This is a mobility scooter checklist of the most important things to take into consideration before buying a mobility scooter, especially if for the first time. Starting with a list of questions to ask yourself about your specific needs to help you draw up a checklist of specifications and features which answer those needs. Here we include some suggestions about what to ask the sales-person and some pointers to help you get the right deal if you decide to buy second-hand.
List of questions to ask yourself
Before buying a mobility scooter, put together a mobility scooter checklist of things to consider. Think about how much you have to spend. If you can take advantage of the Motability scheme you may not need to buy but you will still need to consider your budget. If money is tight you may want to look at buying second-hand.
Check your height and weight, particularly if you are larger than average build. You need to make sure the scooter you choose is designed to carry your weight and it will also impact on the vehicle’s range and effective power, as well as potentially affecting your ability to use public transport. Have a think about how far you are likely to travel in a single day, as you will want to ensure you have sufficient range between charging. Consider whether you will use the scooter every day, or less frequently, this may affect your choice of battery type.
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Mobility scooter checklist questions to ask
Will you need to take your scooter on public transport or is it more important to be able to ride it on roads? This is an especially important question as it is unlikely any scooter will be ideal for both.
Will you need to use your scooter inside your home and where will it be stored?
Will you need to remove batteries for charging indoors overnight?
Will you be using the scooter in conjunction with a car, if so, how big is the boot and what weight can you, or someone who will be with you, lift into the boot comfortably?
Take a look at the terrain where you will be using your scooter. How high are the kerbs and are there dropped kerbs?
Are the pavements in poor repair? You may need a scooter with pneumatic tyres, suspension and a high riding height to negotiate uneven surfaces. Or if you live in a very hilly location, you may need more power.
Will you use the scooter for shopping or need to carry other items regularly?
Do you have any specific disability needs for which additional features, or even possible modifications, might be required?
Lastly, have a think about whether your circumstances may change, for example, if your condition is likely to get worse or if you plan to move home in the near future.
What to ask a mobility scooter retailer
If you are buying from a shop or dealership you will want to feel confident in talking to them. They are there to help you make the right choice, but we all feel a little more confident if we know the right sort of questions to ask. If you have made a checklist of your unique requirements (see above) it will help the sales-person to make recommendations. If you’ve read the mobility scooter buying guide, you will also be armed with much useful information. Key specifications are easy to obtain and you’ll be able to narrow your search down before you start trying scooters out. For example, you may already know you need a folding scooter or a class 3 road going type.
Eventually, however, you are going to want to sit on and drive different models to get a feel for what’s right for you. You can visit a showroom or, better still, arrange for them to come to you with a selection of vehicles. Either way, you will want to test drive without feeling under pressure to buy.
Sitting in the seat, you should feel comfortable and be able to reach, operate and understand all the controls easily. Check that you can get onto and off the vehicle easily and safely and that there is enough room for your legs. If you need to carry shopping or other items, is there enough storage space for them; can it be added as an accessory? If there are kerbs or other uneven surfaces, you will need to make sure the scooter is capable of negotiating these. If you will be using it in the home, check it is small enough to fit and turn corners easily. If you intend taking it in your car, make sure you know how to fold it down and can lift it into the boot, and that it fits into your car’s boot. If you will be removing the batteries for charging, make sure you can do so easily.
You may also wish to ask about extended warranties, availability of spare parts and whether the dealer offers a loan scooter, in case anything should go wrong in the future.
What to check when buying a second-hand mobility scooter.
If you decide to buy second-hand, be aware that you have less protection should things go wrong. Also, some of your savings may be offset by higher ongoing costs, such as paying for maintenance, spares and repairs. If you buy from a dealership, shop or from a charity offering scooters for resale, then you will probably be offered a limited warranty. Buying privately will often be the cheapest upfront option but will have the least protection. In all cases, the ‘Consumer Rights Act 2015’ applies.
Armed with your checklist, you should have a clear idea of which make and model is best for your needs before you start looking. Getting a super deal on the wrong scooter won’t do you any favours.
A dealership will often have a range of second-hand scooters which they will have serviced ready for resale to ensure that it is safe and reliable since they will usually offer a three-month warranty. Ask if it has a new battery as these have a limited lifespan dependent on the number of times they can be recharged.
Look at the vehicle for obvious signs of wear, just like cars, the condition of the seat is a reliable indicator. If it is badly worn or torn, then the scooter will likely have had a lot of use. If the padding has lost its spring it may not be as comfortable to sit on as a new one. Ask about regular maintenance of the vehicle and be wary of the original paperwork is missing. Get the exact vehicle model and manufacturer’s identifying number so you can check the age and make sure spare parts can still be obtained. Above all, use common sense and don’t be rushed into buying.