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How Long Do Wheelchairs Last?

There are many different models and designs of manual wheelchairs today on the market. Like a bicycle or a car, some are built with better components than others, making them last longer. Even at that, it is sometimes uneasy for a user to know precisely how long a chair will last; the lifespan of every wheelchair depends almost entirely on the materials used and the user’s lifestyle in the chair.

The great news is that there are a lot of ways to determine the lifespan of your wheelchair. Though these chairs are made of different components that can fail, some can be easily repaired without much difficulty. One of the easiest ways to know a standard wheelchair’s lifespan is by checking the quality of materials used. Nowadays, there are various types of wheelchair materials available. 

General, wheelchairs last for five years or more. The lifespan of a wheelchair depends on how it is being maintained and stored. Also, the way a wheelchair is used says a lot about its lifespan. An indoor wheelchair might not last long if it is used for outdoor purposes and vice versa. It is vital to bear in mind that some features are subjected to quicker wear and tear, and such components must be frequently inspected for them to function properly and last long.

As a general rule, the tire pressure, the backrest, the brakes, and every other moving part of a wheelchair should be checked every month. It is advisable to always take a quick look at the upholstery and footrest after every three to four months as this makes wheelchairs last a lot longer. To correctly maintain a wheelchair, invite authorized personnel to come around and carry out annual checks on your wheelchair. This inspection will help you spot out problems with your wheelchair so you can get them quickly fixed before they get out of hand or become further worst.

Now that we have known how long wheelchairs last, let us go ahead to see how long the significant wheelchairs last. 

Manual Wheelchairs

The manual wheelchairs are the most commonly used chairs for those with limited mobility, and as we all know it, these chairs all look the same. However, there are specific differences you should know about these manual wheelchairs before getting one for your mobility needs. One of the significant differences between these wheelchairs is their durability because they are made of different materials. Some last much longer than others. 

  • Steel And Aluminum Wheelchairs

You will find the steel manual chairs to be stronger and cheaper. These chairs are commonly used as rentals in public venues and are heavy, quite hard to maneuver, and they last for three to four years. The aluminum wheelchairs are lightweight and a bit cheap. These chairs get heavy as time goes by. They also get crack and brittle. They last for a shorter period (usually two years).

  • Titanium And Carbon Fiber Wheelchairs

The titanium wheelchairs are light and robust. They are designed to last much longer than the aluminum chairs; the material used is flexible and does not break or crack easily. Lastly, on the other hand, carbon fiber wheelchairs are also light, strong, and expensive. Although they are lightweight, they are hard to customize or adapt. 

Manual wheelchairs that are made of anything but aluminum are reliable and last for an extended period, but ensure you know everything about the type of manual wheelchair you currently have or plan to purchase as this will help you understand how long it can last and also how to take proper care of it. 

If a manual wheelchair is made of high-grade steel, then the frame will be weighty and rugged. Most cheap wheelchairs are usually made of low-quality steel. This includes lightweight and depot wheelchairs found in many hospitals and nursing homes.

Power Wheelchairs

A power wheelchair that functions properly improves and enhances the lifestyle of those with mobility problems. When you have used a power wheelchair for a couple of years, it becomes like a companion and is often hard to let go of when buying a brand new one. 

Power wheelchairs are designed to be durable and long-lasting. Their expiration date depends entirely on how they have used and the kind of treatment they have to endure. A well-maintained power wheelchair can be around for up to five years or even more with regular repairs and maintenance.

You will find the power wheelchairs to be commonly used by the disabled today. Due to the mechanical nature of these chairs, they are more likely to fail than manual wheelchairs. But, with some significant care and maintenance, they last for a reasonable number of years. 

The lifespan of a power wheelchair also depends significantly on its user’s lifestyle. If you are an active person who spends a lot of time outdoors, you will tend to put a lot of stress on your wheelchair than those who love staying indoors. Going over barriers and all other sorts of obstacles can produce high pressure on your wheelchair. Power chairs that are banged or dropped while getting in and out of a vehicle can also cause failures more quickly. It is significant for active users to check their power chairs regularly.

The major challenge with the power chair is its battery. A power wheelchair won’t operate if its battery is dead, so it is essential to keep it in good working shape.

Below are a few tips to help you ensure your power chair battery remains functional.

  • Keep it completely charged
  • If you buy a new battery, drain by only 30% the first ten days
  • Charge the battery each night
  • Do not use the battery beyond 20%
  • Use only the recommended charger that accompanied the wheelchair battery.

The lifespan of power wheelchairs differ and also depends on many different factors. However, if you take proper care of it and follow the above guidelines, your power chair should last for a minimum of five years.

To ensure longevity:

  1. Take your power wheelchair professionally serviced by an expert at least once each year.
  2. Between tune-ups, carry out frequent maintenance checks on your chair to ensure it stays in good working shape.
  3. Remove all built-up dust and check for loose parts.

If you are fond of using your wheelchair outside, ensure you clean it properly after it has been used in the snow or rain so it does not rust.

Does Servicing A Wheelchair Make It Last Longer? 

It is imperative to take good care of your wheelchair. Regular maintenance checks will help ensure that your mobility device lasts for an extended period. You also don’t want that wheelchair to fail, leaving you in a tight spot when you could prevent such occurrence with scheduled care. So a wheelchair needs to be serviced frequently. It is always a great idea to carefully read the owner’s manual of your wheelchair. 

Your mobility device should be serviced at least once a year. It is best to reach out to your wheelchair provider to find out when your mobility device needs repair services. Most wheelchair users have asked whether it is best to invite a service technician to their home or take their wheelchair to a repair shop. However, knowing your circumstances and lifestyle will determine the option that is best for you. 

Often, dust and hair will collect around the rear tires and front casters. This will affect the ability of your wheelchair to roll smoothly. These areas should be checked every week. If you’ve air tires, it will be a great idea to assess the tire pressure wherever you go outdoors. If the tires of your mobility device become cracked or worn out, have them quickly replaced.

Every month, check the brakes to see if they are working correctly. Unsafe brakes can result in falls and cause injuries in the process. The position of your backrest and cushion is vital for posture and comfort. Cushions that are worn out will compress as time goes by. When this occurs, you will become less comfortable, you will lack the needed support, and you will probably just be sitting on a seat sling. A therapist or seating technician can help you decide whether you need a brand new cushion or not. 


A working wheelchair can be a great lifesaver for all those with mobility problems. So, when a wheelchair gets bad and stops working, it can negatively impact a person’s life in so many different ways. However, this helps wheelchair users to learn just how long a standard wheelchair and all its accompanying parts can last to avoid being in this bad position.

Take proper care of your mobility device, and it will last long! 

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