You’ve finally received your power wheelchair and are excited to embark on a new chapter of independence and mobility. However, to ensure your chair continues to provide trouble-free performance, it requires maintenance checks. In this guide, we’ll provide you with essential power wheelchair maintenance tips for beginners, so you can keep your chair running smoothly and extend its lifespan.

1. Initial

Before you start using your power wheelchair, there are a few important initial steps to take:

Read Your Owner’s Manual

The manual that comes with your power chair contains valuable information on how your specific chair works and how to use it effectively. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the manual to understand the features, controls, and maintenance requirements of your chair.

Write Down Serial and Phone Numbers

Your owner’s manual will also include the serial number of your chair and important phone numbers for the manufacturer and repairs. Make sure to write these down for easy access in case you need assistance or repairs.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

Sit in your wheelchair and make sure it fits your body properly. While doing this initial test, run your hands along the frame to feel for any imperfections or sharp edges. If you notice anything off, take care of these issues as soon as possible. If you’re uncomfortable addressing them yourself, seek help from a repair shop or professional.

2. Daily

Daily maintenance checks on your power wheelchair will help you identify potential issues early on. Here are some daily maintenance tasks to incorporate into your routine:

Notice Anything Unusual

Pay attention to any changes or abnormalities in how your chair operates. If you notice unusual noises, vibrations, or difficulties in maneuvering, it may indicate a problem that needs attention.

Monitor Battery Health

Your power chair’s battery is crucial for its operation. Check the battery level regularly to ensure it’s adequately charged. If you notice a significant decrease in battery life or difficulty turning on the chair, it may be a sign that the battery needs replacement or repair.

Store Your Chair in a Dry Location

Power wheelchairs are susceptible to damage from moisture. Avoid leaving your chair in wet or humid conditions, as it can lead to corrosion and electric issues. If your chair gets wet, dry it thoroughly before use. 

3. Weekly

In addition to daily checks, weekly maintenance tasks will help keep your power wheelchair in optimal condition.

Clean Your Chair

Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining the appearance and functionality of your power wheelchair. Use a damp cloth and mild detergent to clean the plastic and metal parts of the chair. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that may scratch the surface. Pay special attention to areas where dirt, mud, or debris may accumulate.

Check Tire Pressure

Keep your wheelchair stable and easy to maneuver by regularly checking and adjusting the tire pressure. Use a gauge to measure and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or the owner’s manual for the right tire pressure. Inflate or deflate as necessary to keep the tires in the recommended range.

Inspect Wheelchair Structure

Take the time to visually inspect the various components of your power wheelchair. Look for loose hardware, stress points, or signs of damage on the seating system, armrests, and front riggings. Tighten any loose bolts or screws and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage. 

4. Monthly

Monthly tasks will help you address minor issues and keep your power wheelchair in top condition.

Deep Clean Your Chair

While regular cleaning is sufficient for day-to-day maintenance, a monthly deep clean will help remove any built-up dirt or grime. Use a mild cleanser and a soft cloth to clean the vinyl seat thoroughly. Avoid using chemicals that may cause the seat to become slippery or crack. 

It may also be worth waxing the frame to protect your chair’s paint job. There are wheelchair-specific waxes, but a standard car or bike wax will also work. 

Check Wheel Alignment

Unaligned tires wear down faster and have a higher chance of breaking. If you feel a pull in either direction while driving, consider taking your chair to a professional repair shop to fix this issue. 

Tighten Up

Over time, the vibrations and movements of your power wheelchair may cause screws and bolts to loosen. Take the time to tighten any loose hardware to ensure the stability and safety of your chair.

Make Minor Adjustments

As you use your power wheelchair, you may discover the need for minor adjustments to improve your comfort and mobility. Adust the footrests, armrests, and seating position as needed to find the most comfortable and supportive configuration for your body.

5. Annually

Most of these checks can be handled in the same visit to a professional or on the same day. We recommend completing these annually, but if need be, they can be done more than once a year if the situation calls for it.

Schedule an Inspection

Once a year, you should bring your chair to a professional to check for structural integrity and proper wear and tear. While you’re the one in the chair and know it best, a professional wheelchair repair technician can notice and fix any issues you might miss.

Address Major Replacements

During the annual inspection, your technician will assess the condition of major parts such as the motor, controller, and electrical system. If any of these show wear or issues, they’ll suggest replacements.

Perform a Deep Clean

Take this opportunity to deep clean your chair. Everything from the frame to the fabric should get an annual deep clean. See what options are available near you for wheelchair cleanings. Some places offer deep steam cleaning to ensure the cleanest chair possible.

Have Questions About Your Power Wheelchair?

This beginner guide broke down the time frames for each aspect of maintenance for your chair, but if you have any questions or concerns about your new wheelchair, call 800-980-5696 or contact us today.

If you’re new to the power wheelchair space, Freedom Mobility can provide the expertise to get you into the proper chair for your needs. With our dedicated professionals and years of experience, rest assured that your mobility is in capable hands!