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Mobility Scooters – Frequently Asked Questions
The purchase of a mobility scooter is complicated, but it does not have to be stressful. These are some of the answers to common questions that many shoppers will ask when it comes to buying a mobility scooter.
What Price Can I Expect To Pay?
The price of a mobility scooter will generally depend on the style that you buy and whether or not you are looking to buy a reconditioned or brand new model. You could expect to pay as little as £400 on a new, portable model, or up to £4,000 for a top of the line class 3 scooter that can be used on the road. In order to see which of the models came out as the best, the experts put mobility scooters of several brands like Invacare, Electrical Mobility and Monarch Mobility through the paces, technical testing and real-liife assessments. There are a number of smaller and medium scooters that you can get between £800 to £2,000, with the higher priced models being those that fold. With our mobility scooter reviews, we have used recommended retail pricing as a guide.
What Is The Difference Between Second Hand And New Mobility Scooters?
There are a number of people who will trade in an older model scooter to exchange or upgrade to a newer one. Therefore, you are going to see a lot of second hand or reconditioned models that are for sale in mobility shops. You can expect to see them listed with reduced warranties, for about three months instead of a full year. By visiting our guides on buying either a second hand or new scooter, you will be able to learn all about the various pros and cons that come from each, plus the rights that you have when you buy one online.
How Often Should My Mobility Scooter Battery Be Charged?
This will depend on just how often you are using your scooter. However, as a general rule, if you are using your scooter during the day, you will need to recharge the battery in the evening. There will not be a need to run the battery all the way down before charging it, and this will not damage the batter or impact the capacity if you charge it before it is empty. With some scooter models, you are not supposed to charge it if the battery has more than 80% power left on it, or charge for longer than 12 hours at a time. The scooter instructions that come with your model should be nice and clear on how you should charge your scooter battery, and this is something that we also look for when we are testing out scooters.
Can Additional Batteries Be Purchased For Long Distance Travel?
If you have a model that will allow you to change battery sizes, you will be able to replace the standard battery with a pack that is high-capacity to take you further. In most situations, this will double your range. However, they are going to cost a bit more and also be heavier to lift.
How Much Can I Expect To Spend On Batteries?
Generally, a pair of batteries will cost around £100. Purchase them in pairs so that you can alternate in between charges and to have one on hand if one completely fails.
Will My Mobility Scooter Need To Be Serviced?
It is always recommended you have your scooter serviced once per year or at a point when you notice that there is a bit of a change in performance. If you notice any squeaks or unusual noises or if your tire tread is getting shallow, you should have it serviced. You can usually expect to pay around £70 for each service.
Can You Bring A Mobility Scooter Into Shopping Centers And Shops?
You might be able to bring your scooter into a shopping area, but you should never assume. It will only depend on the regulations for the particular business. There may be concerns that the scooter could block a pathway or get stuck in a tight spot, or that you may end up driving the scooter too quickly through an environment that is crowded with other patrons. In order to learn more about using your particular mobility scooter in public places, you can visit out guide on using a mobility scooter.
What Mobility Scooter Will Be Best For Traveling?
There are two different types of travel or boot scooters. A foldable scooter is going to let you remove the battery and then unlock the tiller at the base prior to folding it down to get it ready for transport. They will fold down to a shape that is compact, allowing you to freewheel them, just like you would with a wheelie suitcase. Dismantling scooters will leave you with five or six parts, including the battery, seat, tiller, basket, chassis and sometimes the rear driving unit. To learn which are the best, or the worst, you can look at the travel scooter reviews that we have done to include both the Luggie and Drive Medical scooters.
Can Mobility Scooters Go On A Plane?
The only general rule that you will see with boot scooters is that you need to call the airline ahead of time to go over the details of your scooter to get permission. They will usually ask you for the model, make, size, weight and whether or not it will dismantle or fold. You will also need to know the battery your scooter has, as well as the weight. Bring your operating manual with you when you fly. You will not be able to have the scooter as hand luggage, so it will travel in the hold.
How Is A Boot Scooter Dismantled?
Unlock the seat underneath, then take it off. Next, remove the battery, where some will lift out or others may need to have a lever depressed. There are some models that will let you split the chassis into two pieces at this stage. Lastly, you unscrew the tiller or you fold it down. If you have lost the instruction manual, you may be able to find some of them online, or you can contact the manufacturer directly.
Can I Lift A Boot Scooter Myself?
