One Careful Owner! A mobility scooter can bring a similar sense of freedom and independence as you might remember experiencing with your first car. Also like any other vehicle purchase, you can spend anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousands on your chosen set of wheels. Of course, when it comes to buying a mobility scooter, you can buy a brand new one, complete with warranty for as little as £500. It means there is not the demand for used ones as there is for second hand cars. On the other hand, that lack of demand means there are bargains to be had out there. The question is, are they worth it?
Price represents the main – and some might argue the only – factor in favour of buying a used mobility scooter. A simple travel scooter only costs a few hundred pounds new, so a used one can be very cheap indeed to buy. There is a slightly more active second hand market surrounding road legal scooters, as they are more expensive to buy new.
With any second hand purchase, you are taking a chance. You might get a scooter that has had very little use and works like new – or you might get seven different kinds of trouble on four wheels. The only way to be truly confident that your mobility scooter will provide reliable service is to buy a new one that has been fully checked both by the manufacturer and in the shop. It also means that in the unlikely event that something should fail, you are fully covered – which brings us on to our next point.
Unless you are buying a “nearly new” scooter that still has some of the original manufacturer’s warranty left to run, it is unlikely that a used mobility scooter will come with any warranty. The second hand market is not like that of used cars, where there are dealers performing multi point checks and selling with their own warranties. It is very much a case of caveat emptor and if something breaks you are going to be on your own, both in terms of getting home and of covering the cost of getting mobile again.
So what exactly could go wrong with a mobility scooter that could leave you stranded in the park or at the shopping centre? By far the biggest, and most expensive, vulnerability is the battery. Now battery technology has come on a long way and continues to do so (of which more in a moment), but ultimately, it is still a consumable component and it is one that represents a significant part of the overall cost of your mobility scooter. Buying a used scooter with a battery that is past its best is the worst kind of false economy, as you can easily find that when you add the cost of a replacement battery to the purchase price, you could have bought a brand new scooter and had change to spare. Tyres are the other primary consumable. Some mobility scooters have solid tyres, and if a used scooter has stood unused for any length of time, these can flatten on one side, leading to a very uncomfortable ride.
Performance and Features
You’ll notice there are plenty of different types and makes of mobility scooters out there. It’s a competitive market and so the manufacturers are constantly making improvements across their product ranges. At CareCo, we update our product range every few years, and we notice a significant difference between one generation and the next. Newer models are typically lighter, easier to operate, faster, have longer range and feature better-performing batteries. In other words, a mobility scooter is not like a bicycle, where a brand new one has the same features as one made 10 years ago.
Avoid a False Economy
A used mobility scooter can represent a real bargain if you get one that is still quite new, has had only light use, has been properly looked after and has a battery that still has plenty of life left in it. The problem is that if any one of those four boxes is not ticked, you are likely to be buying something that is either substandard or will lead to problems and additional costs. A new mobility scooter provides the optimum in performance, comfort and peace of mind. There’s also something for every budget. Perhaps that’s why when it comes down to it, so few people decide to take a chance on buying second hand. You can find all our cheapest mobility scooters here.