We have plenty of advice on choosing and buying a mobility scooter but maintaining it and keeping your vehicle in the best condition are just as important if you want it to last for years and provide you with a good resale value.
Maintenance is not complicated and it does not have to be costly and there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that it serves you well for years to come. .
When you first take delivery of your scooter, you must make sure that the battery is fully charged before you use it. It should be charged for 24 hours to start with to guarantee that it’s ready for use and to ensure that you get the longest life out of the batteries. Modern batteries store charging information and maintaining this is dependent on adhering to the correct charging schedule.
The first time that you use your scooter, the battery will probably only show between 75 and 80 per cent capacity. When you are back from that first outing, you should plug the charger in again and do another full, overnight charge cycle. .
On your second trip out, the battery indicator will probably show a 90 per cent charge, meaning that the device will need another full overnight charge. Once you have been through several of these full charge and discharge cycles, the indicator will be accurate and should show 100 per cent capacity when you disconnect the charge from the mains. .
Just as with a mobile phone or a laptop, scooter battery charges are designed to charge from zero to maximum capacity. Over time, repeated ‘mini charge top-ups’ will damage the battery and you will eventually have to have it replace it. .
So it is much better to allow the charger to charge the battery back up to 100 per cent and this means charging it for at least eight hours at a time and sometimes a whole day. Running out to the shops or other short trips will only use about 10 per cent of a battery charge so you should not charge it after each short trip. Instead, wait until the charging indicator is lit or indicates that the battery capacity is in the red and then put the scooter on a full charge cycle. It is often easier to have a set charge schedule that you adhere to - perhaps putting the scooter on charge every third or fourth night if you use it moderately. .
Most scooters are robust but the British winter can take its toll on even the best-made vehicle. When you are not using it, you should store the scooter in a dry, clean place – preferably a garage or dry shed but a small scooter can be stored in a hallway. Keeping it dry will stop it corroding. If you have no choice but to keep the scooter outside, then you should buy a waterproof storage cover to protect from the rain. The most expensive covers have a metal frame which padlocks to ensure that the scooter is protected from the elements and theft. .
You should regularly check – or ask somebody else to – underneath the scooter to make sure that no dirt is building up. Dirt can trap moister and encourage corrosion and also cause obstructions which could damage the vehicle. .
Most scooters need servicing once a year and, as with a car, having a full service history will help to maintain a scooter’s value for when you come to sell it. An annual service will cost between £40 and £90 and will consist of a brake and tyre check, an assessment of the vehicle’s wiring and the condition of the battery. Most reputable service companies will be happy to visit you at home and service your scooter there. If you are a member of the BHTA, then you can find a list of reputable service companies on their website.
By Help Mobility Team