Your wheelchair is your means of transportation and, like a vehicle; it has to be equipped with the right parts to make it run smoothly. Wheelchair maintenance is crucial to making sure your chair is a safe and efficient ride.
This section takes a look at some key parts to your wheelchair. Each page tells you why the specific part is important and how to make sure you have the right part for your chair.
For those of you who have a powered wheelchair, you know how important a wheelchair battery is. There is nothing worse than being out and having your battery go dead with no extra charge nearby.
There are different chargers available for different types of batteries and buying the wrong charger can be a big mistake. Your battery likely requires 1 of 3 types of chargers. The first charger is for wet batteries; which applies a chemical reaction between lead and sulphuric acid to create an electric charge. The second type of charger is for a gel battery; which contains a mixture of sulphuric acid, fumed silica, pure water, and phosphoric acid, which forms the gel. The third type of charger is for an AGM battery. This type of battery has an absorbent glass mat in between the plates and is soaked with acid electrolyte.
Even with a charged battery, if you don't have the right wheels you aren't going to get very far. Casters are small wheels that are positioned at the front of your chair and provide support for the wheelchair base. Casters come in all shapes and sizes. Finding the right castors for your chair can be a tedious task. The average range of caster size is between 2 ¾- and 8 ¼-inches. The proper caster size is selected by measuring your chair's ability to turn; versus its ability to go over bumps.
Wall guards are a sometimes important, but often overlooked wheelchair accessory. They're not attached to your wheelchair, but are necessary if you plan on using your wheelchair at home. To help ease your mind about banging into walls with your chair, installing proper wall guards can do wonders. Wall guards come in different sizes - for example 3-inch rails will protect the wall from the bottom of your chair; while 6-inch guards will cover the wall up to armchair level. Most wall guards are made of aluminium and have a vinyl covering.
The best way to determine the parts that are right for your chair is to do some research about the many different brands and styles available. Once you have an idea, talk to your local wheelchair manufacturer about the best parts for your wheelchair and your lifestyle.