Accidental wheelchair malfunctions can injure users and restrict their movement and social interaction. Poor wheelchair maintenance practices increase the likelihood of wheelchair malfunctions, which can result in serious injuries or even death. A well-maintained wheelchair will be safer, last longer, and be more comfortable. Here are some helpful wheelchair maintenance tips.
How Frequently Should I Inspect My Wheelchair?
How frequently you perform a maintenance check on your wheelchair depends on the model and the use it's subjected to. Some features are more susceptible to wear and tear than others and may require frequent maintenance to guarantee safe and proper functioning. As a rule of thumb, check the wheelchair brakes, backrest, tire pressure, and any other moving parts every month. Check the quick release mechanism, upholstery, footrest, and anti-tip system, if installed, every three to four months. Correct wheelchair maintenance should also include an annual inspection by an authorized supplier.
Key Elements to Check During Maintenance
Certain components of a wheelchair require more attention than others. Your wheelchair's maintenance and user manual will have detailed information on each component to ensure proper operation. Let’s take a look at a few parts you should keep in mind.
1. Front Wheels
The front wheels of a wheelchair are essential. They should always be checked during maintenance procedures. You should pay close attention to their fit and operation. One of the most frequent issues with front wheels is that they cause the wheelchair to glide erratically or slightly to the left or right. To prevent this, ensure the wheel's angle is adjusted so that both front wheels can freely rotate while still touching the ground.
2. Wheelchair Brakes
Although everyday use is the best way to detect potential problems, a weekly wheelchair brake inspection is advised. Low tire pressure, poor placement, or improperly fitted parts can impair braking efficiency. Wet tires can also affect the performance of wheelchair brakes. That’s why it’s important to ensure your brakes are working properly.
3. Inner Tubes and Tires
The wheelchair's tires and inner tubes must be working well in order to maintain mobility. The proper tire pressure is also key to guaranteeing optimum performance. If the tire pressure is too low, the chair will require more effort to propel forward; if it's too high, the tires may burst or wear down unevenly. Wheelchair manufacturers typically print the recommended tire pressure on the tire.
According to the Census Bureau, they determined disability status using six questions that assess problems with independent living, self-care, walking/climbing stairs, cognition, vision, and hearing. For those with difficulties walking/climbing stairs, a well-maintained wheelchair is key to ensuring mobility. Give us a call today to get a properly working wheelchair and the parts needed to ensure it continues to work well.