Your mobility scooter is only as good as the batteries that power it. Most scooters run on rechargeable batteries. You can charge them using an ordinary electric socket, but they will need to be replaced from time to time.
Typically these are 12V batteries that you can recharge on your mains electricity. You can buy different sizes – the larger and heavier the battery, the longer it will last. If you live in a hilly area or you are at the heavier end of the weight capacity, the battery will drain more quickly.
You’ll want to make sure the batteries provide enough range for the journeys that you plan to make and that you have somewhere suitable to plug in and recharge the batteries frequently.
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 18 months to two years (and some last as long as five), after which they will need replacing, which will cost between £50 and £200.
It depends on how often you use your scooter but, as a general rule, ‘standard’ use of a mobility scooter – for example, an hour a day – normally requires the batteries to be charged daily.
To ensure the batteries are fully charged, it's best to charge them for between eight and 10 hours. As it's simplest to do this overnight, it makes sense to keep your scooter near a mains electricity power socket. If this will not be possible, make sure you choose a model that allows you to remove the batteries and charge them away from the scooter.
There is no need to run the battery down before you recharge – it won’t damage or affect the battery’s capacity if you charge it when it’s not empty.
Expert views vary on whether overcharging the batteries is harmful – in reality, it depends on the battery type. Some manufacturers will tell you to avoid charging for more than 12 hours as this could damage the battery. And for some scooters it's not recommended to charge the batteries if they have more than 80% power left. Check the instructions that came with the scooter, as well as with the batteries – these should make it clear whether there is any risk of overcharging.
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.
This depends on how often you use your scooter. In most cases they should last at least 12 to 18 months. Some batteries will last considerably longer, depending on usage.
When your battery is fading, you’ll notice its capacity will reduce and you won't be able to travel the distances you once did on a single charge. For this reason, it’s a good idea to book an annual service and check if the batteries need replacing then.
If your model will allow you to change battery sizes, you can replace your standard battery with a high-capacity pack that will take you further, typically doubling your range. However, they will cost more and be heavier to lift.
Mobility scooters operate on a 24v system, comprised of two 12v batteries that are charged together on the scooter. A pair of batteries usually costs from £50 to around £100.
More expensive batteries usually offer better performance and a greater range on a single charge.
The model number of the battery should be written on it. Jot this down if you want to replace your batteries with identical ones.
Here we explain various other important features you’ll come across if you’re thinking about buying a mobility scooter. Before choosing a scooter, think about which features are most important for you.
If you already have a scooter, our tips will help you keep it in good working order. Spare scooter parts can normally be bought from your local mobility shop or online retailers.
The stopping mechanism on a scooter is permanently on until you push the wig-wag to drive the scooter. As soon as you let go of the wig-wag, the brakes are applied and the scooter comes to a stop. Some larger scooters have traditional brakes.
This is the base of the mobility scooter, usually made of metal or fibreglass. It holds the motor, battery, seat post and steering column. Wheels attach here, too. Its rear section contains the driving mechanism (motor, gearbox and axle) and in some models this is detachable.
This sits on the top of the tiller, usually on the handlebars. It has a speed dial, forward/reverse directions and battery-level indicator, as well as the ignition and horn.
The handlebars sit on top of the tiller and guide the scooter in the direction you want. Models either have handlebars or a delta tiller (square shape) that allows you to rest your hands and operate forward and reverse levers with your thumbs.
You’ll need to insert and turn a key to switch the scooter on. Some models have no ignition, just an on/off switch.
If you opt for a Class 3 scooter it will include extra elements, such as rear-view mirrors, and front and back lights for driving on the road. Some Class 2 scooters also have lights.
The lights on your scooter should be checked regularly and any blown bulbs replaced.
On some models, the seat swivels and locks and the armrests flip up to allow you to get on and off the mobility scooter more easily. You may also be able to detach the armrests for easier transportation, as well as adjust their width to maximise comfort and enable storage in tight spaces.
This is the vertical column at the front of the scooter that sits above its front wheels and guides steering. It houses the control box at the top. Some models have flexible tillers, so you can adjust their height and position when getting on and off, as well as for driving.
Small scooters tend to have solid rubber tyres that are puncture-proof, whereas larger models have pneumatic tyres filled with pressurised air. The latter are more comfortable but need to be checked/inflated regularly.
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.
Scooters have three to five wheels. Four-wheeled models are popular because they feel stable, but three-wheelers are narrower and enable you to get around tight corners more easily. Five-wheeled scooters offer the best of both worlds: you get stability but the fifth wheel at the front allows you to turn in a tight space.
The lever you press with your thumb to make the scooter go forwards or backwards. Depending on your thumb control, you can control the speed by applying gentler or firmer pressure.
Of all the accessories available for mobility scooters, the UK weather dictates that the most essential is probably protection from rain, wind and cold.
A scooter cape that covers your body (and sometimes the scooter, too) with a hole for your head can be bought for less than £50. This is probably the safest way to protect yourself from bad weather as it allows you to maintain full visibility.
Transparent covers/hoods that fit over the entire scooter, including your head, are also available but are not advisable because they reduce visibility and could lead to accidents.
Other useful accessories include plastic covers for the scooter controls, scooter bags that attach to the back of the seat, walking stick holders and waterproof seat covers.