4 Tips for Resolving Power Wheelchair Issues - The Mobility Resource

4 Tips to Resolve Common Mobility Scooter and Power Wheelchair Issues

April 12, 2015

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According to the US census bureau, nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability in the United States. If you fall into that category, there is a good chance you own a mobility product such as a power wheelchair or scooter to get around.

The problem with owning a power wheelchair or scooter is that sometimes it can be very difficult to troubleshoot simple problems that don’t require a technician, but rather an understanding of how to operate the electronic features properly. For example, most power wheelchairs have a joystick locking feature that if mistakenly activated will render your joystick useless. Unlocking your joystick is as simple as reading the user manual–which usually consists of hitting a few buttons in a sequential order.

The locking joystick feature is a built-in feature provided for the user to be able to disable the joystick so that if the joystick is mistakenly touched, your power wheelchair will not move. This can be handy if you are eating or having a drink that you don’t want to spill as you reach into your arm bag or cup holder which can easily result in an accidental joystick movement.

Today I’d like to share a few tips that can help you troubleshoot common electric wheelchair issues which don’t require a technician and a hefty service charge. If you do have an issue that is beyond your ability to repair getting it fixed can be a daunting task because there are not too many certified technicians available in rural areas to handle common repairs. I am going to cover 4 topics in this post that I feel will be of great help which are:

1) Understanding Beep Codes

This should go without saying but when it comes to any product you own, you should always read your user manual in its entirety. If you don’t you could end up wondering why your scooter is making unfamiliar beeps that in reality are codes to let the user know that something is wrong with your scooter or power wheelchair.

The first thing want to do if you’re experiencing unusual beeping patterns that render your power wheelchair or scooter disabled entirely or partially is to check your user manual for a beep code chart that looks something like the one below.

Example beep code diagnostic chart for power wheelchairs.

You can download a user manual for your product for free at Mobility Scooters Direct’s website where you can download manuals for hundreds of mobility products.

2) Unlocked Free-Wheel Lever

A free-wheel lever is provided for most power wheelchairs or scooters to allow the user to disconnect from the electronic braking system manually. This serves as a helpful feature for scenarios that involve batteries running out of power or simply for users who want to move the mobility scooter manually.

If your power wheelchair or scooter has a free-wheel lever, you must have it in the locked position in order for the scooter to operate. To lock the free-wheel lever, simply locate the lever (or levers if you own a power wheelchair) on the backside of your scooter and adjust until your wheels are locked or unlocked.

If your free-wheel lever is in the unlocked position you will not be able to use the motor to move your scooter or wheelchair. Here is an example of what a common freewheel looks like:

 Example freewheel wheelchair accessory.

As a scooter repair specialist, I’ve been contacted for service calls that were unnecessary because the user didn’t read his or her user manual to find out about the free-wheel lever feature. If you are experiencing this issue, it’s recommended that you read the product manual in its entirety to ensure you are not simply experiencing an unlocked free-wheel lever problem.

3) Locked Joystick Problems

Sometimes joysticks become locked when you accidentally perform a sequential code such as hitting your power button twice.

Some power wheelchair models will activate the “locked joystick” feature when you follow a sequential button pattern such as hitting the power button twice or holding the power button down for a few seconds so reading your user manual is imperative. Otherwise, you might find yourself calling a technician and paying a hefty fee for something that could have been easily fixed for free by simply reading your product’s user manual.

If you own a power wheelchair, it is highly advised that you become familiar with the way to lock your joystick and how to unlock it so that you don’t run into this issue. I’ve taken the time to write a detailed post about this problem which you can read more about here.

4) If All Else Fails, Find The Right Technician

If you feel that you’re still helpless and cannot find a way to solve the problem you’re having with your mobility scooter on your own, the best bet is to go to a manufacturer website and search for a certified technician. Most manufacturer websites have a service provider locator on their website where you can enter your zip code and find a certified technician to service your product. This is the first step you should take when attempting to find an honest power wheelchair or mobility scooter repair technician.

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