There is no such guarantee you will be able to lift your scooter on your own, in particular the foldable versions that can be awkward and heavy to lift. With the dismantling, the tiller will generally be the heaviest piece, so ti is best to try lifting prior to purchase. There are also hoists that you can buy to help you lift the scooter in and out of your vehicle.
What About Hills?
Most mobility scooters will struggle with hills, but this never means you cannot use them in a hilly area. In general, they will handle a small slope or about the same gradient for a wheelchair access ramp. Some will be able to tackle a tougher, steeper slope, but some may cut out when trying to do so.
What About Storing?
The scooter’s electronics can get damaged from condensation and heat, so you need to be sure it is not left outside or exposed to the elements. It is advised that you use a shed or a garage, with an ideal set up being one that has a good electricity source so that you can charge it. A boot scooter can be left in your vehicle and the batter can be brought inside for charging. If you do have to leave your scooter outside, you have to protect is using a plastic covering.
Securing Your Scooter
A scooter can be locked using a padlock and chain, but it will be best to keep it inside or locked in your garage. All scooters have serial numbers so that you can easily track them by contacting the local police.
If you suffer from limited mobility, you should consider a powered scooter instead of a wheelchair or as a complement to a wheelchair.
Scooters are more visually appealing compared to wheelchairs and are easier to transport since they are usually more compact and weigh less. They are also easier to maneuver. Keep reading if you want to find out more about this type of mobility aids and want to find out if a mobility scooter could be a good option for you.
How Are Mobility Scooters Made?
Mobility scooters usually include a platform with wheels. The drive unit and the battery are built into this platform. Scooters usually feature a seat and some hand rests with controls. Some scooters have a rear wheel drive unit so you can use them on a more challenging terrain or if you need more traction. Steel, fiberglass or aluminum is typically used to make the platform of the scooter and the drive unit. The dashboard and drive head might be covered. If you want to get a scooter, look for one that will be easy to maneuver. Look at how the front of the scooter turns and consider the size and ground clearance of the unit.
Choose A Safe And Comfortable Scooter
The size and construction of your mobility scooter are really important since they will impact your comfort. You should be able to comfortably place your feet on the platform of the scooter and easily reach the commands. Try different models until you find one that is adapted to your size. You should be able to find a scooter with an adjustable seat and handles. You might also want a larger base or some footrests if you are tall or need to wear a leg brace.
Look For These Safety Features
You need to make sure the base of the scooter will remain stable when you take sharp turns or find yourself on an incline. Some scooters feature an anti-tip feature to keep the wheels stable when you maneuver the unit. Ask about the safety features of the scooter you are interested in.
Choose A Scooter With A Reliable Drive Train
Front Wheel Drive Scooters
Front wheel drive scooters are made to be used indoor. These units are a little less powerful but they are usually easier to maneuver and might be smaller and lighter. This is a good option if you will mostly be driving over smooth surfaces. The downside is that curbs might be a problem. Front wheel drive scooters are easy to transport and should fit in most wheelchair lifts due to their smaller size.
Rear Wheel Drive Scooters
Rear wheel scooters are more powerful and typically have batteries that last longer. They are ideal for rougher and uneven terrains. These scooters are usually larger and might be harder to maneuver compared to front wheel drive scooters. They can usually go faster and might be harder to transport. Your rear wheel drive scooter will probably not fit in most wheelchair lifts.
Test The Brakes
You need to be able to rely on the brakes of your scooter. Rear wheel drive scooters usually feature electronic barking systems and the scooter will stop when you let go of the controls. You will have to use the brake release lever for the scooter to be able to move. Most scooters also have disc brakes instead of an electronic system. Some scooters feature both systems.
Front wheel drive scooters usually have disc brakes as well as a parking brake so you can manually stop the rear wheels.
How Long Will The Battery Last?
Scooters are powered by one or two 12 or 24-volt batteries. You will usually find a 24-volt battery in a rear wheel drive scooter and most front wheel drive scooters have a 12-volt battery. The battery is used to keep the scooter powered and not to start up the scooter like a car battery would, which is why different types of batteries are used. You can purchase an add on for your battery but keep in mind that this will make the battery last longer but won’t make the scooter go faster. A battery typically lasts between a year and a year and a half depending on how much you use your scooter. Batteries can withstand being constantly discharged and charged. You can find batteries with gel cell in them or with lead acid. Most scooters come with a charger and you will not have to pay extra for this accessory. If you want to buy an additional charger, make sure you get one that is compatible with the kind of battery used in your scooter. You can use an integral charger since they are smaller, but this means that scooter will have to be taken apart if repairs are needed. Independent chargers take more space but you can simply replace them if they stop working.
