It is estimated that about 650 million people (an equivalent of 10% of the world’s population) live with a disability. If your disability confines you to a wheelchair, there’s a need to undertake routine wheelchair maintenance checks so that it performs optimally.
The maintenance of manual wheelchair is based on brands, models, and other aspects relating to its purpose (sports activity vs daily use). The maintenance time can vary from between 3 to 5 months for footrests and seats, or monthly basis for air pressure on off road wheelchair tires.
The good thing about regular maintenance checks is that it extends your wheelchair lifespan. You wouldn’t want your wheelchair to break down unexpectedly, leaving you in distress, especially if you’ve got an active lifestyle.
Here are some of the things that should be top of your wheelchair maintenance checklist
You should do a visual inspection on off road wheelchair tires if you’re looking for signs of wear and tear, or if it’s an emergency repair. Even if you’re confident with your maintenance skills, it’s always advisable that you let a wheelchair tires dealer fix it for you.
The dealer is in a better position to check for any underlying issues like a slow puncture and can advise on whether or not your off road wheelchair tires should be changed. If you’re going for new tires, think about your daily routines. There are plenty of options from sporting, speed, to all-terrain.
Wheelchair inner tubes are among the items that you should have in your emergency kit. You may need one at a time when you don’t want problems with your off road wheelchair tires. Inner tunes require no maintenance. This is because flat off road wheelchair tires issues can be easily resolved by replacing the inner tubes.
The wheelchair backrest is an essential part of wheelchair comfort and safety. It provides exceptional comfort to the user by supporting posture and eliminating fatigue on the shoulder, neck, and arms.
When doing a visual inspection, check out for any signs of a crack on areas holding the backrest to ensure that there are no signs of misalignment or damage. If you see signs of damage, it’s best to look for a professional to repair it.
Footrests for wheelchairs are designed to reduce fatigue, relieve pain, and reduce pressure on joints. During your routine maintenance, you have to check your footrest for proper positioning and alignment. The footrest should be properly positioned and aligned to avoid issues where a user has one foot higher than the other as this can cause back pains. Make sure that the bolts are properly tightened as loose ones can cause misalignments. Ensure that you loosen up the bolt, align the footrest then tighten it up in the right position. In case of a severely bent footrest, they may need a replacement.
The wheelchair frame should be checked monthly, or anytime you hear a different noise. Regardless, you should follow your manual when inspecting your wheelchair. A visual inspection should check whether there are signs of a crack on the chair.
If cracks aren’t identified on time, they can lead to accidents and fatal injuries. If you notice any cracks on your chair structure, get in touch with a designated repair shop or your dealer. It’s advisable not to use your wheelchair if there is any visible damage unless a professional gives you the go-ahead.
Routine maintenance prolongs your wheelchair life, but this can only happen if your wheelchair is clean. It also has to be comfortable. This means that it should not only move, but every ride has to be enjoyable. Bottom line, don’t push your wheelchair 100% all the time. You have to gain momentum as you ride slowly. The chair is designed for users, not the other way around, don’t you think?!
Once you take your hands off the wheel, let it keep spinning and only spin when it starts slowing down.