Every wheelchair repair service should be conducted professionally or you may invalidate your warranty. That said, there are basic things you can – and should – do to keep your wheelchair in good working order. Just like owning a car, for example, there are some tasks that most people will be comfortable performing while others really need a professional to carry them out. Either way, wheelchair maintenance is important for your comfort, your safety, and the longevity of your chair. What do you need to know?
Use a Professional Wheelchair Maintenance Service
If you take your chair to be maintained by anyone other than a professional wheelchair maintenance service provider, then you could be storing up trouble for the future. The use of wrong parts, for example, could mean that your wheelchair warranty is invalidated. Some wheelchairs require special tools that are only supplied by the manufacturer. In short you should only have your wheelchair repair service conducted by an authorized technician. At Strongback Mobility, we'll be happy to provide you with the contact details of an approved wheelchair technician in your area.
Check Your Wheelchair's Brakes
Although professional wheelchair maintenance is advisable if you need a repair to be conducted, you will still want to make certain checks of your chair to establish whether it is in good working order or not. One of the most important ones to do every few weeks is to confirm the chair's brakes are functioning as they should. You don't want to find out they are not when you are out and about, especially if you need to negotiate an incline. Brakes should be fitted tightly to the frame and make full contact with the wheels when in use. Test them somewhere safe and if they still don't work properly, you should seek professional help.
Inspect Wheelchair Casters
Do not underestimate the importance of your wheelchair's casters. They need to be in good working order to ensure you enjoy full maneuverability while being safe. STRONGBACK uses high-quality and durable materials but casters still need to be looked at to make sure they are not out of shape, have cracks, or have become loose. In many cases, it is quite easy to swap out a faulty caster for a new one. Do this sooner rather than later because casters tend to get worse the longer you leave them.
Foot and Arm Rest Inspections
Another important aspect of any good wheelchair maintenance regime involves checking the foot and arm rests. Foot rests often act as bumpers and can be bent out of position. Make sure you can remove your foot rests and ensure the mechanism for refitting them is in good working order. For the most part, tightening up the fixings will ensure they are fine but seek guidance if not. The same goes for arm rests. Loose ones can lead to potential falls. Again, tightening fixings is often all that is needed to remain safe in your wheelchair when they're deployed.
Maintain Your Back Support
Because the innovative posture support system is integrated into the frame of a STRONGBACK wheelchair, there is very little to maintain. If it starts to feel uncomfortable, then have it inspected professionally. Like the seat of your wheelchair, you should be looking for signs of wear. This will often come down to accidental contact with something sharp in your pocket as you use the chair. Don't allow small tears to go unrepaired because they will get worse in time.
Check the Folding Frame Works Properly
Even if you fold your wheelchair's frame successfully every day, it does not mean that the mechanism does not need attention. About once a month, fold your wheelchair down and closely inspect the braces to ensure they end up laying flat as they should when the chair is in its folded position. The chair should remain folded until you are ready to use it without flopping around. If it does this when it is not in use, then you will need a professional wheelchair repair. A wheelchair that can fold up onto itself when it is in use could easily cause injury.
General Wheelchair Maintenance Tips
As well as inspecting specific parts and mechanisms of your wheelchair, it is a good idea to undertake frequent cleans.If you have dirt or hair that has become trapped in the frame, then pull it out with a pair of tweezers. Wheelchair users who do this will help to prevent many of the other maintenance issues detailed above.