Choose The Right Kind Of Wheels And Tires
The size of the wheels and tires will impact the maneuverability of your scooter. Your scooter will be easier to maneuver if the front wheels and tires are smaller but you will get less traction. This is why most rear wheel drive scooters have large tires designed to grip the terrain. You can find scooters with foam filled tires, solid tires or pneumatic tires. This last type of tire will provide you with the most comfort but they require more maintenance and you will have to replace them. Foam filled tired do not require any maintenance but will feel less comfortable. Solid tires are your best option if you will be mostly using your scooter indoor. They do not require any maintenance but are not very comfortable.
Test The Seating
Seating is really important when choosing a mobility scooter. Look for a scooter with seat padding and with a comfortable head rest. You might also want a seat with arm rests. A seat with fabric covering should be more comfortable than a vinyl seat but you will have to spend a little more. You should also consider a powered seat to make getting in and out of the scooter easier. A powered seat is an interesting feature if you want to be able to reach up while sitting in your scooter. The downside of powered seats is that they will use more power and make the cost of the scooter go up. Look for an adjustable seat if you are taller or shorter than average and make sure the arm rests can be flipped up so you can easily get in and out of the scooter.
Familiarize Yourself With The Controls
Most scooters feature thumb levers but you might also find joysticks or loop handles. If a thumb lever would not be easy to use for you, look for a scooter with a joystick on the arm rest.
Accessories Are Important
You might need a scooter that can carry some items you need. A crutch holder, a space to transport an oxygen tank or any other items you need are crucial. Choose a scooter with a front or a rear basket, a horn and some lights if you want to go places with it.
Which Scooter Is right For You?
You need to look for a scooter that is adapted to your unique needs. Ask yourself where you will use the scooter, how much time you will spend in it and what the ideal size of the scooter would be. Test different kinds of controls and make a list of the features you would like to find in your mobility scooter to find the perfect model.
Choosing the mobility scooter that works the best for you does not have to be a difficult decision. It is really about knowing what it is you want, exactly what you need as well as how the various options fit in with your specifications. On a daily basis, we at 101 Mobility work with people who are in the process of deciding on which mobility scooter will best fit their personal lifestyle and needs.
Here are a few questions that you are going to want to ask yourself as you begin making the decision of which mobility scooter is best for you:
1. Is my health good enough for a mobility scooter or would a wheelchair be best?
2. Do I prefer a mobility scooter with three or four wheels?
• Three wheel scooters are ideal for those who will mainly be using their scooter indoors, they are a lot easier to manage and can easily maneuver around corners.
• Generally, due to their stability, four wheel scooters are preferred for outdoor use. A four wheel model works better on surfaces which are rugged or uneven.
3. When navigating hills or curbs in my neighborhood, do I need additional power?
• If the answer is yes, then perhaps you may want to opt for the four wheel mobility scooter.
4. What is the maximum distance that a scooter will go? How will this compare to my normal daily routines?
5. Is it easy for me to reach the controls? If so, are the simple to understand and use?
6. Is the scooters platform wide enough so that my legs and feet are comfortable supported?
7. Is the seat offered by the scooter a swivel seat?
• The transition on and off of a scooter is made easier with a swivel seat. This is an option that we have found our clients prefer.
8. Will I have to transport the scooter?
• If the answer is yes, can the scooter you are interested in be disassembled?
9. How much does the heaviest piece of the scooter weigh when disassembled?
• Is this a weight that you are comfortable lifting?
10. What kind of warranty is included with the scooter?
11. How are repairs taken care of?
• When it comes to 101 Mobility, you can always count on the support and services of a team of local professionals.
If you mobility scooter will be used in your home, it is important to the width of any doorways or gates into consideration. It is also important to consider that a ramp will be needed to get over any steps. There is also a complete line of accessibility ramps that 101 Mobility carries for your convenience.
A mobility scooter is a motorized device which is powered using an electrical system and a rechargeable battery. They are also called disability scooters or power scooters. The seat of the scooter sits over two rear wheels. There’s a flat area on the scooter for your feet and you use the handlebars for steering.
If you can’t walk or have difficulty walking, a mobility scooter is a great way to get around your home, neighborhood, airport, supermarket, zoo, or anywhere you want to go.
There is a wide variety of scooters available. Some scooters are compact and lightweight. They won’t be great for errands, but you won’t be comfortable on long trips. Some are narrow, others are heavy and wide, making them more stable.
