Wheelchairs are made up of a lot of different bits and pieces. Because anything can happen at any time and anyone of those bits and pieces can fail or break, it is important to keep wheelchair spares in the house. Here is how to manage your wheelchair spare parts.
Do you know which wheelchair spare parts are vital to have in the house, just in case something breaks?
In this article we will take a closer look at the different wheelchair spares available, and how you are to manage them.
Wheelchair Parts Need To Be Replaced
Have you ever been in a situation where your wheelchair tire was deflated or your wheelchair bag was broken, and you came to the realization that you now had to wait for several weeks before that broken piece could be replaced or repaired?
How about a broken footrest or a faulty brake pad?
Any problem you might face with your wheelchair or fault with any parts, whether it be a manual or electric wheelchair, can limit your mobility and independence severely, that is, until you decide to fix it.
As deliveries go, it might be that you only have to wait for a day or two from a big online department store, or it may be that the online store has to specially order the item for you from an international supplier, in which case you have to wait longer.
What if your wheelchair cushion tears or one of your casters breaks? Will you then be in a position to replace or repair them?
It is better to be prepared in advance, when you are envisioning the possible problem and preparing yourself for a possible breakdown. Do not allow yourself to be taken by surprise and thereby lengthen your time of discomfort.
How To Manage Your Wheelchair Spare Parts
When you purchase a wheelchair, it should come with a wheelchair manual. This manual is packed with information on how your particular model works and also which parts are included with the purchase.
No matter what else you do, or what you throw away, hold on to this manual as it can be a lifesaver sometime down the road. It is an invaluable piece of literature that will come in handy when you need to replace something and don’t know its exact measurements.
The manual also stipulates what brand and model your wheelchair is. This will come in handy when you have to buy accessories for your wheelchair in future, that are specific to your brand.
Your wheelchair model might come with a couple of spare pieces to start you off with. It could also be that you have kept a couple of spare parts from a previous wheelchair. These can come in handy too.
If this is your whole wheelchair spares inventory, you will need a system to manage your spares, so that you don’t get overwhelmed or confused.
To Organize Your Wheelchair Replacement Parts:
First of all you need to make notes of all the wheelchair spare parts you have around your house. This is so you can access that list any time you need to.
Also take note of all the measurements, the brand and purpose of each spare part, as well as where you have stored it.
Keep the manual in a safe place, stored together with the list of parts you have made. Once all of the wheelchair replacement parts are obtained and listed, do not forget to keep the parts in a safe place.
While it may be tempting to throw those extra parts outside in some storage building, or toss them in a garage, you first have to make sure the place is dry and clean.
Those spare parts will not do you any good if they become dirty or damaged before you can use them.
Keep the parts in their original packaging for extra protection. You could also keep them in a plastic tub or a cupboard, to protect them from dust and weather.
What is even better, is to keep the parts in the part of your home which is temperature controlled, that is if there is enough room.
Wheelchair Replacement Parts You Might Need
Wheelchairs are complex pieces of equipment, made with carefully engineered parts. Although they are designed to last for many years without breaking, sometimes an incident can happen and parts would need to be ordered.
It is therefore best to keep spares of the most important items of your chair, to avoid disruption to the flow of your life. Here are some of the most important parts:
Brakes – whether you use brakes or wheelchair wheel locks or both, it does not really matter. You want to make sure that you are not without them.
Footrests – footrests are important for both safety and comfort. Therefore, you might want to look into having a spare part at home. If not, at least make sure that you know where you can get replacement parts quickly.
Tires – in the event that you get a puncture or a dent, you will have almost zero mobility. Having a spare tire is a smart idea.
Cushions – cushions equal comfort. They are always important thus you want to consider having a spare set at home.
Bags – there are different wheelchair bags for different purposes. Do you have a replacement bag if yours break?
Brake cables – besides the brakes, the brake cables are just as important, because they make the brakes work. Therefore, it is just as important to have them.
Casters – just like tires, if anything happens to your casters it could make matters quite difficult.
Inner tubes – inner tubes are not expensive at all. Buy a few to have around the house just in case. If the inner tubes you buy are specifically made for your wheelchair, you can sell them again if you upgrade to a different model wheelchair.
Electric Wheelchair Spare Pieces: The Essential Parts
If you own a power wheelchair, it is important that you know how to properly maintain and charge your battery, because the battery is very essential to your wheelchair.
At times though, no matter how well you have taken care of your wheelchair or your battery, the time just comes when the battery has to be replaced. Always keep a spare.
Apart from stocking up on things such as an extra battery, you might also want to stock up on supplies such as an extra charger. When purchasing a charger, make sure that it is made specifically for your brand and for your type of battery.
Using a charger that is not specifically made for your wheelchair can damage your battery and shorten its lifespan.
Electric wheelchairs have other mechanical and electrical parts not present in manual wheelchairs. Thus, make sure that your chair is operating at maximum performance and does not need to be recalibrated. In this way you are saving on wear and tear and extending the life of the wheelchair.
How To Buy Wheelchair Spare Parts
Although there are a lot of mobility and wheelchair stores online and local stores of products, it is sometimes best to go with a particular dealer that is familiar to you or that is local to you.
This would be someone who has expert knowledge and who can advise you based on the wheelchair you have or the situation that is unique to you.
It is no use buying a cheaper pair of tires or brake cables online if they will not fit your brand or model of wheelchair.
You might also want to be aware of brands of wheelchair spares that look similar to your brand but are actually quite lower in quality and in appearance.
Deciding to only buy original brand products can be a smart investment, even if they cost much more than competitor brands do.
Just remember that the reason original brands are more expensive, are because they were designed to work with your specific wheelchair.
Going with original products also takes out the guesswork of generics such as taking a product that roughly fits the size and shape of the wheelchair you own.
The little pieces that make your wheelchair work are also as important as the seat that you sit in. Deciding to buy spare parts, and what kind of parts to purchase is a decision you should not take lightly.
Cushions that are well designed and bags that do not fit well will cause irritation and ultimately affect your comfort and for some brands, even your safety.
It is wise to not compromise on the replacement parts you decide to buy. You would not compromise on the wheelchair you buy.
Seek the advice of a dealer when you need to, but also carry out your own research. Ask physiotherapists and occupational therapists for assistance when needed.
We hope you liked our article on tips to how to manage your wheelchair spare parts, and that it was helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to see more of these types of articles to our site.
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