Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your wheelchair. Wheelchairs are meant to be long-term investments, especially because 20% of the world's poorest people have disabilities and may need them. Typically, a wheelchair will last for around four years. But a wheelchair can last longer if you maintain it and replace parts that need to be replaced regularly. Perhaps the most important that need to be replaced are the brakes.
Not only do wheelchair brakes need to be maintained to protect your investment, but wheelchairs are also simply much safer to use when you maintain the brakes properly. The last thing you want is your wheelchair brakes failing you unexpectedly. With that in mind, let's look into three of the main signs that you should replace your wheelchair brakes.
1. They Can't Be Secured
One of the main signs that it's time to replace your wheelchair brakes is if you can't easily and efficiently secure them. Wheelchair brakes must always be tightly secured to the chair's frame, and if this is not possible, the brakes will not work as they should. Every month, you should check your brakes for looseness. If they are continuously loose or cannot be secure as they should be, it may be time for you to have the brakes replaced.
2. They're Unable to Unlock
As important as it is for your wheelchairs to lock promptly, it's also important that they unlock as needed. Brakes that remain locked all the time equal a wheelchair that doesn't move easily, and then you'll be stuck in place. As long as your brakes can unlock, sometimes with the assistance of oil, you should be able to move forward with your chair as is. However, brakes that are too old may be unable to lubricate properly and therefore would need to be replaced entirely.
3. The Brakes Catch
When we refer to brakes catching, we mean that the brakes are in a position wherein an individual's thumb may be caught while they are self-propelling. At times, these brakes can be shifted to accommodate these issues. Due to age, in some cases, they are stuck in place. If there is a risk of catching, your brakes need to be replaced immediately.
Make sure that you maintain your wheelchair properly. It's quite the investment!