If you're a beach wheelchair owner, you must get accustomed to the major parts of your wheelchair and ways to maintain them in good condition. A 2016 research report indicates that 44-57% of wheelchair users report wheelchair breakdowns every half a year. It's even worse for beach wheelchairs which maneuver through rough and dangerous terrains.
This article is a definitive guide on beach wheelchair parts and the various accessories that better your wheelchair user- experience, and the legitimate stores where you can purchase these items. You'll also learn about the important wheelchair maintenance tips.
Major Parts of Beach Wheelchairs
Beach wheelchairs have specialized wheels that can move easily over sand, shells, or soft soils. They feature enormous balloon tires to increase the ground contact surface area. They also help distribute your weight across a wide area. Some models, like the Hippocampe All-Terrain Wheelchair, use double-width wheels rather than balloon ones, but they attain a similar goal.
Different beach wheelchair models have different types of rear wheel axles. Affixed axles attach the wheels to the wheelchair's frame with bolts and locknuts that require tools to detach. On the other hand, quick-release axles allow easy tire removal without any tools.
The quick-release mechanism is common in lightweight beach wheelchairs that allow for easy disassembly and reassembly. A perfect example is the Freedom Chair by GRIT.
Depending on the wheelchair model, leg rests are of three categories; fixed, swing-away, or elevating. Fixed leg rests are a part of the frame and hence permanently attached, while swing-away leg rests are detachable.
As such, the latter allows for easier access and exit from the wheelchair than the former.
On the other hand, elevating leg rests are height adjustable, allowing you to raise and lower them to the desired height. This is very important for people with blood circulatory issues to their feet.
Armrests are either affixed or height adjustable. Height-adjustable armrests are better because they can be raised for the user to access and egress from the beach wheelchair without impediments. In addition, caregivers can help the wheelchair user better with elevating armrests.
Other parts include:
Beach Wheelchair Accessories
The common beach wheelchair accessories include:
A wheelchair Seat Belt
A seatbelt isn't standard on many beach wheelchairs, especially the rental ones. As such, it's imperative you carry your own to make your beach experience more enjoyable. You can opt for velcro straps, which will hold you in place when navigating rocky and uneven sand terrain.
Wheelchair Beach Mats
Some people feel that it's not always safe or practicable to transfer into a beach wheelchair from a regular wheelchair. Others may lack the financial ability to hire or purchase a beach wheelchair.
In such instances, a beach access mat is the best option. It offers a solid surface that allows you to visit the beach with your loved ones in a standard wheelchair.
Additionally, a beach mat may be used concurrently by more than one person, which is convenient.
The ideal beach access mat is the foldable one that easily fits your car's trunk.
Beach Wheelchair Ramps
Several beaches across the United States have ramps at the entrance, merging the sidewalks with boardwalks. They help all persons, including standard wheelchair users, easily navigate through the sand. On some of the walkways, the ramps go all the way down to the water, making it quite simple to take pleasure in the scenery.
Where To Buy Beach Wheelchair Parts (Online & In-Store)
Multiple online and retail shops across the USA sell beach wheelchair components. However, ensure you get them from approved stores to avoid getting your hands on substandard components. Even better, contacting your dealer is the best option to ensure the parts you purchase are compatible with your wheelchair. You may also get the most of your warranty and even free repair services if you qualify.
Follow the links below to the websites of some of the approved retailer stores:
Beach Wheelchair Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Your Beach Wheelchair in Good Shape
Basic wheelchair maintenance is something that everyone who uses a beach wheelchair should get familiar with. Understanding how to perform these maintenance actions may lessen the likelihood of malfunctions and the associated repercussions, as well as the expenses incurred for repairs and replacements.
The Frame and Surface
After each usage, wash the chair well to remove any sand or dirt. It's preferable you use a moist cloth rather than spraying water on the chair, especially for motorized beach wheelchairs with electrical components. The cushion material is removable, but avoid washing them with scorching detergents, which might cause discoloration.
Ensure you check your wheelchair's tire pressure before going to the beach. Typically, beach wheelchair tires must be slightly pliable to increase the ground contact surface area. For this reason, maintain the pressure at the PSI range of 2.5 to 4. However, these specifications are written on each tire's surface.
Allow the wheelchair to coast after rolling it through a pool of water to verify wheel alignment. Check the steadiness of the tracks the wet tires leave on the ground. Contact a maintenance specialist if the path isn't steady as your wheels need alignment. Perform this action monthly.
Folding and Moving Parts
It's crucial that you clean and dry all moving parts at least every two weeks, primarily if you use the beach wheelchair regularly. Additionally, lubrication of these parts should happen monthly, with oil or a Teflon-based spray as the preferable lubricants. Doing so is vital to reduce friction, preventing wear and tear.
Batteries are the power sources in beach wheelchairs. As such, faulty batteries will compromise the wheelchair's functionality. Never drain the batteries or charge them too often to get the best results. It is also advisable to only charge them when the indicator goes below 30%.
Proper beach wheelchair maintenance keeps your mobility aid device at its optimal performance, providing a long-life service and the best possible user experience. The abovementioned tips come in handy in keeping your wheelchair running smoothly, reducing the chances of breakdowns or malfunctions. However, if they occur, ensure you get repair parts from authorized dealers for quality and compatible products. Where fixing is beyond your ability, you can contact a technician for assistance.