During my many years in the mobility business I have acquired a vast knowledge of what to look for when purchasing a mobility scooter or power chair. Never rush into making your purchase as buying the wrong product can be very costly indeed. I have been monitoring many on-line auctions recently and as yet I have not managed to find anything that stood out to me as being a real bargain. Many of the products I have seen for sale are inferior quality and do not appear to be a recognized make. Please note that there are lots of companies in China and other countries where labour is cheap are manufacturing mobility products. These mobility products are being imported to the UK and have very little backup if things go wrong. These products are popular for many people because of the reduced costs of buying them. Unfortunately the reduced price is reflected in the build quality and many of them break down within the first 24 months.
My first tip must be do not buy a Scooter unless it has a recognised brand name such as:
Pride Mobility Products Roma Medical (Shop rider) Days Medical (Strider) Sunrise Medical (Sterling)
The above is not a complete list of recognized Brand names but in my opinion it is a good list to stick by. All these companies have head offices in the UK and dealers throughout the country all who offer a full back up service including spare parts.
Spare parts for scooters can be very expensive and it is very easy to buy a second hand scooter that requires immediate attention.
Time to be aware
I have found that people usually sell their scooter after they have not used it for a while and realised it is of no further use to them. When a scooter has been stood for a while the batteries tend to sulphate very quickly leaving irreparable damage to the battery. Depending on the size of batteries needed the cost can be between £80 and £400 per pair. Mobility scooters and power chairs are all battery powered so if you do buy a second hand one make sure the batteries have been charged regularly (every time the scooter has been used )or at least once a week if the scooter has been out of use.
Electronic Mag Brakes
The breaking system on all scooters and power chairs are controlled by an electronic controller and the common fault that goes wrong with them if the machine has not been stored or used correctly. The brake can seize up due to the damp air that can be found in many sheds and garages in the UK.
The average price of a mag break is £100 and that is before someone has diagnosed the fault and charged you for the fitting of it. The main controllers are full of components that are similar to the types of components you would find in a television. So the question you must ask yourself here is If you left your TV set in a shed for 6 Months do you think it would work properly if you plugged in back in? A main controller for an average scooter can cost from £200 up to £400.
Scooters come in all shapes and sizes and it is very important that you choose the right one.
Some scooters are allowed on the road and some are not.
A Class 3 scooter must be capable of a top speed of 8 mph and must have a speed control switch that allows the speed to be halved instantly when being driven on the pavements. The Scooter must also have Lights (front and rear), traffic signal indicators, hazard warning lights and an audible horn. If the vehicle is to be driven on or across a dual carriageway it must also be fitted with a flashing beacon that stands 6 foot in height. Rear view mirrors are also essential.
A class 2 scooter will only be allowed to drive on the pavements and cross minor roads where traffic control is in operation. Many Class 2 machines now have lights and indicators fitted to them as standard and it is important that you do not get confused between the two classes of machine.
Recently it has been very popular to buy fold up scooters. I have seen many portable scooters advertised for sale lately, both new and second hand. I must admit that I am shocked at what some people will do to sell these portable scooters. Do not get me wrong here. I am not against these products; on the contrary I really think they are a valuable addition to the mobility business. I just want people to be aware that they are not designed to travel very far even when new.
I have recently seen advertisements boasting that some of them have a range of 25 or miles. This is massively over exaggerated. If a scooter is fitted with 12 amp/hour batteries as so many are and they are carrying a person of average weight in average conditions. It is likely that from new they will only have a range of 6 to 8 miles. As they get older you will be lucky to get to the end of your street without having problems. Portable scooters are ideal for shopping centres and parks but if you want to go any further I suggest you invest in a class 2 or 3 scooters by one of the previously mentioned brands.
Another thing about portable scooters is they nearly all have solid tyres, plastic seats and no suspension which can prove quite un-comfy after a period of time. Some of these scooters also boast a 21 stone capacity. I am 10 stone 4 pounds and they struggle to pull me up a slight incline when they are brand new.
Should I buy a 3 or 4 wheeled scooter?
There is something at this point I think I need to make very clear. No scooters are designed for indoor and outdoor use. If you want something that will be effective for both uses you should be looking at a powerchair / Electric wheelchair. 3 wheeled scooters are far more manoeuvrable than 4 wheeled ones. 3 wheeled scooters are also very handy if you have long legs or large feet as they have much more leg room. Always try and match your size and weight before you buy.A scooter can be a very useful machine if you get the right one but if you do not it can be very costly.
The main advantage of a 4 wheeled scooter is purely psychological. I find that all scooters made by reputable companies are very stable due to strict guidelines that are enforced upon them but I must mention that there are some machines on the market that I would not recommend to anyone so please are careful. In the fairness of business I will not say which products I will not recommend as it is just my opinion. I am, however always willing to recommend any quality products for your needs.
Weights, distances and speed.
This can be difficult as each scooter can vary depending on how it is made. There have been full sized 8mph scooters with 2×50 amp hour batteries as standard that have a maximum load weight of only 18 Stone and on the other had there have been some lightweight scooters on the market with 2×12 amp hour batteries that are supposed to do 4 mph and carry a max load of 21 stone. For more information on the performance of each scooter it is best to ask the seller or manufacturer directly.
If you need further advice my company website is http://www.cheapest-scooters.co.uk. The advice I give is offered to you in good faith and under no circumstances will I get involved in problems that have arisen from people buying inferior products from door to door salesmen, internet sales or mail order products.
My aim is offer advice that will save you time and trouble and money when purchasing a mobility scooter.