By Pieter Joubert
A wheelchair should be maintained so that it will last and work properly. When wheelchairs break down, it becomes a problem to move around independently and get involved socially.
There are many things that a wheelchair user, caregiver or family member can do to maximise the chair’s lifetime and usefulness.
When purchasing a wheelchair, read the supplier’s manual on preventive maintenance. This contains specifics of caring for the particular make of wheelchair. Keep the manual for future reference after you have read it.
Take proper care of your wheelchair.
Guide to regular maintenance for a wheelchair
Give the chair a thorough cleaning on a regular basis with a soft, damp cloth and keep dirt out of the mechanisms. Cleanliness is important so that dirt does not get into the gears, motors, or other parts.
Check tyre pressure and ensure that the wheel locks are still tightly attached to the frame and that they are easy to activate.
Look at the axle housing and clean away any dirt.
Examine the front casters to check for looseness, misalignment, or wobbling.
Check that removable parts, like the leg rests or back rests, are comfortable. They can be easily removed and put back on.
Some routine maintenance and inspection procedures may not be possible. Contact the supplier and make an appointment to have the wheelchair serviced. Do not allow people who are not trained to do repairs and tamper with your wheelchair; rather have a service provider look at it.
Check the battery and connections regularly. Charge the battery when the charge level is half. The battery will last longer if you charge it after usage. Check joystick controls to make sure they are operating properly. Do not switch on or tamper with the joystick whilst charging.
Do not pick up a charger on its wires as they will become loose and you will not be able to charge your wheelchair.
A well-maintained wheelchair can last for many years. Do not allow people to play or tamper with your wheelchair. A wheelchair is a necessity for you to be able to move around independently.