Powered Mobility

Frequently asked questions: Powered mobility

• Insurance
• Maintenance
• Servicing
• Warranty

Do I need to have insurance for my powerchair, scooter or wheelchair?

There is currently no legal requirement to have insurance for a powered mobility product.

In today’s society it is probably sensible to be insured for third party injury, damage or theft.

This is available from around £60 per annum.

It is also possible to be insured for the cost of breakdowns and recovery.

This can be considerably more expensive, so it is wise to consider the length of warranty, the likely cost of any breakdown and the possible need for a recovery service before committing to this type of insurance.

To help with any breakdown it is well worth carrying a mobile phone with you at all times when out with a powered vehicle.

Will I need a licence?

Current legislation does not require you to have a licence to drive an “Invalid Carriage”.

There are 3 classes of invalid carriage as follows:

Class 1: An invalid carriage that is not mechanically propelled, i.e. a manual wheelchair. This may be used by "a person suffering from a physical defect or some physical disability."

Class 2: An invalid carriage that is mechanically propelled, that is incapable of exceeding 4mph on the level under its own power, i.e. a pavement scooter or powerchair. Use is the same as for a class 1.

Class 3: An invalid carriage that is mechanically propelled, that is capable of exceeding 4mph, but is incapable of exceeding 8mph on the level under its own power, i.e. a road going scooter or powerchair, where the speed must be restricted to 4mph when travelling on a pavement. Use is the same as for a class 1 except minimum age is 14 years.

What maintenance is required?

Daily maintenance will normally be charging the batteries and checking for obvious defects, such as punctures, or things obviously broken.

All products should come with an owner’s manual detailing weekly and monthly checks.

It would be fair to say that these checks are often not carried out.

A full annual service is required if a machine is still under warranty.

Outside of the warranty period there is a choice of having the machine serviced annually (or sooner if it has a lot of use) or dealing with problems as and when they arise.

An annual service should take around an hour, can usually be done in situ and we would normally charge from £30 excluding any parts for any mobility equipment provided by us.

For vehicles not supplied by us, but still under warranty, we will charge a call out, which varies according to the distance that we have to travel.

I have heard that three-wheelers are unstable. Is this true?

It is certainly true that most four-wheelers are more stable than three-wheelers. However three-wheel scooters are perfectly safe if used sensibly and within their limits.
Some 3 wheel scooters now have two extra small wheels added for stability purposes

Both types of scooter have their advantages.

Three wheel scooters tend to have more leg room, making it easier to get on or off. They also have a tighter turning circle so if space is restricted then it is worth considering one. Lastly the steering on most three-wheelers is lighter than on most four-wheelers, therefore less of a strain on the arms, shoulders etc.

Four-wheel scooters are generally more stable both on uneven surfaces and when getting on or off the scooter.

Can I keep a ___ outside?

It is possible to keep a scooter or powerchair outside. Several things need to be taken into consideration.

Is it possible to charge the vehicle under cover or at the very least with the charger under cover bearing in mind that it may take up to 12 hours to charge a machine?

There are a variety of different covers that can keep a machine dry in all weathers, from a small shed, a tarpaulin cover with a frame to a heavy duty nylon cover that rests on top of the machine.
Equipment stored outside will always be more susceptible to rust, mildew etc.

If security is likely to be a problem then something that is lockable would be sensible.

Is there sufficiently good access to get the vehicle to where you want to park it?

Is it parked in area that will not restrict anybody else's access?

What is the difference between a rear wheel drive and mid/front wheel drive Powerchairs?

Rear wheel drive chairs usually have larger rear wheels, and the drive and consequently the steering is through the rear wheels.

Front wheel drive chairs have larger front wheels and the drive and consequently the steering is through the front wheels.

Mid wheel drive chairs often have slightly smaller wheels which are usually situated under your bottom.

Each wheel position has advantages:

• Rear wheel drive chairs are generally better over rougher ground and at hill climbing
• Front wheel drive chairs are better going down steep hills, and are more stable if transferring from the front
• Mid wheel drive chairs are better indoors as they can turn around in their own length

Can I use a ___ left-handed?

All the powered equipment we have can be changed to left hand use with relative ease, usually within a few minutes.

What if I get a puncture?

All of our powered mobility vehicles with pneumatic tyres can have a puncture resistant filling in the inner tube.

This filling is about 80% effective on punctures, and unless it is a large hole it should seal the hole sufficiently to allow you to complete your journey.
Some users will carry an emergency inflation and repair kit that will do a similar job. These are available at most bike suppliers.

Any vehicle can be fitted with solid tyres so eliminating the possibility of a puncture, but it will make the ride a little less comfortable.

What if I have a breakdown?

We do not offer a recovery/breakdown service, though we can supply you with details of insurance to cover this if it is required.

We will repair any items that are not working as soon as we possibly can.

Wherever possible we will repair any equipment at your home.

If we have to recover the vehicle to our workshop for repair, then it will be returned to you as soon as we possibly can, and if there is something suitable available, we may lend you a similar item free of charge until yours is repaired.

Above all we will try and get you mobile again as soon as we can.

We select and supply only items of quality; however all items of electrical equipment can be prone to the occasional breakdown.

Should this occur, first of all make sure that you are not in a position of any danger to yourself or others. If you are, obtain help from any passers-by to move into a place of safety (most people are very obliging when asked). Secondly contact someone for help (it is worth carrying a mobile phone with you whenever you are out). If you have breakdown and recovery insurance, now is the time to use it.

If you can recover the equipment to your home, so much the better. If not, try and ensure that it is left somewhere that is secure.

Thirdly, contact us and we will arrange to repair it as soon as we can.

