A wheelchair is a crucial independence aid to many people with disabilities, and therefore it’s important to care for it properly and put a regular maintenance routine in place. This will ensure that it is always safe to use and will prolong its efficiency and lifespan. Here is a guide to help you get the most out of your wheelchair

Check the wheels

The wheels should be checked regularly; the frequency with which they need to be thoroughly inspected will depend on the make and model of the wheelchair; how heavily it is used and what type of terrain it tackles; and the specific recommendations of the manufacturer or supplier. 

The condition of the front wheels in particular is important to ensure a safe, smooth and comfortable ride. Remove any dirt and debris that could be impacting on the steering and rotation, or cause jamming. The tyre pressure should also be checked to ensure that it is at the correct level and to avoid uneven wear and tear.

The recommended tyre pressure should be printed on the tyre wall. When you are checking the pressure of both the front and rear tyres, check the tread to make sure it is at the safe minimum levels and that there are no bald patches. If there are, the tyre should be replaced before further use to avoid the risk of skidding and punctures. 

The wheel alignment should be checked to ensure that the chair steers correctly and that the tyres wear evenly. The wheels can become misaligned through impacts and bumpy surfaces. 

Check the brakes

The brakes are obviously crucial to ensure that the wheel chair is safe to use. They should be checked regularly, particularly for efficacy on inclines and uneven surfaces. The brakes should engage and release smoothly and promptly and the brake pads and cables should be in good condition. 

The wheelchair frame

The frame should be checked for any loose screws and signs of rust or other damage. Clean and oil the frame if it is subject to outdoor weather conditions to protect it from wear and tear. 

Upholstery

Check the upholstery for any sign of wear, rips, worn patches or sagging. If the cushion has become flat or misshapen, consider replacing it to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic ride and reduce the risk of pressure sores. Clean the upholstery with mild detergent to remove dirt and odours if necessary. 

Annual service

On top of these routine checks, it’s also recommended that the wheelchair is serviced annually by an approved supplier so that it can benefit from expert attention and any faults are picked up before they escalate into a more serious problem. This regular care and attention will prolong the durability and ensure that you get the best out of your chair.