Wheelchairs are important in leading a self-reliant lifestyle for injured or disabled individuals. In the US, a staggering 3.6 million people above the age of 15 use a wheelchair and still live an active lifestyle. With that in mind, wheelchair users need to maintain their wheelchairs correctly for smoother rides and to make their wheelchairs last longer.
This piece will highlight the best practices for maintaining your wheelchair for increased accessibility and a more self-reliant way of life. But first, you’ll need a couple of tools to help you out.
These tools include but are not limited to:-
- A bicycle pump for inflating your wheelchair tires.
- An adjustable wrench for removing and tightening nuts and bolts
- A screwdriver for removing and tightening screws
- A spoke wrench for adjusting tension in the wheelchair spokes
- A metal file to sharpen certain wheelchair parts
How to Maintain Your Wheelchair Properly
How you maintain your wheelchair will depend on the wheelchair type and the frequency of use. Regular maintenance is imperative for the proper functioning and longevity of your wheelchair. For proper maintenance, you must carry out daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance on your wheelchair.
- Clean any dirt off your wheelchair with a damp cloth. Have someone help you get any mud or dust of the wheels too. Take care not to get any water on the bearings in both the front and back wheels.
- Check for tire pressure with your hand. If the tires are hard and rigid, then you’re good to go. If they are deflated, use the bicycle pump to add more air into the tires. Wheelchair tires should be very hard for smooth rides.
- Avoid murky and muddy areas or any rough terrain that could ruin your tires or affect other wheelchair parts.
- Do a thorough assessment of your wheel conditions. Start with checking the treads for any wear or punctures. Tucks, nails and even tough thorns may have pierced your tires during normal riding. Do not remove these piercings unless you’re completely ready to repair the tube. Don’t leave them in the tires too long too, or they may cause irreparable damage to your tubes. You can repair damaged tubes by yourself or take it to a bicycle repair shop for the same.
- Check if the front wheels spin freely. If they don’t, then replace the ball bearings because they may be worn out.
- If you want to be self-reliant, check if the back wheels spin freely. If they don’t, then you might also need to replace the ball bearings because they are worn out. If your back wheels are wobbly or make rattling noises, then tighten the wheel parts using the adjustable wrench. But don’t tighten the nuts too much for your wheelchair won’t ride smoothly.
- Check if the front forks can turn easily from one side to another without bumping the footrests. If the forks slide a bit too easily then tighten the nut at the top but not too much to allow free movement.
- Check the wheelchair backrests, arm pads, leg rests for rough spots and smooth them with your file.
- For folding wheelchairs, wax the frame to make it easier to open and close.
- Check the frame for cracks and dents.
- Inspect all the nuts and bolts in your chair and tighten them if they are loose. Also, tighten the front castor bolt. But again, not too tightly to compromise your steering.
After Four to Six Months
- Check the fabric of the seat and for any sag. Too much sag may result in pressure sores.
- Oil the brace at the center and the bottom as well as other pivot pints on the center
Maintaining your wheelchair is a great show of becoming self-reliant and good practice for the longevity of your wheelchair. In case your wheelchair breaks, you can take it to any wheelchair repair shop across the country. You can also seek assistance from a metal workshop or bicycle repair shop if the wheelchair repair shop option fails.
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