Wheelchair Maintenance Basics for the Average User



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Hearing a squeak from your wheelchair lately? Listen closely. Wheelchair maintenance can eliminate that squeak.

It may be easy to miss because you have become accustomed to it. Feeling a rattle occasionally from your wheelchair? Pay attention.

Your wheelchair needs your attention to keep it maintained in functional condition. It is essential that the wheelchair is working smoothly and no parts are loose or missing.

Most manufacturers recommend an annual “check-up” for a wheelchair. It’s all about your safety in the wheelchair.

Here are some Wheelchair Maintenance Basics:

Caster Wheels

The caster wheels, those little wheels at the front of the wheelchair, might be the source of the sound or rattle. Check them regularly to see if dirt or debris is stuck on the wheels, causing them to scrape, squeak, or rattle.

The caster wheels should be firmly set in the forks and move freely. If there are missing bearings, washers, or screws in the fork assembly or the vertical axle that attaches the fork to the chair’s frame, get them replaced as soon as possible.

Frame, Axle, and Wheels

The folding frame of a wheelchair should be rigid, not wiggly. The axle holding on the big wheels should be steady, and the wheels should move smoothly. So, if there is a problem with an axle on the chair, then get that checked out.

How old is your wheelchair? Your wheels are likely the same age. So, look them over closely. Wheels are likely to become worn over time. They can be replaced; your dealer can do this. You can make them last longer by keeping them clean. 

Seat and Back

Is the seat of your wheelchair sagging and sinking? That can hurt your hips and back when sitting for long periods. You can tighten your sling seat to remedy the problem. Or, replace your sling seat to help you sit up straight.

The back of your wheelchair may bulge over time, also. This hurts your posture and your back. The back can be tightened. If tightening it does not stop the bulge, then replace it.

Get out your Manual

Your wheelchair maintenance manual is valuable information for solving these maintenance problems. You will find the name, model number, and specifications of the wheelchair in it.

Including a list of parts that can be replaced and how to do some simple maintenance yourself with a screwdriver. It will also have the manufacturer’s customer service phone number, so you can call and ask for help.

You can order new parts from the manufacturer, or you can contact a dealer who can order parts and replace them for you.

If you cannot find your manual, contact the dealer; he will probably tell you where to download one online. You could also see the manufacturer’s website and get customer service to help you get a manual.

Don’t squeak, rattle, or roll in your wheelchair. You depend on it for safe mobility. Get out your chair’s manual, look over your wheelchair, and then learn to do wheelchair maintenance basics.

Stay Safe and Healthy at Home!