Some scooters are good for rough terrain because of their knobby wheels, but they won’t work well for a trip to the supermarket. The different features and options determine the best use for the scooter, which is why some people end up with more than one power scooter.
Types of Mobility Scooters
3-Wheel Indoor/Outdoor Scooter – These can be used inside or outside of the home. These scooters have two wheels in the back and one in the front. They have lots of leg room and have a tight turn radius.
3-Wheel Travel Scooter – These compact scooters can negotiate tight spaces and narrow places. These lightweight scooters are designed to be quickly and easily assembled and disassembled. These scooters are perfect for errands, shopping, vacations, and outings. When used outdoors, this is best for even and paved surfaces.
3-Wheel Heavy-Duty Scooter – These heavy-duty scooters are built for people with large frames, with a rider weight capacity of up to 300 pounds and up. Powerful vehicles offer many features, plus they have the tight turning radius in all 3-wheeled scooters.
4-Wheel Indoor/Outdoor Scooters –A 4-wheel scooters has added stability. They provide a smooth ride on uneven surfaces. These 4-wheel scooters are better suited for use outside of the house because of the turning radius and size. Make sure you consider where to use this electric scooter. If speed, comfort, and battery range are high on your list, you should consider an indoor/outdoor 4-wheel scooter.
4-Wheel Travel Scooter – This lightweight and compact mobility scooter offers the stability of the 4-wheeled scooter. This is perfect for getting around town and short jaunts in the neighborhood. They are designed for easy tear-down, portability, and assembly. These scooters can fit right in a trunk.
4-Wheel Heavy Duty Scooter – This is the largest model. These heavy-duty scooters are stable, rugged, and comfortable. They are durable, dependable, fast, and feature-rich. The rider weight capacity which ranges from 350 to 500 pounds. For the king of durability, luxury, and heavy-duty suspension, you should see the Wrangler PMV which is a 4-Wheel All-Terrain Scooter.
When you look for a new mobility scooter, remember to check out scooter accessories. You may need additional scooter batteries, mobility ramps, scooter canopies and covers, and scooter pouches.
When It Comes To Mobility Scooters, Do You Go 3- Or 4-Wheel?
Mobility scooters prove themselves to be useful answers to anyone who has trouble walking but still wants to stay independent and able to perform daily tasks alone.
It’s critical that you choose mobility scooters which suit your lifestyle, plans, and abilities. You need to consider things like when you’ll use a mobility scooter, where you’ll use it, the weight capacity of it, its battery life, ease of transport, speed, the leg room, and the maneuverability of the scooter. All of these play their part in determining how useful or enjoyable a scooter is for you. You might even think about getting multiple scooters so that you can have one for indoor use to get around shopping excursions and to have something portable while also having another one for all-terrain outdoor use that can cover longer distances comfortably. These are very distinct vehicles.
If you are not able to sit in an erect posture for a long period of time or if you do not have enough manual dexterity or physical strength to manage the controls, then mobility scooters might not be a good idea.
When looking at mobility scooters, you are going to notice that the most glaring difference between many of them is that some are 3-wheel models and others are 4-wheel models. There are more differences than just the looks though. All kinds of have their own unique sets of benefits and drawbacks.
3-Wheel Scooters: The Benefits and Drawbacks
- Greater range of maneuverability thanks to a tighter turning radius
- Ideal for use indoors or on pavement
- Highly maneuverable in crowded situations like stores
- Lighter in weight; often disassemble for easy transport
- Lots of leg room
- Should avoid uneven outdoor terrain
- Less stability than something with a fourth wheel
- Not as durable as other models
4-Wheel Scooters: The Benefits and Drawbacks
- Highly reliable on uneven or rough outdoor terrain
- Two wheels in both back and front mean stability
- Broader turning radius make maneuvering stores, homes, and crowds harder to do
- Wider in size, so harder to get down narrow passages or into tight doorways
- Larger, weigh more, faster speed, increased comfort, and more durable
Critical note: Advances in battery life, materials, engineering, and metals are destroying many preexisting notions and stereotypes about 3- versus 4-wheeled models of mobility scooters. Read all features carefully about any models you look at.
If you want to invest in a mobility scooter, you need to take the time to ensure you’re making the right decision. Research the available options to make sure you’re getting a scooter that makes sense for your use, size, and lifestyle.
Before you choose a mobility scooter, you should answer these 5 important questions.
1. Are you capable of physically operating a mobility scooter?
Can you sit upright for a long period of time? Do you have strength and dexterity in both hands so you can safely operate the controls and steer your scooter? If so, then you are a good candidate for the powered mobility scooter.
