Common Wheelchair Problems and How to Repair Them

Wheelchairs come in many shapes and sizes and serve a vital purpose for people with physical disabilities. For those who use custom fit wheelchairs on a frequent basis, avoiding wheelchair problems can play a significant role in maintaining independence.

How to Protect a Wheelchair from Damage

Because most insurance companies only cover a new customized wheelchair every five years, it is important to protect your wheelchair from damage. With proper maintenance, a wide range of common wheelchair problems can be avoided. 

Most Common Wheelchair Problems & Wheelchair Repair Suggestions

Wheelchair Scratches and Dents

Experienced wheelchair users may scratch or dent their wheelchairs. This is often due to daily use and wheelchair contact with multiple surfaces. For example, a wheelchair user who is breaking down their chair to get in and out of their vehicle may scratch their wheelchair on the pavement. To protect the wheelchair’s metal frame, wheelchair bumpers or push rim covers can be purchased through online retailers. Both products attach to metal parts of your wheelchair, to help protect against dents and scratches.

Wheelchair Battery

Wheelchairs come with many forms of powered operation, whether you are looking at a power chair, or a manual chair with power assist. From time to time, these power systems fail, and may require maintenance. When these failures occur, contact your local wheelchair supplier to get your chair serviced. Your wheelchair, and power-operated parts should come with an owner’s manual. Consult your owner’s manual for any troubleshooting.

Wheelchair Brakes

If you notice your wheelchair brakes are not working, or your wheelchair is moving while your brakes are engaged, you may need to look at your tire pressure. Like car tires, wheelchair tire pressure can fluctuate due to changes in temperature, so you may need to air up or deflate tires to ensure your brakes properly engage.

Wheelchair Upholstery

Like upholstery on furniture in your home, wheelchair upholstery will wear down over time. On some wheelchairs, upholstery can be unscrewed, tightened, and screwed back into place. On other wheelchairs, a supportive seat cushion can be used to prevent upholstery from sagging or becoming unsupportive.

Wheelchair Wheels, Tires, and Casters

For those using custom fit wheelchairs, it is important to learn how to properly maintain, and change wheelchair wheels. Experienced wheelchair users may be able to maintain and replace wheelchair tires and casters on their own. For those who are inexperienced with tire and caster maintenance, consider visiting a local bike store for help. Because wheelchair tires resemble bike tires, your local bike store should have the tools necessary to assist you. In some cases, a local bike store may change your wheelchair tires for you.

How to Service a Wheelchair when Wheelchair Problems Persist

The suggestions in this article may only temporarily solve an issue. If you encounter persistent wheelchair maintenance issues or repair needs, contact your wheelchair manufacturer, so you can get your wheelchair serviced by a professional.

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