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Looking after a car with wheelchair access

Cars with wheelchair access, like any other vehicle, need a regular maintenance routine to ensure they are always looking (and working) great! They also require special attention to their unique parts and features. Check out the tips below for keeping your mobility vehicle in tip-top condition.

Basic maintenance

The things to check regularly are the oil, water, brake, and other fluid levels and top-up as necessary. If you have a relatively new vehicle the level of these will most likely be available from the dashboard computer but if not refer to the handbook to see how to check them from under the bonnet.

Washing the outside of your vehicle and cleaning the inside regularly will help to maintain its good condition and keep everything looking good too. When you come to sell your mobility vehicle the condition it is in will add to its value and a little regular cleaning can make a big difference.

Tyres

Tyres are also very important – both tyre pressure and tread. It’s a good idea to check tyre pressure regularly, which again can be done easily via the dashboard computer if the vehicle is new. It’s especially a good idea to check the pressure before a long journey and when the weather has changed – a slight change in temperature can have a big impact on the pressure.

Tyre tread is key for grip and stopping in the shortest distance so check the tread depth regularly too – a good tip for checking this is to use a 20p piece! Place the 20p coin inside the main tread groove of the tyre. If the outer band of the 20p piece is obscured by the tyre then your tyres have adequate tread. If you can see the outer band of the 20p piece your tyres could be approaching the legal limit so it’s advised to have them checked as soon as possible.

If your car has a lift it will have extra weight so it’s extra important to keep an eye on the pressure and tread. Remember maintaining the correct tyre pressure will save you money because under inflated tyres costs more in fuel.

Ramps and lifts

Manually operated ramps should be oiled on a regular basis to ensure their smooth and easy deployment. Remember to include the ramps in the normal cleaning routine as dirt build up can prevent their correct functioning. What may initially be a little bit of dirt can over time create more problems with the hydraulics so it’s best to keep them clean and oiled.

Lifts often have more electrical aspects so check at regular intervals all the electrical connections which control the lift or electronically controlled ramp. Make sure that the battery is well charged, topped up with distilled water and has no leaks. Keep the control panel or hand-held control clean and dust free too – just a bit of dirt on the button can over time build up and block it, resulting in it breaking!

Need more advice? Get in touch

Tie downs and winch

Most cars with wheelchair access have a restraint system, which involves ‘rails’ in the rear that have tie downs that lock into place and onto the wheelchair itself – these rails are prone to collecting dirt which prevents the tie downs moving along freely. A good idea is to keep a toothbrush with your cleaning products which makes it easy to clean them.

Checking underneath – and be a little careful when driving!

In most cars with wheelchair access the floor have been lowered so there is enough head room when seated inside. As a result this means that the underside is susceptible to damage when off terrain or when going over high speed bumps in the road. It’s best to take a little extra care and drive more slowly when going over these to avoid any deterioration or distortion of your mobility vehicle. It’s a good idea to check underneath now and again and if you see anything suspicious get it checked out immediately.

About Scott Smith

Scott Smith Profile ImageScott Smith is the founder of the Accessible Planet and WAV Compare. As a wheelchair user himself, he is incredibly passionate about connecting people with the right accessible vehicle for them. Scott’s websites have helped thousands of people with limited mobility to find products that make life easier.

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