Does your wheelchair wobble or get stuck as you try to propel yourself around? Do the moving parts of your wheelchairs that fold produce screeching sounds as you fold them? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it’s time you started performing wheelchair maintenance and repair.
A regular regimen of wheelchair maintenance ensures that your wheelchair is in good working condition. This post presents to you tips on how to perform wheelchair maintenance for your manual wheelchair.
Checking the Wheelchair Inner Tubes and Tires
The mobility of your wheelchair can diminish if the inner tube and tires of your wheelchair get damaged. Low tire pressure is the most common problem, which hampers your wheelchair’s mobility. When the tires aren’t well-inflated, you’ll find that you have to exert more energy to direct and propel your wheelchair.
Over-inflating your wheelchair tires isn’t good either. The high pressure may make the tire’s tube to burst or wear down unevenly. As such, it’s advisable to check your wheelchair’s manual and adhere to the inflation pressure range recommended by the manufacturer of your wheelchair. You should also clean the wheel rims daily to get rid of any dirt that the wheels pick as you propel your wheelchair outdoors.
Clean the Wheelchair and Prevent Exposure to Water
You should use a damp cloth to wipe clean the wheelchair’s frame. You can also use a smooth bristled brush to remove any dust and dirt that clings to the upholstery. Ensure that no dirt or water gets into the rear and front wheels’ bearings as you use your wheelchair. You should also store your wheelchair in places where it can’t get wet.
Always fold wheelchairs that fold, and keep them in a dry place away from direct sunshine. The sunshine may damage the leather or upholstery of the wheelchair. If you have to store your wheelchair in a place where it may get exposed to direct sunlight, then you should have it covered.
Check The Braking System.
A wrong placement or incorrect adjustments can degrade the efficiency of your braking system. Low-pressure and wet tires can also impair the effectiveness of the braking system. Checking for the problems, which cause braking system failure, can help you determine whether your wheelchair brakes are in good condition.
Check The Front Wheelchair Wheels.
The front wheels of your wheelchair play a crucial role in wheelchair propulsion, turning, and stabilization. When making weekly checks, always take time to assess the functioning, condition, and fit of your wheelchair’s front wheels. When the front wheels aren’t well aligned, you’ll experience non-fluid movements, and slight left or right turns. To correct this problem, you should adjust the play and angle of the front wheels until they rotate in a free way when touching a flat ground.
Check The Bolts and Screws on Your Wheelchair to Ensure They’re Tight.
You should check for any loose bolts and screws and tighten them. Tightening them avoids squeaking and screeching sounds that occur when you propel or fold the wheelchairs that fold. You should check the bolts and screws on the pivots, front casters, hand rim, braking system, footrests, x-brace, and rear and front axles. But ensure that you don’t tighten these parts a little too much because wheelchairs that fold may be hard to fold or steer.
You should take your wheelchair to any nearby authorized supplier who is familiar with your brand of wheelchair and its repair for an annual check.
The U.S gets an estimated 2 million new wheelchair users each year. All these people incur considerable expenses in buying these expensive assistive equipment. To prevent such costs from becoming a burden, purchased wheelchairs that fold should be taken care of well.
Following the maintenance recommendations made above can extend the lifespan of your wheelchair and prevent the need to always replace your wheelchair. As such, it’s always advisable to adhere to the recommendations on wheelchair maintenance found within your user manual.