Storing and maintaining a mobility scooter
Before you buy a mobility scooter it's a good idea to learn about some key elements of maintaining and storing it, including:
- charging and maintaining your batteries
- replacing batteries
- storing your mobility scooter to protect it from weather and theft
- servicing your scooter and buying spare parts.
Read on to learn more about all these elements, and keeping your mobility scooter in good working order.
Maintaining and charging your mobility scooter's batteries
Most mobility scooters have two 12-volt rechargeable batteries that come in varying sizes, depending on how large and powerful the scooter is. Batteries should last for at least two to three years (some last as long as five), after which they will need replacing, which will cost between £50 and £200.
‘Standard’ use of a mobility scooter – for example, an hour a day – normally requires the batteries are charged daily.
As it's best for batteries to charge for between eight and 10 hours it's simplest to do this overnight, so it makes sense to keep your scooter near a mains electricity power socket (plug the lead into the scooter first, then into the mains socket). Alternatively, most models allow you to remove the batteries and charge them away from the scooter.
Expert views vary on overcharging – it tends to depend on the battery type. As a general rule, unless your instructions say otherwise, be careful not to charge for more than 12 hours as this could overcharge and damage the battery. It's also not advisable to charge the batteries if they have more than 80% power left.
If you don't use your mobility scooter for an extended period, you should still try to charge the batteries once a month – or every two to three weeks in cold weather – to prevent battery decay.
Storing your mobility scooter
By storing your mobility scooter in the right environment and checking it frequently, you can maintain the smooth running of your vehicle and increase its longevity.
The best place to store your scooter – either overnight or for longer periods – is in a dry, clean and secure space, ideally with a mains electricity socket so you can charge it at the same time.
A lockable garage or a secure shed is ideal. You may have space to store a small scooter in your home, but make sure it doesn’t block doorways as this could make it a fire hazard.
Keep your scooter clean to prevent dirt getting into any of the moving parts, which could damage it. Check the underside of the scooter regularly to remove any obstructions.
Keeping the scooter dry will help avoid corrosion. If you have to store it outside, you'll need to buy a waterproof storage cover to protect it from rain. A storage cover is also useful when storing your scooter inside, as it will protect it from dust.
Covers cost from around £40 for a basic cover to around £200 for a deluxe version that sits on a metal concertina frame and can be padlocked shut.
Servicing your mobility scooter
Mobility experts normally advise that you get your scooter serviced once a year. This might also be a requirement of your insurance policy if you choose to take one out.
An annual service should cost between £40 and £90, depending on the scooter's size and style. It will include checking for worn brakes and tyres, and ensuring the wiring underneath the scooter is intact. Your local mobility shop should be able to arrange a service, but if not contact the manufacturer directly.
It’s advisable to arrange for someone to come over to service your scooter at your home or in a registered mobility centre, rather than taking it away. This will help to prevent the possibly of unwarranted repair bills by unscrupulous traders.
If you suspect you may have already fallen victim to rogue traders, contact the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA).
Spare parts for mobility scooters
The scooter parts you may want to change yourself include batteries, tyres and tubes, and small parts such as light bulbs and reflectors, mirrors and armrests.
As mentioned above, replacement batteries cost between £50 and £200, depending on the scooter model. The model number of the battery should be written on it.
Tyres should be replaced when worn. If you want to replace them yourself, check the side of the tyre wall to find the size number so you can buy the correct replacements. Maintain scooter tyres by keeping them at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
The lights on your scooter should be checked regularly and any blown bulbs replaced.
Spare scooter parts can normally be bought from your local mobility shop or online retailers.