It can’t be denied – scooters are one of the best ways of reclaiming your independence, taking back the freedom you may feel you’ve lost since developing mobility issues. If you’ve recently purchased a mobility scooter or are thinking about investing in one it’s important you know the basics of how to get the best performance from it before your first ride, as misusing it or neglecting the condition of your scooter can result in it failing. Read on to find out more on how to look after your scooter’s main components.
Looking after your scooter’s batteries is particularly important if you’ve purchased a brand new model, as undercharging or misusing the batteries within the first few charges can dramatically affect their performance.
- On arrival, ensure you leave the scooter to fully charge before riding it. Plug the charger supplied into the scooter, insert the plug into the mains and leave for at least 10-12 hours, ideally overnight. This will activate the batteries and ensure you have enough power for your first outing.
- Never run the batteries completely flat. This can damage the amount of power they can hold in the future. There is no need to run them flat as you might with other pieces of electrical equipment.
- You may find that your scooter’s ‘best performance’ occurs after 10-15 uses/charges. This is due to the fact that the batteries have ‘warmed up’ enough to hold a full charge and can use this to their maximum power e.g. your scooter may only be able to travel 3/4 of the estimated distance for the first few charges, but may be able to reach its full range after 10 uses.
- If you use your scooter on a daily basis you’re best charging it after every use (at the end of the day, not between daily uses), for at least 10 hours until it’s fully charged.
- If you use your scooter occasionally (2-3 times a week) then you must charge the batteries overnight and again once you’ve finished your journey. This is to keep them active and working to full capacity.
- If you decide to store your scooter for an extended period of time (over the winter months) then you must fully charge the batteries beforehand. Store them in a warm, dry place e.g. a cupboard, and recharge them once a month to keep them active. If you ignore this advice and the batteries fail you may not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
As with cars, motorbikes and other vehicles, mobility scooters can be incredibly dangerous if left in the wrong hands. Ensure you’re safe throughout every journey by following the steps below.
- Before purchasing, test drive your selected scooter. This is to check that the scooter is the right size for your body shape, and that you can properly control and drive it.
- Adjust the seat and tiller (if possible) to fit your body properly. This is not only to do with your comfort but your safety too, as you need to be able to reach and grip the handlebars to be in full control.
- Before every journey ensure you’ve set the scooter to an appropriate speed limit. If you’re travelling on pavements and footpaths the legal limit is 4mph, while on-road it’s 8mph.
- Never carry passengers or pets as both can cause distractions leading to accidents.
- Don’t overload your scooter with shopping and personal belongings. This can lead to the scooter under performing in terms of distance (the heavier the load the shorter the estimated range) and can also cause accidents.
- Avoid steep inclines and declines where possible.
- Always remove the key when you’re finished driving to prevent theft.
Cleaning & Maintenance
No matter the type or model you drive, maintaining and cleaning your scooter on a regular basis is incredibly important in keeping it on top form.
- Check the tyres for debris lodged in the tread and carefully remove anything found. Replace punctured tyres.
- If you get caught in the rain ensure you thoroughly dry the scooter’s frame and batteries when you return home.
- Use a mixture of washing up liquid and water to remove any mud or thick, dried-on dirt.
- Remove any debris caught on the underside of the frame, as anything stuck can cause a lack of performance (and potential accidents).
- Wipe clean spillages on the seat as soon as they occur (if possible).
Follow these simple tips to get the best performance out of your mobility scooter for as long as possible!