Just like any other equipment, a wheelchair also requires proper maintenance. Clean and well-maintained wheelchairs reflect a positive image on its user. Proper maintenance also minimizes its chances of breaking down and extends its lifespan.
The greatest reward that you get from routine maintenance is its performance; it’s easier to propel and rolls better. Well-functioning parts reduce the overall strain on the arms since less energy is required to push. As the mobility improves, negative effects such as wear and tear of the muscles decreases.
Basic maintenance tips
Cleaning and inspection
The easiest way to extend your wheelchair’s life and performance is by keeping it clean and away from moisture.
A wheelchair needs to be cleaned at least once every month. Use a mild detergent and a soft piece of cloth to clean it. Afterward, let it dry in the sun.
As you clean, inspect all the parts to make sure that they’re in working condition. Fasten any bolts and nuts that may be loose. If you notice any damage that is beyond you repair capability, it’s recommended that you take it to a professional for repair.
Wheels and Tires
Basically, there are two types of wheels: foam-filled tires and air-filled tires. These need to be checked on a weekly basis to make sure that they’re not punctured.
Air-filled wheels tend to roll with much ease and are lighter. They’re also referred to as pneumatic tires. They must always be fully inflated so you should check the tire pressure weekly. If aren’t fully inflated, the resistance is increased and this could damage the tread. The tread should be replaced immediately it wears out.
If the wheels are solid, inspect them regularly to make sure that the rubber is still attached to the rim. For spoke wheels, inspection is done by plucking them like a guitar to check whether they’re loose or broken. The good thing about spoke wheels is they don’t require regular maintenance compared to solid wheels.
There are some wheelchairs that use sealed bearings. Hair strands, threads, and carpet strands may get into the bearing causing them to get stuck. You can remove these strands using tweezers.
Seat and Backrest
The seats need to be checked regularly to make sure that they’re not torn. Loose or worn out seats can cause discomfort and back pain due to bad posture. Replace any damaged seats to make sure that they support your posture. Make sure that the straps stay in place; if they slip, re-adjust them.
The seats must also be kept clean all through. Clean them using normal cleaning soap and plenty of water.
The main reason why you should give your wheelchair regular maintenance is for your own safety. Inspecting and repairing any damaged parts helps you avoid accidents that could cause severe damage.
How you maintain your wheelchair says a lot about you. You should, therefore, take good care of it to leave a good impression. Always make sure that your wheelchair is clean and well-functioning.