Have you ever thought about wheelchair maintenance? Although you might not think this information is relevant to you, each year two million Americans become wheelchair users. This could be you or a family member. Knowing how to maintain a wheelchair makes using one much more stress-free. Of course, you might already be a new wheelchair user but not know where to start. The following information can help with that!
General maintenance includes ensuring there are no loose screws (or nuts or bolts), rough edges, torn material, or worn padding, all of which can cause injury. We can further break wheelchair maintenance down by the part of the chair: arms, back, large wheels, casters (the smaller front wheels), wheel locks, foot and leg rests, and the seat and frame.
Helpful Tips for Safety
Here are some tips to remember:
- Ensure that arm, back slide, footrest, and caster locks work. Adjustable arms should lock in place and side panels should be secure.
- Look for bent or broken back brace joints and caster forks and stems. Tighten loose handgrips. Check that the headrest and reclining backs work.
- Check the tire pressure for all wheels before verifying that the locks engage. Spin wheels and casters to check they spin easily and straight without squeaking, wobbling, or fluttering. Spokes should be tight, and axle plates hub cabs secured. Tires should have no gaps or cracks in the rims and have minimal leakage. Front and rear axle sleeves must be the same distance.
- Push chairs on a flat surface to ensure they don't veer more than a foot.
- Verify the leg adjustment rod has no scratches that can impede function.
The Seat and the Frame
The seat and frame require a bit more maintenance before a wheelchair is ready and safe to use. Check that the material connects snugly to the wheelchair frame and the carrying straps are not damaged. Fold the chair to make sure the cross-braces don't stick before checking if the center pin nut that connects them is secure. Folding also checks if posts remain in their sockets and don't touch the caster forks that hold casters in place. Additionally, visually check the frame for straightness.
Of course, if you use a motorized wheelchair, maintenance will differ. You don't necessarily need to know how to diagnose motor problems, but you do need to charge the battery and obtain professional help when issues arise that are beyond your ability to resolve. For more information, contact DME Hub today!