For many people in the UK a mobility scooter is a vital tool in enabling them to live independently. Maintained correctly a scooter will provide years of happy, trouble-free travel. Chartwell Insurance, a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist, caring service for disabled customers, rounds up a list of simple things you can do to keep your scooter in top working order.
Firstly, when you buy the scooter the dealer should provide you with a manual. Read it! It will be full of advice from the manufacturer, and will give you an idea of any special considerations for your model.
Once you get a new scooter, examine it so you know what a properly configured one should look like. Perhaps take photos, including close-ups of any mechanisms or wiring so you can refer to them should you need to. Secondly, ask the dealer for any tips they may have picked up, especially with regard to the battery.
The struggle against dirt
On a day to day basis, the weather will be the main threat to your scooter. Rain can cause rust, and dust and dirt could easily build up in the motors and wheel bearings resulting in reduced efficiency. If you’re able to clean it or have it cleaned once a week this will help to keep everything working properly. Don’t forget to clean the underside and around the axles. Double check it’s turned off before doing this! When not in use, store it in a dry place. If there’s a chance it could get rained on, invest in a waterproof tarpaulin.
The batteries are the heart of the scooter and need to be looked after carefully. The manual will almost certainly have instructions specific to your model. For some batteries it is recommended that they are fully discharged before recharging, while others should be charged as often as possible. Whichever battery type, you should generally give them a full charge each time, a process that lasts between eight
to ten hours. If you need to keep the scooter off the road for an extended period of time, you should give it a charge every couple of weeks. If left unattended the battery will quickly discharge and become unusable, but keeping it charged will avoid this.
The feel of wheels
It’s a good idea to regularly check the air pressure in the tyres. Not only will correctly inflated tyres give you a smoother ride, but they’ll last longer too. A lot of pavements are covered in small, sharp fragments thrown up by cars, so protecting your scooter from this source of damage is vital. Fully inflated tyres will also make your scooter easier to control and safer, not just for you but other pedestrians and road users.
Some scooters use solid tyres which swap the danger of getting a puncture for a bumpier ride, or filled tyres which are a mix between the two in terms of comfort.
Of course there are bound to be things you can’t fix by yourself. Booking an annual inspection at a local repair shop will help identify problems you may not have noticed or know how to fix, so it’s strongly recommended that you get into this routine. While the vast majority of engineers are trustworthy, there is a small fraction who are less scrupulous. If, on taking it for the yearly check-up, they recommend a lot of expensive work don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. There are other little things you can do to protect yourself from the small chance of getting ripped off, such as placing discreet markings on the batteries in case they charge you for “replacements” that aren’t!
By following these simple checks, you should be able to keep your scooter running for as long as you need it!