Manual wheelchair maintenance normally depends on the model of the chair, and the nature of the task in which the wheelchair is being subjected to. What you have to know is that some wheelchair parts experience extreme tear and wear than others. These parts should also be in their perfect condition in order for the wheelchair to function properly and ensure your safety.
A general rule requires you to inspect the pressure at least once or twice a month, and the brake condition, the backrest, and every moving component installed in your wheelchair. Besides, it is recommended that you inspect the quick release system, footrest, the anti-tip system as well as the upholstery at least once or twice in 3 to 4 months to make sure that everything is working as it should.. Do not forget to clean the chair frame too.
Proper maintenance of a wheelchair must include an annual inspection from an authorized dealer who has enough experience with the product and how to make different repairs on it. An authorized dealer is able to help you with ad-hoc maintenance problems in case you come across anything that needs special attention during the inspection process.
Major elements: Basic things that you should inspect in your wheelchair
Inside the user and maintenance manual that comes with your wheelchair, you will be able to identify special key points detailing every element. This will explain the correct operation of each element, making it possible to verify if they are operating, as they should.
The wheelchair brakes
It is recommended that you have a weekly inspection of your wheelchair brakes even though the user is still allowed to handle any possible issues that may occur during the wheelchair daily operations.
The inefficiency in the braking system can be caused by improper placement or by any poorly configured component. Besides, low tire pressure can lead to the poor functioning of the braking system too. Wet tires are known to be a source of poor braking mechanism. Inspect these points to make sure that the brakes are working as they should.
The front wheels of the wheelchair
The front wheels of the wheelchair are extremely important. They have to be inspected to ensure that they are in their best condition. This is one of the fundamental steps needed in order to full fill a proper maintenance procedure. Pay more attention to the wheels’ stability as well as functionality.
One of the most experienced problems is unpredictable wheelchair movements or the wheelchair failing to move in a straight line and moves slightly to the left or right. In order to prevent this, you have to inspect the angle and play of the wheels and ensure that they are properly adjusted in a way that both front wheels can touch the surface and rotate freely.
The tires and inner tubes of the wheelchair
The tires and inner tubes have to be in their best conditions as they are very important when it comes to maintenance and mobility. The proper tire pressure is so crucial in ensuring the best performance of the wheelchair. In case the pressure is extremely low, you will use extreme energy to propel the chair as it will not move and maneuver smoothly. And in case the pressure is extremely high, the tires might end up bursting or they might experience unevenly wear down. Normally, you will find the recommended tire pressure printed upon the tire itself by the manufacturer. Make sure that you keep your tire pressure within that range.
The wheelchair tires are not different from those tires installed in bicycles, and fitting them follows the same procedures just like fitting a tire in a bicycle. Before you fit in the inner tube, you have to ensure that the wheel rim interior as well as the inner tire is entirely clean. Do not forget to inspect the pressure as soon as you are done with fitting the tire.
General care and maintenance of the wheelchair
- Inspect the tires: Take a look at the pressure as well as the overall condition of the tire at least once a month.
- Inspect the brakes: Inspect the brakes to be sure if they are properly tuned and working as they should while paying attention to the fittings.
- Inspect the screws for safety: Inspect all the joints as these are extremely important when it comes to the user’s safety. Make sure that they are safely locked using special bolts.
- Make the necessary cleaning of the chair frame: Use a detergent to do the cleaning. Make sure that you use soap and water to clean the cushion and backrest. In case you are not sure of anything refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
- Always use original spare parts for any replacement: In case you need to replace any part use only original parts or those recommended by the manufacturer.
- When the wheelchair seat is wet: Ensure that you dry it after you are done using the wheelchair, and never store the seat while it is still wet. You should always clean your wheelchair in case it gets into contact with salt or sand as they can both damage the bearings of the wheel through friction that will cause them to wear off quickly.
- Apply a small amount of grease or oil over the axes for easy disassembly. Do this depending on how often do you use your wheelchair. It is recommended that you lubricate your wheelchair at least once per month. Moving parts must all be lubricated when you start experiencing any difficult in moving your wheelchair or if you start hearing cracking sounds while moving your wheelchair.
- In case you need to store your wheelchair for a long time, make sure that you cover it and store it in a dry place. Also make sure that it is protected from the sun as well as room temperature. When you need to use it again, then undertake a complete wheelchair inspection process to make sure that every component is working properly.