Electric wheelchair maintenance should be treated like how we maintain
a car as a owner. Frequent maintenance will reduce the likelihood of
more severe problems in the future as problems will be detected early.
It will cost more to repair a problematic electric wheelchair than a
weekly 1 hour maintenance. By doing this, we are also extending the
lifespan of the wheelchair by polishing or replacing squeaky and loose
parts. Maintaining electric wheelchairs is more complex than a manual
wheelchair as the former involves electronic components while the
latter only mechanical parts. Wheelchair maintenance of any types can
be summarized into 3 small but important steps: Inspect, Adjust and
Clean the critical parts of the wheelchair motor and seating system.
Tightening a bolt in the mobility system can go a long way improving
the overall operation efficiency of the wheelchair and saving you time
You need not be an expert or qualified wheelchair specialist to do electric wheelchair maintenance of your own. Frequent checks of the core components will suffice. The first step is to apply war wax on the frame of the used electric wheelchairs on a regular basis. You also have to clean the wheelchair and tighten the bolts. Users with weak arms should engage the help of family to tighten the screws and bolts. This is to prevent them loosening during movements and go missing.
Doing self wheelchair maintenance gives the user the opportunity to develop ownership over his equipment. This can also build up the user's trust and confidence in the reliability, safety and robustness of the electric wheelchair system.
The other step of electric wheelchair maintenance is to clean the dirt and sand from the wheelchair's wheels as they might cause unbalance movement. Sand particles cause constant friction during wheelchair movements and, after prolonged periods, will wear off the wheel system and rusting will occur. Sometimes, hair can also be found lodged in the wheel axles and have to be removed as well.
Users also have to ensure that the axle and axle plate of the wheels are tight to prevent dirt and sand from creeping in. Loose axles will break under the weight of users and force of movements.
The tires are also important. They need to have the optimal pressure just like that of the car tires. Tires with low pressure will consume more power from the motors of the electric wheelchairs as it has to work harder to propel the wheelchair forward. Just imagine pushing a manual wheelchair with flat tires and you will know how much energy it consumes from a human, much less a motor. Consuming more power will consequently cause the battery to go flat faster and users have to search for points to recharge the electric wheelchair battery.
Electric wheelchair seat and backrest have to be tightened and straightened. This is for the benefit of the user in ensuring good seating posture and body support. Poor seating positions will cause physiological damage to the user in the long run. Spinal and back muscle injuries are common by effects of improper seat postures.
Lastly, for users who are unable to perform the above tasks on his own, please approach your friends and family for assistance. In any case, they are definitely cheaper and less hassle than when your electric wheelchair malfunctions.
Things You Will NeedA small toolbox with essentials such as screwdrivers and spanners. A pincer. Cotton pads and lubricating oil.
Hope electric wheelchair users and care givers can benefit from the tips above on how to maintain the electric wheelchair.