately? Listen closely. Wheelchair maintenance can eliminate that squeak. It may be so easy to miss because you have probably become accustomed to it. Feeling a rattle occasionally from your wheelchair? Pay attention. Your wheelchair needs your attention to keep it maintained in functional condition. It is very important that the wheelchair is working smoothly and no parts are loose or missing. Most manufacturers recommend an annual “check-up” for a wheelchair. It’s all about your safety in the wheelchair.
Here are some Wheelchair Maintenance Basics:
The caster wheels, those little wheels at the front of the wheelchair, might be the source of the sound or rattle. Check them regularly to see if there is dirt or debris stuck on the wheels, and causing them to scrape, squeak, or rattle. The caster wheels should be set firmly in the forks and should move freely. If there are missing bearings, washers, or screws in the fork assembly or in the vertical axle that attaches to the fork to the chair’s frame, get them replaced as soon as possible.
Read about “Cleaning Wheelchair Wheels”
Frame, Axle and Wheels
The folding frame of a wheelchair should be rigid, not wiggly. The axle holding on the big wheels should be steady and the wheels should move smoothly. So, if there is a problem with an axle on the chair, then get that checked out.
Wheels are likely to become worn overtime. How old is your wheelchair? It is likely that your wheels are the same age. So, look them over closely. They can be replaced; your dealer can do this. You can make them last longer by keeping them clean. See our blog “Cleaning Wheelchair Wheels”
Seat and Back
Is the seat of your wheelchair sagging and sinking? That can really hurt your hips and back when you sit for long periods. You can tighten your sling seat to remedy the problem. Or, replace your sling seat to help you sit up straight.
The back of your wheelchair may bulge over time also. This hurts your posture and your back. The back can be tightened. If tightening it does not stop the bulge, then replace it.
Get out your Manual
Your wheelchair maintenance manual is a valuable source of information in solving these maintenance problems. You will find the name, model number, and specifications of the wheelchair in it. Including a list of parts that can be replaced and how to do some simple maintenance yourself with a screwdriver. Also, it will also have the manufacturer’s customer service phone number, so you can call and ask for help. You can order new parts from the manufacturer, or you can contact a dealer who can order parts and replace them for you. If you cannot find your manual, then contact the dealer; he will probably tell you where you can download one online. You could also find the manufacturer’s website and get customer service to help you with getting a manual.
Don’t squeak, rattle, and roll in your wheelchair. You depend on it for safe mobility. Get out your chair’s manual, and look over your wheelchair, then learn to do wheelchair maintenance basics.
Stay Safe and Healthy at Home!