368 appendix: Take care of your equipment
• Wax the wheelchair frame to make it easier to clean, open, and close.
• Ball bearings in the center of the wheels may be factory sealed. If they are not,
take them out, clean them with solvent, dry them, and put them back in with
new grease. If water gets into the bearings, it can cause rust, and the wheelchair
will not roll smoothly.
• Check arm rests, leg rests, and hand rims for rough spots or sharp edges. File
• Check the screws and bolts on your chair and tighten any loose ones. Look for
screws on the seat back and bolts on the seat, hand rim, x-brace, footrests, front
axles, rear axles, brakes, front caster (front small wheel), and pivot (turning
point). The front caster pivot bolt should be tight but not too tight, or the chair
will be hard to steer.
• Check the wheelchair frame for cracks or dents. A crack may cause the frame to
break. Some cracks can be welded together.
Every 4 to 6 months
• Oil the center and bottom of the x-brace
with medium-weight machine oil. Oil the
other pivot points on the chair.
• Check the seat fabric and replace it if it is
torn or sags too far. This is very important,
because sagging or torn seats can lead to
• If you are using a foam cushion, check to make sure it is still springy. A foam
cushion that has lost its bounce can also lead to pressure sores.
ImPORTANT The front tires, whether they are solid rubber or filled with air, may
need to be replaced in a wheelchair shop.
If your wheelchair breaks, you may need to have it repaired in a wheelchair shop.
If there is no wheelchair shop in your area, a bicycle repair shop or metalwork shop
may be able to help.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007