Maintaining your Mobility Scooter. Helpful tips.
Posted by Warren Chew on
To ensure that your mobility scooter remains in good shape there are various things you can do to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Each scooter is different, so it is important that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations in the manual that came with your scooter.
Cleaning your mobility scooter is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it improve the appearance of your machine, but regular cleaning can act as a preventative measure against dirt, dust and grit etc entering moving parts of the scooter. Ensure to dry your scooter in case of rain and when exposed to water, this will help you to keep the scooter rust free.
It is possible to fit wet weather protective covers to many mobility scooters, which not only help keep the machine dry, but help protect you from the elements as well. It is also important to dry the seat and other fabrics that may be on the mobility scooter.
One of the most important components of a mobility scooter is the battery. They will either be sealed lead acid or gel based and require charging after any significant use.
All mobility scooters will come with a guideline for how much range they will get out of their batteries but this will only apply if you keep them properly charged. In order to get the most out of your batteries, Accessible Madrid recommends that you charge your batteries for at least 12 hours when you first receive it and keep them fully charged throughout their life in order to prolong their longevity. Obviously it goes without saying that eventually they will get tired so we also recommend that once a year you get them checked out by a professional in order to make sure that they are charging properly.
Greasing the terminals, of the battery is part of keeping the mobility scooter maintained. Keep the battery clean by using a damp cloth and avoid wet conditions when using the mobility scooter. If the batteries do get wet wipe them off and let them dry completely before using the mobility scooter.
Over a period of time the battery's capacity to hold charge will decrease, which will result in you having to charge your mobility scooter more often. It is important to check the charge on your scooter's indicator to ensure that you will be able to complete your desired journey without any problems, not only in travelling the required distance but making sure there is enough charge to power external lights if you are travelling after dark or in conditions of bad visibility.
Depending on the type of mobility scooter you are using, you may have to charge the batteries after every journey or just when the charge indicator on your scooter tells you that the battery charge is low. Batteries on your mobility scooter should last quite a while, typically between 1 and 2 years depending on how much use your scooter gets, before they will have to be replaced.
Batteries need to be charged regularly to keep them working efficiently. Always adhere to the battery manufacturer's guidelines; they typically recommend charging for between 8 and 10 hours at a time.
During cold weather and when the scooter is not in use, the batteries will gradually loose their charge and could decay if they are left in a discharged state. You should therefore be especially vigilant about keeping them charged during the winter months.
Most electric mobility scooters come equipped with an inertia system of braking so they will come naturally to a halt when you ease off on the power.
Before you set off on a journey you do however still need to test that they are working. The first thing you need to check is that your scooter isn’t set to freewheel. On most scooters there is a lever around the rear wheel which sets the scooter into freewheel mode. Freewheel mode allows you to move the scooter around easily without power but also means that the scooter won’t be able to stop. As a safety feature most scooters won’t actually let you start when freewheel mode is engaged but it’s worth checking anyway. Once you’ve made sure the scooter is properly set up try your scooter out to make sure it is stopping correctly before setting out on your journey. As with batteries Accessible Madrid also recommends that you get your brakes serviced once a year by a professional in order to make sure that they are working correctly.
From time to time your mobility scooter will need to be serviced and the user manual will inform you how often this should be. The plastic bodywork may also need to be replaced over time, due to wear and tear, and these are usually relatively easy to fit.
Tyres on a mobility scooter will also suffer from wear and tear and a puncture could cause problems, especially if you are some distance from home. There are 4 types of tyres:
- Pneumatic tyres are pumped up with air, and can be punctured. If you are using pneumatic tyres, regularly inspect them for punctures and wear and tear. Punctures can sometimes be repaired without needing a whole new tyre. Pneumatic tyres may provide a smoother ride.
- Solid tyres cannot be punctured, but often mean that you feel the ride is harder - you may feel more jolts as you go over stones or kerbs. However, it may make it easier to manoeuvre on some surfaces.
- Filled tyres are puncture-proof. They are a compromise between solid and pneumatic tyres. They are made of an open cell rubber compound to help with shock absorption.
- Deep tread tyres are available with different levels of tread. The deeper the tread the greater the grip and stability on kerbs, slopes and other difficult terrain.
An obvious point perhaps, but often one that people don’t consider, is that you need to remember that your scooter is a valuable item which some people will want to steal. In order to make sure that you always have a scooter to return to we recommend that you remove your keys whenever you leave your scooter to keep it secure. It’s also well worth leaving a spare set of keys with a family member or a friend for any emergencies where you accidentally lose your own set of keys and find yourself stranded.
Most electric mobility scooters on the market will come with some form of detachable seat. Obviously for safety purposes you don’t want the seat to come loose while you are riding it so before setting off we recommend that you give it a firm waggle every time you use it to make sure that it’s properly attached before you take it out and about.
Read the manual.
It seems like an easy step that doesn't deserve to be in a list of maintenance instructions, but you might be surprised at how much you can learn if you take the time to read the manual that came along with your scooter. The proper maintenance schedule is usually spelled out clearly in the manual, and taking the manufacturer's advice can save you a great deal of time.