In this part of the choosing a mobility scooter guide we will be giving you a complete breakdown of the parts of a scooter. This is so you understand what the mobility scooter is capable of and what you should be on the look out for when you want to buy a mobility scooter.
Parts of a mobility scooter
The picture at left shows the go go elite traveler, a 4 wheel scooter which is known for indoor and outdoor versatility and ease of use. Starting from the bottom and working our way up to the top the different parts of a scooter are:
The base plate covers the bottom of the scooter, where your feet will rest and the length of the scooter has a big impact on the turning circle of the scooter. A longer scooter will have a large turning circle.
Tires brings to mind the debate between whether you need a three wheel mobility scooter or a four wheel scooter. They both have their advantages in the right situations.
Three Wheel Mobility Scooter Pros
- More maneuverable as the turning circle is smaller, more suited to use indoors especially when travelling around shops.
Four Wheel Mobility Scooter Pros
- More stable when it comes to travelling and kerb climbing as the weight is spread more evenly, would lead to less rocking when moving along.
There are 4 different types of tire and they can come in either six, eight or ten inch sizes, and depending on what you are willing to spend on a scooter will change what type you are likely to encounter in your search for the best mobility scooter for you.
- Deep Tread Tires – The deep tread tires are better for providing traction on kerbs, when travelling up hill, on muddy ground and for off road mobility scooters.
- Pneumatic tires – These tires are similar to the inner tube you would find on a bike and need to be regularly checked for air pressure and punctures. You will need to pump air into them, however they do provide a smoother ride as the air does act as extra suspension and some companies trade heavy suspension for pneumatic tires to keep the weight and price of the scooter down. You can repair these tires just like normal bike tires and a local bike shop would be able to help you out with that.
- Solid Tires – Made of solid rubber these tires usually give the harshest ride as they don’t contain air. However the advantage is that they don’t need inflation or constant upkeep, checking on the condition of the rubber is a good idea from time to time as they can wear down. On certain flat surfaces they can be very easy to maneuver with.
- Puncture Resistant Tires – Designed as a compromise between the pneumatic and solid tires, they are made from a rubber compound that leaves an almost honeycomb structure on the inside which provides cushioning due to little individual pockets. A puncture will not deflate them though. Provide a reliably comfortable ride.
Battery Life is a big differentiator between scooters, depending on the type of scooter you want and the quality that you want will change the battery life. The battery life quoted by manufacturers and quoted on this site are not tested under intensive conditions, a heavy user at the upper limit of the weight allowance for a scooter will lower the battery life and therefore the range of the scooter. If you travel excessively uphill then you will also lower the battery life.
The battery packs for mobility scooters are all rechargeable, and can be recharged by plugging into the mains. An indoor scooter will usually have the lowest battery life and power as it is not designed for long distance use.
A dual purpose mobility scooter for indoor and outdoor use will have a longer battery life and range of up to 15 miles.
An off road scooter will have the most powerful battery of all which is designed for intensive use over rugged terrain so you can find the best scooters having a 15 mile range.
The tiller acts just like the handlebars on a bike and is where you control the turning from, it is also where the extra controls on the mobility scooter are, such as the speed control knobs, the start button and lights or indicators too. As a scooter is controlled by turning the front wheels the tiller is always at the front. Tillers usually can have their height adjusted to make it more comfortable for the user.
When you are spending a lot of time seated and having the scooter vibrate from rolling along the road you will want to have a comfortable seat. Most seats are made from a type of plastic or are contoured with armrests as well. A seat with armrests may be very useful for those who may be at their limit for using their upper body strength to control the scooter as you can rest your arms and relax your shoulders.
You need to consider the adjustability of the seat, at the minimum you need to have a height adjustable seat so that your feet can be planted firmly on the base of the scooter in the most ergonomic position. If you are not seated in the correct position you may aggravate an existing medical condition such as sciatica or just a niggling bad back.
The ability to swivel the seat is also important and you should look for a seat that can swivel up to 180 degrees at least. This turning of the seat will make it easier for you to get into and out of the seat. And if you are in shops and need to get out then you can choose which side to unmount the scooter as you can turn and step out rather than having to slide out of the seat.
A backrest is another nice addition on a mobility scooter and will provide good support for your lower back. When disassembling a scooter this part usually has a fold down option so if portability is important to you this is a feature you should look out for.
Conclusion to choosing a mobility scooter part two
So that’s the end of part 2 which has introduced you to the basic parts of the mobility scooter and I hope it has been helpful.
Part 3 will explain in much more detail the more advanced features of a scooter such as the brake mechanisms and kerb climbing capabilities, aswell as a discussion about the best brands of scooter to buy. Just so you can make the best choice when choosing a mobility scooter.