You rely on your power wheelchair to provide you with independence throughout the day. It takes care of you, but how do you take care of it? It is important to stay on top of the maintenance of your power wheelchair to keep it running smoothly and ensure your independence. Here are some things you need to keep in mind for power wheelchair maintenance, so you can stay on the move!
The most common questions consumers ask are:
- What can I do to take care of my power wheelchair?
- Is there a routine maintenance schedule I can follow to extend the life of my power chair?
- Is this noise normal?
- When should I call my provider for service?
These are just a few of the topics that should be discussed at the time of delivery or fitting of your new electric wheelchair.
What Can I Do to Take Care of My Power Wheelchair?
Proper charging of your power wheelchair is paramount. Here’s the best rule of thumb: if you use your power chair every day, charge it every day. A normal battery charge will take approximately 8 hours to completely charge your batteries. Anything less can cause your batteries to lose their range, or how long you can go without charging them. Batteries are the lifeline to your power wheelchair. If the batteries are not holding their charge, contact your provider for service. If you find that you need to charge your batteries more than the normal once per day, contact your provider for service.
Is There a Routine Maintenance Schedule I Can Follow?
A service check should be done once a year. This is to ensure that your power wheelchair is in proper working order. A service check entails having a multi-point inspection completed by a certified technician, who can replace wear-and-tear items such as caster wheels, drive tires, arm pads and sometimes batteries. Once a month, it is a best practice for you or your caregiver to do a visual check on your power chair. This ensures that your power wheelchair visually looks okay. Pay close attention to:
- Caster wheels
- Drive tires
- Shrouds (especially in the rear of the power chair)
A few minutes per month goes a long way to keep your power wheelchair working for you.
Is This Noise Normal?
When it comes to an electric wheelchair, motors DO make noise. There are moving components within motors that make the power wheelchair move. Yet not all noises are normal. So, it’s important to know which noises you should be concerned with.
If you hear noises like grinding and popping, contact your dealer. If you suddenly notice a grinding noise coming from the right-side motor and it pulls to the right, you should contact your provider and have them check your wheelchair.
When Should I Call My Provider for Service?
Any time you hear grinding or popping, you should contact your dealer, and let them determine if it’s an issue that can be fixed over the phone or if they should send a technician out to have a look at your power wheelchair. It’s best to contact them when the symptom starts and your wheelchair is still working, instead of waiting until the wheelchair stops working entirely. This way you are still mobile while you are waiting for the technician’s visit to assess what is going on or while waiting or parts and repairs.