Our engineers have years of experience and knowledge in both this and other fields of engineering.

How can I stop a ___ getting stolen?

Firstly theft of mobility vehicles is not a very common occurrence.

A determined thief can of course take almost anything they want to, so it is always worth considering an insurance policy that will cover theft and third party damage (available at around £60 per annum).

There are some obvious steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of an opportunist thief.

• Always remove the key or lock the controls when leaving the vehicle
• Do not leave your vehicle outside overnight without a lock
• Do not leave a vehicle out of sight of yourself or other members of the general public if at all possible
• Some machines can be locked with a bicycle type padlock and chain. If not then we can modify most if not all machines to take either a chain and padlock.

Is there anything that will go on grass, sand etc.?

A lot of small portable scooters that have become very popular over the last few years are in reality only designed for flat level hard surfaces.

However, many of the larger scooters and powerchairs will happily cope with grass, mud that is not too wet or deep, and gravel so long as it is not too deep.

Wet grass can prove to be a problem if on a slope.

On any slope rear wheel drive chairs perform better uphill than front wheel drive ones and the opposite is true when coming downhill.

There are a few specialist manufacturers who build mobility vehicles that will cope with very rough terrain, and several companies that make a manual wheelchair for the beach.

For further details please call us on 01233 721 589

Most powerchairs and medium-to-large scooters will cope with sand as long as it is hard packed sand, but will rarely cope with soft sand.

If a machine is used on sand it is essential that it is well cleaned afterwards as sand will quickly wreck bearings if not removed, and salt water is very corrosive.

We have tried a number of powerchairs and scooters on snow and they coped surprisingly well, smaller scooters not coping as well as the larger ones.

Is it safe to charge indoors / outdoors?

With modern chargers and batteries it is safe to charge a vehicle indoors providing that you follow the manufacturer's instructions.

As a general rule, always switch off the charger at the mains before connecting or disconnecting from the machine.

When charging outdoors it is important to ensure that neither the charger nor machine can get wet, bearing in mind that it may take up to 12 hours to take a full charge, so the weather could change in that time.

We would recommend the use of an RCD plug adaptor when charging outdoors.

For a cost of around £10 to £15 it will provide greater safety and peace of mind.

I need a big scooter but can’t get it in my car. What can I do?

This depends on the type and size of car being used, how large a scooter or powerchair needs to be transported, how many people will be in the vehicle during transportation and how much weight can be lifted.

As with all scooters and powerchairs there are always elements of the machine that are quite heavy, so dismantling and lifting into the back of a car is not an easy thing to do.

Using a hoist fitted into the back of a vehicle can help, but often the seat will need to be removed from the scooter.

With an estate car or some MPVs it is relatively simple, as ramps can be used to load the powerchair or scooter.

It is however essential to try out the ramps you are considering with the car and mobility vehicle first as there are many little things that can cause problems, such as a tow bars on the car, or the stabiliser wheels on the back of most scooters and power chairs.
Smaller car transportable scooters designed to be dismantled can not be loaded into a car using a ramp due to their low ground clearance

Saloon cars and hatchbacks present their own problems, not least of which is the height of the lip that anything going into the boot has to be lifted over.

It may be possible to fit a false floor allowing the use of ramps, but this does not work with all vehicles.

Another possible solution is to have a small trailer to take the scooter or power chair.

There are even some available with a trailer base that can be swiveled through 90 degrees allowing the scooter to be offloaded when space behind the trailer is restricted.

If the car is fitted with a tow bar there is also a platform with ramp that will fit directly on the back of the car supported by the tow bar.

The most important aspect with any of these solutions is that they should be tried first as little difficulties often are not noticed until then.

We can help find the best solution for your circumstances.

How long do batteries last?

All batteries have a finite life.

This will depend on the use that they have had, how often they are charged, where they have been stored and several other factors.

As a general rule expect a set of batteries to last between 18 months and 2 years.

Any more than that and you have done well.

If the vehicle has very heavy use then they may only last for nine months to a year.

We can supply batteries to fit any powerchair or scooter.

How far will a ___ go on one charge?

The range given on mobility vehicle brochures, including those on this site, will give a range in terms of "up to".

This is because the range stated is normally that for ideal conditions, in other words on a flat level surface, at constant speed, with somebody who is possibly lighter than the average user, in warm conditions and without stopping.

As a general rule of thumb, the usable range of any scooter is likely to be in the region of half to two thirds of that quoted.

All of the following factors can affect the range of any given battery.

• The age of the battery
• The weight of the user
• The load carried with the user
• The amount of stopping and starting
• The ambient temperature
• Uneven ground
• Grass, mud, snow, gravel, slopes and the wind direction
• The pressure of the tyres
• The state of charge of the battery at the start of the journey

What if it rains?

The options available for rain protection are as follows:

• A canopy (scooters only). This covers the entire scooter and will keep you dry and out of the wind. The disadvantages are that it decreases the visibility, feels unstable in the wind and cannot easily be removed by one person.
• A cape that is worn by the user and covers most of the vehicle as well (a bit like a bicycle cape). There is quite a selection to choose from, with or without arms, with or without lining, etc.
• Full waterproof clothing, very good but more difficult to get on or off
• An umbrella that will fit to a powerchair, leaving hands free for controls
• A cover for the seat when vehicle is left
• A cover for the tiller (handlebars) of scooters
• Enjoy getting wet!

Take back control over your life

The right mobility aids can make a huge difference. Start your transformation today with a free powered mobility assessment from Forr Mobility.

Visit our showroom at Frithfield Farm

Forr Mobility,
Coopers Lane,
Aldington Frith,
TN25 7HH
Share by: