Maintaining Your Powered Wheelchair
Powered wheelchairs are pretty hardy and don’t require a lot of maintenance. They are designed to last a long time, but for the wheelchair to perform at its best capacity for a long period of time, some basic maintenance is encouraged. Before you get into maintaining it, you need to first understand the components of your powered wheelchair. All wheelchairs come with a user’s manual, and you can read the manual to understand better what needs to be done to keep the wheelchair in good shape.
- General Maintenance
By general, we mean taking good care of the wheelchair by keeping it clean, and handling it with care. Try to make it a point to wipe down the chair and do some basic cleaning of parts that are accessible externally. Be careful to not use any chemicals or products that could possibly damage the wheelchair. Inspect all other parts based on the manual or manufacturer recommendation.
- Battery Maintenance
Typically, a powered wheelchair will come with a battery pack and a charger. To keep your battery pack healthy, keep it charged at all times, but stick to a good charging cycle. A good cycle would be charging it to its full capacity, and then using it till it is almost out of battery. The same concept is used for most battery powered device these days. A good idea would be to charge it overnight while you sleep. Like most modern day battery-powered devices, there should be an auto-discharge function in the battery pack. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about overcharging the battery. Also, never attempt to use a different charger. Use only the one provided and meant for the wheelchair.
- Tires Maintenance
Do a monthly check of the condition and wear of the tires, especially the drive tires. If the threads are low, it can become a safety hazard because braking might not be as effective, and there is a chance for tire slippage. Maneuvering of a powered wheelchair also relies on the grip of the tires aside from the sensitivity of the steers. If tires need changing, contact your manufacturer or an expert to proceed with the necessary action.
- Joystick Maintenance
The joysticks on powered wheelchairs are not easy to get damaged, but over the years, it may become loose or lose its sensitivity. What you can do is monitor the response of the joystick to your selected movements, see if it returns to its original position effectively, check if the rubber parts are loose. If needed, again, get in touch with your manufacturer or a local expert and ask them what can be done to repair or maintain your joystick. A good tip is to always keep the joystick dry. So if you are on the move in the rain, throw a plastic bag over the panel to prevent water from seeping into the panel.
Like any powered vehicle, there are many other things to consider in maintaining your powered wheelchair but this are are the four main items. Manufacturers are always happy to support if any case needed. So get in touch with them if you require any assistance.