An electric wheelchair eventually becomes a friend, a life companion. It’s hard for you to let it go or replace it after you’ve gotten used to all its details.
That’s why when you buy your chair, you typically have some expectations. Aside from the performance and functionality, you need to know how long it’s expected to last.
That way, you know how many years you have with it and how to maintain it to keep it for longer.
So, how long does an electric wheelchair last? Keep on reading to know!
What You'll Learn...
How Long Does an Electric Wheelchair Last?
An electric wheelchair typically lasts for around five years, but the duration varies depending on many factors.
For one thing, different chairs are made of different materials. Some materials are easier to repair than others, and some of them aren’t as durable as their counterparts.
But aside from the materials or the chair’s construction, maintenance is a huge deciding factor in how long the electric wheelchair lasts.
If you don’t maintain your power wheelchair regularly and carry out the necessary repairs, you’ll likely cut its life short.
The way you store the chair has a significant role, as well. For example, if you keep it outdoors frequently, its components will rust and wear out faster.
How Long Does an Electric Wheelchair’s Battery Last?
The battery’s life expectancy should range from one to two years, depending on its quality and your habits. Some batteries only last for six months if you don’t treat them well.
After that, you’ll have to replace them if you want to keep using the wheelchair.
Generally, a full battery should last for around eight hours on average, covering approximately 10 miles. Of course, these numbers vary, and they may change depending on your battery’s manufacturer, but I’m only covering the averages here.
Some good batteries can cover 20 miles on one charge, but their efficiency decreases with time.
For example, if your battery has been around for more than one year, its range is sure to go down. As a result, it may cover only five miles on one charge, and it’ll last for fewer hours.
All in all, lead-acid batteries are the best type for wheelchairs because they’re safe and long-lasting. Of course, they cost more than their counterparts, but they’re worth the money.
How to Make Sure the Wheelchair’s Battery Lasts Longer
If you maintain the wheelchair’s battery in good shape, you can add at least one year to its life expectancy.
It’s the same principle as any piece of technology that runs on a battery today—mobiles, laptops, etc.— if you treat the battery as it should be treated, it’ll keep serving you.
To keep your wheelchair’s battery functional, make sure not to use it when it’s beyond 20% for safety.
Additionally, try to charge it each night and keep it completely charged whenever you can.
Lastly, I recommend using only the charger that comes with the battery. Using chargers of lower quality may shorten the battery’s overall lifespan significantly.
You’ll find that your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter is incapable of holding a charge for a decent amount of time after a while.
Factors That Affect the Electric Wheelchair’s Life Expectancy
There are many factors that may affect your wheelchair’s life expectancy. These include the terrains you tread on, the weight you carry, and your charging habits.
The type of terrain your chair walks on can significantly shorten its lifespan. If you tend to go into bumpy grounds and rough terrain a lot, the chair will wear out faster, and its wheels will receive more damage.
Not to mention, the battery will drain more quickly.
On the other hand, if you only traverse smooth roads and flat surfaces, the chair should stay in service for more than five years.
If the chair carries more weight than it can handle, you can expect its life to get shorter. If you tend to take heavy items while you’re on the chair, you’re putting more strain on the battery.
So, it’s better to keep the weight limit within your own weight without adding to it.
If you only charge the wheelchair’s battery when it’s at 10% or less, you’re putting a lot of strain on it. It would be best if you charged it when it hits 20% without waiting for it to go lower, or else the battery’s lifespan will shorten over time.
How Often Should You Maintain Your Wheelchair?
Doing regular maintenance to the wheelchair will ensure it lasts for more time. To know how often you should maintain it, first read its instructions manual and see what it says.
If you don’t find an answer, you should maintain your electric wheelchair at least once a year. A tune-up and overall maintenance are vital for the durability of its parts.
You can have the technician visit your house or take the chair someplace yourself. In both cases, you’ll only have to do it once annually.
Aside from the regular maintenance, there are some components you need to check frequently. For example, the front casters and rear tires will often collect all kinds of debris.
Cleaning them once a week is essential for the chair’s integrity.
Moreover, if your wheelchair runs on air tires, you should check the pressure weekly to make sure it’s intact. If the tires are cracked, you should replace them as soon as you can.
The brakes should be checked once each month to make sure they’re working correctly. If there’s something wrong with them, they’ll compromise your safety and the chair’s durability.
Lastly, try to check the footrest and upholstery once each four months to make sure they aren’t wearing out. Whenever you notice any part that needs replacement, do it immediately to keep the chair running.
Wrapping it Up
So, how long does an electric wheelchair last?
Your electric wheelchair should last for five years on average. If you maintain it well and keep its battery updated, it may last even longer.
You just need to be mindful of the regular maintenance and the occasional tune-up, as well as the fact that most things today aren’t built to last.
If you take care of that, the chair will keep servicing you for longer, provided its materials and components are durable enough!