Before considering the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of wheelchair repair, it is important that we understand and explore how to maintain your wheelchair. Correct storage, battery maintenance, cleaning and regularly checking your wheelchair for damage will ensure your wheelchair remains safe and productive in the long-term.
Get to know your wheelchair
It’s a good idea to review your user or service manual to familiarise yourself with the frequency of controls, so you can spot any issues with your wheelchair before they become too problematic. Things to look out for include:
- The wheelchair feeling more difficult to push in idle mode
- Brakes not holding the wheelchair securely or as well as they should
- The battery not lasting as long
- Tears in material
- Visible low pressure in tyres
These issues are all likely to be simple to resolve as part of a good maintenance programme, but ignoring them could lead to bigger problems and crucially limit your independence and safety.
Become familiar with the user manual, which contains information about safe use, storage, recharging and troubleshooting. The user manual must be read by the user and any assisting person when you first purchase the wheelchair to improve your understanding of the product. This will ensure you maximise your wheelchair’s performance and therefore its ability to support your independence. When you’re approaching the time for a service, ensure that you are aware of appropriate procedures, requirements and whom to contact if you have any queries.
How often does a wheelchair need to be serviced?
How often your wheelchair will need to be serviced depends on the model, and how you use it. Check your user or service manual for specific guidance for your model. If you have lost the documents that came with your wheelchair, you can check the Invacare Docs portal, where you can easily find documentation for Invacare products, including user and service manuals. All wheelchairs need ongoing maintenance to continue working correctly. You should:
- Check the tyre pressure each month
- Check the brakes weekly
- Clean the wheelchair regularly
- Tighten screws for headrests, armrests etc that may have loosened
Service manual and documentation
Your wheelchair’s service manual contains all relevant information regarding timescales, service type and works needing to be completed. Once you’ve had the service or wheelchair repair, make sure that you have a completed service checklist, much like when you have your car serviced, so that you have evidence of the work carried out. You should keep this with your updated service record or manual, along with records of any repairs or maintenance.
Wheelchair repair or service company
Check that the wheelchair repair or service company is a trusted supplier, and is qualified to provide the service. If you are contacting a company because of a fault, or to request a repair, be prepared with all of the details of the fault and chair. Being able to provide information such as the model name or serial number means the engineer can arrive fully prepared, which makes it more likely that the technician can resolve the issue in one visit.
Any wheelchair repairs need to be completed using original, genuine spare parts or the warranty will become invalid. Check that the company can offer this when you first contact them to book a repair or service.
Take control of managing your chair
Recently, significant advancements in wheelchair technology have been made, which not only improve the user’s experience and activity levels, but also help users take control of managing their chair and keeping it well maintained.
Features that give you more control over your chair’s maintenance are something to consider when you’re looking to upgrade. A good example of this are the support tools that come with the LiNX power control unit. Power wheelchairs with LiNX connect to an app that can provide diagnostics and user feedback. The system keeps you updated with information such as battery charge, fault information and remaining drive time.
Get the most out of your wheelchair repair or service
When arranging a wheelchair repair or service, the more complex or advanced the product is, the more critical it is that the work is carried out by regulated and manufacturer-trained engineers.