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How to replace your wheelchair wheels

replace wheelchair wheels

Wheelchairs, just like cars, have “tires” that need to be replaced in order to maintain optimum efficiency of your wheelchair performance.  Replacing the wheelchair weels may sound like a daunting task, but in actuality, replace wheelchair wheels is fairly simple. 

 

Front Casters of a Manual Wheelchair

1. The first question you may ask yourself is “do I need to replace the front casters when replacing a caster?

  • You do not need to change the caster:
    • if the tire is flat or worn.  Instead, you may just need to change the tire rather than the whole caster.  
    • If the caster is making a screeching noise but everything looks good, you may need to change the caster bearings only.  
    • If your chair is not rolling straight, your caster forks may be bent, rather than a bad caster, causing a mis-alignment during mobility.  
  • You need to replace the caster:
    • if the caster tire is worn
    • the caster wobbles when spun freely
    • or if the caster does not spin freely when in the chair during wheelchair propulsion. 
CTA - Text - Manual Wheelchair

Steps to Replacing the Front Casters of a Manual Wheelchair

2. Picking the right caster

  • It is always recommended buying official parts because there are a lot of options available for purchase, so you need to make sure you order the correct caster for your chair. Beware of off-market brands, official parts are recommended.
  • Look at the type of caster (two piece rim with tire versus one piece rim with tire versus one piece total).  
  • Next, look at the material of caster (rubber, urethane, a pneumatic tire with inner tube, foam filled…)  
  • Finally, pick the correct size of caster, paying attention to the size of your hub width, overall caster height, bearing inside diameter, and tire width. 

3. Installation – Removing the Old Caster

  • You will need a properly fitting wrench and socket (or two wrenches), one on either set of the caster in order to remove the old caster.  
  • Loosen the bolt, remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”
  • Remove the bolt, washer, and caster from the wheelchair.

4. Installation – Installing the New Caster

  • You will need a properly fitting wrench and socket (or two wrenches), one on either set of the caster.  
  • Put the bolt through the fork,
  • Install a washer, 
  • Align the new caster in between the wheelchair folks and put the bolt through the caster
  • Install a washer, and 
  • Finally, put the bolt through the last fork.
  • Add the nut and tighten, remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”

 

The Rear Wheel Drive Wheels

1. The first question you may ask yourself is “do I need to replace the rear wheel drive wheels?” 

  • You do not need to change the wheel if:
    • Just like the casters, the same principles regarding movement apply.  If the tire is flat or worn, you may just need to change the tire rather than the whole wheel.
    • If the wheel or hub is making a screeching noise but everything looks good, you may need to change the hub or bearings.
    •  If your chair is not rolling straight, your wheel spokes may be bent, causing a mis-alignment during mobility.
CTA - Text - Manual Wheelchair

2. You need to change the wheel if:

  • the wheel tire is worn, 
  • a spoke is loose or damaged,
  • the wheel wobbles when spun freely, 
  • or does not spin freely when in the chair during wheelchair propulsion. 

Steps to Replacing the Rear Wheel Drive Wheels

Picking the right wheels

  • It is always recommend buying official parts because there are a lot of options available for purchase, so you need to make sure you order the correct wheel for your chair. Beware of off-market brands, official parts are recommended.
  • Look at the type of tire (pneumatic versus rubber versus plastic – solid tires vs flat free tires). 
  • Next, is recommended to look at the type of wheel from an official manufacturer (spoke versus mag). 
  • Finally, pick the correct size of wheel, paying attention to the size of your hub width, overall wheel height, bearing inside diameter, and tire width.
     

Steps To Replacing The Rear Wheel Drive Wheels

1. Installation – Removing the Old Wheel

  • You will need a properly fitting wrench and socket (or two wrenches), one on either set of the wheel in order to remove the old wheel, and a flat-head screwdriver.  
  • Step one is to remove the center hub, usually using a flat-head screwdriver under one part of the hub will allow you to pop it right off.
  • Then remove the nut and slide out the bolt and remove the old wheel.  Remember, Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey!

2. Installation – Installing the New Wheel

You will need a properly fitting wrench and socket (or two wrenches), one on either set of the wheel.  

  • Put the bolt through the fork,
  • Install a washer, 
  • Align the new wheel in between the wheelchair folks and put the bolt through the wheel
  • Install a washer, and 
  • Finally, put the bolt through the last fork.
  • Add the nut and tighten, remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”
  • Put the plastic center hub back in and lightly tap with your screwdriver until it’s inserted into the hub opening…and ta-da!

 

Conclusion

The hardest part of changing out your wheelchair casters or wheels is choosing the one for you and your chair.  Click here (http://www.invacare.com/cgi-bin/imhqprd/inv_catalog/partsPHII_home.jsp?s=0&partsHome=partsHome&newSearch=true) for Invacare’s catalog to help with your selection.  Remember, wheelchair maintenance is key to ensuring that it stays in the best optimal condition so you can enjoy the best of it!!

 

Please, after replacing a wheel always make a functional check before use.

 

CTA - Post - Wheelchair Parts