This article offers a few useful tips on maintaining your mobility scooter. Whether brand new or previously owned, you will want to keep it in good condition and make sure you comply with the law. The first and most important point to cover when asked
‘how can I keep my mobility scooter roadworthy’ is that you should have a full owner’s manual from the manufacturer which will include details on the correct care and maintenance of the vehicle. Should any advice is given here contradict the manufacturer’s instructions then assume the manufacturer is correct.
Secondly, and equally importantly, you will always need to comply with any legislation which can of course change from time to time. Full details of UK law and official advice pertaining to mobility scooters can be found on the government website.
Mobility scooter roadworthy checklist
Class 3 mobility scooters are intended for use on the roads and therefore they have additional legal requirements compared with class 2 mobility scooters. Before going on any journey particularly if using the roads, you need to make sure that the front and rear lights, indicators, horn and brakes are all operational just as you would with a car. The horn should present no difficulty, but with limited mobility, the lights might be a challenge for some. Ideally, you can get someone else to observe the lights functioning while you operate the switches, but if not then try positioning the mobility scooter near to a reflective surface, e.g. a window. Alternatively, you may find an extendable inspection mirror useful or even a mobile phone on a selfie stick might do the trick. Don’t forget the hazard warning indicator. You will want to make sure the battery is fully charged before setting off. All mobility scooters have a battery charge indicator on the facia, so this is simple to check. There isn’t much you can do if the battery is not charged though. You will have to postpone your journey or find an alternative means of transport. If the battery has been on charge you may need to check you plugged everything in correctly and try again. If that fails, then you may need to consider a replacement charger or battery.
You should keep an eye on the tyres as well and get them replaced when the tread is worn down. Check the seat is secure, the steering tiller operates smoothly and that your mirrors are adjusted to give you a good view behind. Then, having made sure the brake works fine, you should be good to go.
How to clean a mobility scooter
In terms of ‘keeping my mobility scooter roadworthy,’ you may not equate cleaning with the objective. However, good maintenance starts with cleaning. Your vehicle will last longer if it is kept in good condition. Clean lights and reflectors function better and you can use the time while cleaning to inspect seats and tyres for excessive wear. As this is an electric vehicle, you will want to avoid using excess liquids when cleaning. A regular dust with a soft dry cloth should handle most issues but occasionally you may want to use a damp cloth with a little detergent. Apply this to the cloth, not the mobility scooter and never use abrasive cleaners or waxes. While cleaning you can check for wear and tear on the seat. A damaged seat can quickly become uncomfortable. Some mobility scooters have a seatbelt, either as standard or an optional extra, this should be checked for damage from time to time and replaced if necessary. Don’t leave the mobility scooter wet after cleaning as this will attract dust. When you are done with the damp cloth use a dry one to finish off. If possible, you should use a cover when the mobility scooter is not in use. This will keep it in a lot better condition, especially if it has to be stored outdoors.
How to service a mobility scooter
Assuming you own your own mobility scooter (the Motability Scheme includes a servicing package by default) then you will need, and indeed want, to ensure you get regular servicing. This is essential to keep any mobility scooter roadworthy as there are few user serviceable parts. Some providers will offer a regular yearly service, so it may worth checking if that is included. However, you will want to make sure you maintain your vehicle properly in between services. Being battery powered, there isn’t too much to go wrong. The biggest issue is the correct charging of the battery. Taking good care of the power supply will save you a lot of problems in the long run. more information can be found here on batteries and how to charge them.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure the tyres are not excessively worn and lights are all working correctly. Pneumatic tyres can get punctured, potentially leaving you stranded, and even solid and air-pocket tyres should not be allowed to wear too thin as their performance will suffer. Deeper treads give better handling in a variety of conditions. If tyres, or indeed light bulbs need replacing make sure it is done correctly according to the manual and with the right part. If you are in any doubt contact the dealer for advice.
The steering tiller should turn freely while not being excessively loose. If it gets stuck there may be a foreign object in the mechanism. If it is wobbly, make sure you have correctly tightened up after adjusting the position. Similarly, the seat should remain in one position when in use and not wobble. If the seat is designed to turn for ease of getting on and off the mobility scooter or move back and forth to adjust for a comfortable position, check this operates smoothly and then fixes firmly once adjusted. If not, check the fixings and or consider replacing the mechanism.
Remember, most routine maintenance comes down to a combination of paying attention and common sense. Always keep the manufacturer’s manual handy and refer to it. If you are in any doubt about anything then get in touch with the dealer for advice and reassurance. If a repair or servicing job is too complicated, then get a professional mechanic in. Your safety and peace of mind should be the priority.