Youtube and other forms of online tutoring have made it interesting in deciding whether to fix your wheelchair or visit the wheelchair store. The same also goes for specialists who make a living off of repairing wheelchairs. The do-it-yourself approach isn’t such a bad method to avoid unnecessary monetary costs, but there should be limits. Unless the wheelchair driver is a closet nerd regarding durable medical equipment, they should probably still take their chair in for major repairs of unexplained origin to the wheelchair store.
The following are minor dings that the user could probably address themselves with the assistance of the internet world (as opposed to vising a wheelchair store):
What To Consider Before Visiting A Wheelchair Store
If it is a matter of power, and the chair occasionally slows or stalls, then it might be time to update the battery. We’re talking full replacement if the battery won’t stay charged as long as it used to. According to Hoveround, a wheelchair battery should last at least 6 months or up to 1 year if it is well taken care of. Wheelchair batteries are available online with specialty shops as well as massive marketplaces like Amazon.com. The customer just needs to make sure that the battery matches their chair. For example, a compatible 12V 35Ah battery will fit just about any Pride Mobility Jazzy chair. For questions regarding the battery, check out the details in the product description, call the manufacturer directly or visit a wheelchair store to know more.
- UPG # D5722 UB12350 12V 35Ah. Pack of 2
- Dimensions: 7.75 inches x 5.19 inches x 7.13 inches. Weight: 22.50 Lbs
- SLA/AGM maintenance free, spill proof battery
- Rechargeable battery that can be mounted in any position, resists shocks and vibration
- 1 Year Warranty
Since seat cushions aren’t technically attached to the wheelchair, these are easily replaceable and require no special repair at a wheelchair store. However, if the cushion is a pressure-relieving cushion such as a ROHO, and the cushion itself has problems staying inflated, then the cushion needs attention rather than the wheelchair. Standard wheelchair cushions eventually wear and need to be replaced, which is also easy to do online.
- Engineered to the human comfort threshold, adjusting to any individual's body shape or weight
- Ultra-soft, ultra-strong, solid rubber-like Gelastic material provides cradling relief for bony prominences and firm, comfortable support for broader body surfaces
- Durable elastic gel consistency immediately returns to its original shape, with no permanent depressions
- Gel fill breathes, so it stays cool while in use
This refers to the brakes on manual wheelchairs that sit right on the tires. The whole brake piece is available online and is relatively easy to replace as long as the customer follows the directions. Since the majority of these brakes are made out of aluminum, the bend with time and can misalign with the tire rendering them useless. This just takes a strong arm and a hammer to bend it back into place, just as long as the person doing it is able to get on the floor and under the chair to do it. For brakes with lines, as seen on transport chairs, it may take replacing the entire line or having a specialist take a look at it. Check for bald spots or wear spots on the tires because a good brake on a worn tire doesn’t do the user any good and will require a replacement at the wheelchair store.
Foot plate repairs
Connection points on the swing-away foot rests are also made out of aluminum and with time, they warp and misalign with the chair. The user can either use a hammer or just find a replacement foot-rest online. Every once in a while, the misalignment with the latch on the foot-rest actually has nothing to do with the foot-rest and there is warping on the frame itself. In that case, have a specialist take a look at the frame.
- Aluminum Footplates
- Tool Free Installation
- For use with Sentra EC 20", 22", and 24"
- For use with Sentra 20", 22", and 24"; For use with Wheeled Bedside Commode
Also known as “witch hats”, the joystick cap of the handle on power chairs frequently falls off and rolls away. These are fairly cheap to replace and easily pop back onto the control stick.
- Joystick knob fits multiple makes and models.
- Genuine OEM part
Seat belt repairs/replacements
If the wheelchair already comes with attachment points for a seatbelt or a safety harness, then it is a lot easier to install a new one when the old one tears or breaks. If it is a customized chair that lacks attachment points, then the user may pay a visit to the wheelchair store to look at the seat and measure it for harness attachments.
- ADD PEACE OF MIND AND SECURITY to your wheelchair, keeping yourself, loved ones, or patients stable, secure, and comfortable
- WHEELCHAIR SAFETY HARNESS EASILY ATTACHES to the back of your wheelchair or transport chair. Simply remove the bottom screws from the left and right side of the wheelchair backrest. Insert these screws through the grommets on the belt. Reinsert the screws into the screw holes and tighten them
- WHEELCHAIR SEAT BELT BUCKLE EASILY ATTACHES AND DETACHES, locking in securely, and releasing, simply, just like vehicle seat belts
- BELT STRAP ADJUSTS EASILY at 48 inches, it is strong, durable, and comfortable
- WARRANTY AND GUARANTEE: Amazon Exclusive Limited warranty may apply. Please see product for additional details. NOTE: Note: we can only guarantee the quality of this product when sold through Amazon.com or Brazos Walking Sticks
The following are parts that, if they do malfunction, need to be addressed by a professional. Note: not every possible part failure is listed:
This refers to the entire fabric portion of the chair, manual or powered chair. On a manual wheelchair, a tear in the upholstery means that the user loses full body support. If the tear is on the seat, then a rip causes the user to start sitting on the underlying frame which can result in discomfort and skin breakdown. It is worth someone’s time and money to take the chair into a medical equipment shop for a full replacement. Tears in the upholstery on a captain seat, as seen on a power chair, doesn’t normally compromise the padding support. However, the tear should get repaired at a wheelchair store in order to prevent moisture from building up inside the seat and causing further damage to the chair.
Control system fails
This is beyond a battery failing. Control system faults can be a result of hidden shortages in the wires, which are incredibly complicated to replace with the assistance from a wheelchair store. Additionally, it could be more expensive for the user to fix it on their own (and risk making it worse).
Shredded or balding wheels
If you are talking about damaged castor wheels, replacement parts can be located online as well. The customer just needs to find the castor wheels of the exact brand and diameter required for their chair. Replacement will take tipping the chair over in order to get under the frame to detach old wheels and replace with new ones. Do not attempt this repair alone if trying to complete it on a heavy-duty power chair. Shredding or balding tires on the main wheel-frames should be assessed by a specialist.
Unless the user happens to be working at a wheelchair store, they should take electric wheelchairs in if the motor is starting to have issues. Sometimes, it is hard to distinguish electrical problems between the control system and the motor. Having a wheelchair store look at both units will probably save the user time.
Loose captain seat
A loose captain seat means that the hardware at the base is probably coming loose. You would think a simple repair with a screwdriver would do the trick, but it really depends on the model and make of the chair. The base of the seat should not be messed with unless it is being repaired by a specialist. A misalignment or a loose screw with attempts for repair could result in the entire seat falling off of the base with the user still in it.