Five Electric Wheelchair Maintenance Tips To Keep You On The Move

Electric wheelchairs can be an invaluable tool to help you live your life with independence and dignity, but sometimes they need a little assistance themselves. Without adequate care and maintenance, you may find yourself stranded with a flat tire or smoking engin—a situation that can be dangerous in crowded areas or on streets. In order to stay safe and ensure you get where you need to go, follow these five maintenance procedures to keep your electric wheelchair in top working order. 

Cleaning Up Spilled Liquids

Liquids, especially acidic ones, are never a good combination with electrical wiring. Spilled fluids, including soda, coffee and urine, can all begin to corrode wires, fry circuits and ruin upholstery. You should also avoid exposing your wheelchair to water, meaning it should not be left out in the rain or sprayed down with a hose. If your wheelchair's electrical components are exposed to water, using the wheelchair further could cause irreparable damage. Call a service technician to have it cleaned, inspected and repaired before you use it again. 

Inspecting Nuts and Bolts

About once per month, you or your family member should go over the wheelchair to inspect and tighten its various nuts and bolts. As you navigate the world in your wheelchair, it inevitably accrues wear and tear, and vital pieces can eventually work loose. Check that the moving components all swing easily, and make sure that the axles and frame are still firmly held together. This is also the time to look for any cracks or dents in your frame. 

Protecting Your Wiring in Winter

During the winter months, many cities salt their streets and sidewalks. Your wheelchair is vulnerable to corrosion when exposed to high concentrations of salt, much like a car. Clean your electrical system frequently while the sidewalks are salted; you may need to loosen the electronic connectors to remove buildups. 

Maintaining Wheels and Axles

The wheels and axles are the foundation of any wheelchair. They are responsible for keeping you safe and moving, but they are also exposed to the most stress and damage as you roll along the sidewalk. Look over your tires before you head out to spot any potential leaks, as well as the axles for bent spokes or caught debris. Follow manufacturer guidelines for replacing tires on your wheelchair to prevent any inopportune flats. 

Catching Engine Problems Early

One of the easiest parts of your maintenance routine may also be the most important. Every day, as you start up the wheelchair, stop and listen to its engine for a few moments. As you get used to your wheelchair, you will learn how it normally operates and quickly be able to pick out any irregularities in volume, sound and rhythm. Identifying a problem in the engine soon after it manifests may save you hundreds of dollars in repairs, so call your technician if you suspect that something has changed.