Do you need special seating options? You can get a scooter with positioning pads. Do you need to have your legs elevated? Do you have limited hand strength or dexterity? Then you may need to considered a Powered Wheelchair.
Power chairs use a joystick mounted in the armrest to control the chair. These units can be maneuvered using one hand. There are advanced steering options available for those who are unable to use their hands. Your power chair can be customized using various leg rest and seating options. However, it’s important to note that leg rests are not an option for mobility scooters.
2. How much weight can the scooter carry?
Once you know that the mobility scooter is the type of unit you need, you must consider the carrying capacity. The weight limit may immediately eliminate some of the available choices.
When considering the weight limit, don’t just consider the rider’s weight. You also need to consider the weight of item’s that will be carried in the scooter which can range from shopping bags and laundry baskets to medical equipment and oxygen tanks.
If you find that your calculated weight is close to the scooter’s weight capacity, consider selecting a unit with a higher capacity. Remember people may gain weight over time when they start riding and stop walking.
Don’t try to fudge your weight calculations or you may void the scooter’s warranty. In addition, too much weight can affect a power scooter’s overall performance, especially when traveling uphill.
You should also consider your physical attributes when selecting a scooter. You may not feel comfortable in a very large scooter is you’re a petite person. If you’re tall, you may feel cramped if the scooter you choose doesn’t offer enough leg room.
3. Where will you ride the scooter?
You may need a scooter to do some shopping and run errands, but want to use the walker or cane at home. If so, then you should consider a compact travel scooter. These scooters offer lots of wonderful features, however, they have one common feature, they “come apart” which makes it easy to transport.
The 3-wheel travel scooter is the most maneuverable, most compact, and lightest model. They are stable on most even surfaces. Since they have a tight turning radius, they’re wonderful for negotiating store aisles, making quick turns and navigating through crowds.
The 4-wheel travel scooter is less compact and heavier. However, they are more stable on uneven surfaces and they’re more comfortable for the rider. When looking at a travel scooter you should weight the level of stability, comfort and battery range of the 4-wheel scooter, against the portability, easy assembly, and maneuverability of the 3-wheel unit.
If you need to use your mobility scooter in the house, the biggest challenge is the space needed to make turns, get through a narrow bathroom door, or get down a narrow hallway. The 3-wheel mobility scooter is often the only choice is you have a small space.
If the 3-wheel scooter is still too large for your home, you should consider a power wheelchair which has the smallest turning radius. This may be your best choice is you are unable to use other mobility devices, such as a manual wheelchair, walker/rollator, or cane, in your home.
If you’re a road warrior who wants to go on long-distance adventures, romps through the park, or just tool around the neighborhood then you need a scooter that offers a comfort, stability, and a large battery range. Your best choice will be a 4-wheel scooter or a 4-wheel heavy duty scooter.
The heavy-duty scooter has a larger drive motor and a larger weight capacity. Depending on the current location, you may need an All-Terrain Scooter. If you plan on driving your scooter through tall grass, you should consider finding a unit that has a high ground clearance.
If you want the ultimate powered mobility scooter, check out the Shoprider Flagship Scooter. This unit has windshield wipers and a 75-mile battery capacity.
4. Where will you store the scooter and how will you transport it?
If you plan on carrying your mobility scooter in a vehicle, consider how much space you’ll need and the strength needed to assemble and disassemble the scooter. Many large scooters cannot be disassembled and you would need a vehicle lift to transport them. Some customers own more than one scooter and several mobility devices that they need to get around. If you can afford it, this would be ideal.
5. Will my health insurance pay for my power scooter?
One of the biggest hurdles for many people who want a mobility scooter or power wheelchair is proving medical necessity to their insurance company. Medical necessity must be proven in order to get the insurance company to pay a portion of the costs. Medicare has certain requirements, which are typically used by other insurance companies. Here are the requirements to prove medical necessity.
- You must have a medical need for using this equipment.
- The equipment must be needed for home use and useful (can fit) within the home’s physical layout. The power wheelchair or scooter is not primarily for recreational or leisure use.
- The scooter cannot be only for use outside of the home.
- You must be incapable of using a walker, manual wheelchair, or cane.
- Your doctor must be able to explain why you medically need the device and that you are able to operate the scooter safely.
If you believe you are qualified for a mobility scooter, contact your insurer for a referral. They will give you information on local mobility scooter providers. If you don’t meet these requirements, you’re free to choose whichever scooter fits your needs and budget