Thursday, September 18, 2014

Advice: Wheelchair Maintenance

Hey, I have a question that just occurred to me today: Is there anything I need to know about maintaining my wheelchair? This is still pretty new to me. I actually just got my first chair that isn't used. (In addition to moving into my own accessible apartment last week - yay!) I haven't had any problems so far, but I always had trouble maintaining cars in the past and want to be prepared. Thanks! :D

Oh my gosh, hooray!  I'm so excited for you!  (I live in accessible housing, too, and it's so, so liberating to be able to go everywhere I need to, without a struggle.)  Enjoy!

This is actually something I'm really bad at, haha!  (Though, I'm in the process of getting a new chair myself, and one of the people I spoke to connected with the process commented that I "took such good care of my wheelchair," so I guess I may not be as bad as I think?)

Off the top of my head, though:

- Tires that are gel-filled, not air-filled are the best, because they don't require maintenance.

- Keep a screwdriver at the ready.  If something is loose, tighten it, ASAP.

- Be as aware as possible.  If you hear something fall off your chair (like a screw) try to find it.  If you can't put it back where it goes, ask someone else who can.

- WD-40 for squeaky wheels.

- If your new chair requires any degree of disassembly for storage (in the car) don't be afraid to insist to whomever you're traveling with that things get reassembled the right way.  That way, you won't risk a wheel falling off in the middle of a store.  (That happened to me.  Zero fun.)

- Keep track of when insurance will allow you to get another chair.  (Mine covers a new one every five years, but I tend to keep my chairs closer to ten years.)  Always good to have a chair that's secure and in good working order.

- A good cleaning (wipe down with a cloth) is not bad every once in a while (though this is a real struggle for me.  But if you ever get the opportunity to take up a loved one or family member on a favor, ask them if they wouldn't mind wiping it down for you.)

- Your chair is awesome.  It's a gift.  It's your freedom.  Take care of it.  Let people around you know how to treat it (kids especially..)

NOTE (Jan 2015):  Ever since I've gotten my new chair in December, I've been cleaning it once a week.  Clorox wipes (or something similar) on the wheels, frame and foot rest, Lysol on the handles, and I Fabeeze the seat cushion nightly.  I've also noticed that if you can keep up with vacuuming/Swiffering/sweeping (once a week is what we do) it really cuts down on the hair your wheels may pick up.

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