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Seniors Mobility Aids

Can You Charge a Wheelchair Battery with a Car Charger?

Written by Haley Burress
Last Updated :
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Most people wonder, can you charge a wheelchair battery with a car charger? Of course, the wrong charger could wear out the current battery, leaving you with a dead battery sooner than expected.

But what are your options if you don’t have a charger?

Let’s look deeper and find out if batteries for wheelchairs work with car chargers. Read on!

Can I Use a Car Battery in a Wheelchair?

A car battery could work for a power wheelchair, but it isn’t advisable.

There are different electric wheelchair battery types. They are usually 12V batteries and need a deeper discharge than your car batteries.

Car batteries also have different ampere-hour ratings, which allow them to provide higher power over a short period.

This video explains how wheelchair batteries produce shorter power over a long period.

If you insist on using car batteries, make calculations and see for how long you need to charge the wheelchair battery.

The two types of batteries might resemble each other in size and appearance. But they aren’t interchangeable.

What works for one won’t work for the other, at least not for longer periods of time. Most batteries are similar and can provide power for an electric device, but only for short periods.

So you can’t use a car battery to provide power to a wheelchair for an extended period.

Unless you’re sure the output current won’t be too much for the wheelchair. That mismatch in output voltage or current renders car batteries useless for wheelchairs over a long period.

If you insist on jumping your wheelchair with a car battery, you must consider all potential outcomes.

Consider the battery capacity for your wheelchair comparable to that of the automotive batteries.

There’s always a chance you could give the wheelchair a fatal power surge if you use an automotive battery instead of its actual battery. It would be best if you had a lot of experience with batteries to pull it off successfully.

You also risk losing your wheelchair battery warranty if you don’t use the correct battery. Why risk using batteries that don’t match?

Avoid all that by following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the correct battery.

Check some of the types of wheelchairs that climb stairs in the video below.

Is Using a Car Charger To Charge The Wheelchair Safe?

Charging a wheelchair’s rechargeable batteries with a car charger isn’t safe. It could be safe for you to plug in the car charger, but it won’t be safe for the wheelchair’s battery.

Wheelchairs have a specific type of battery charger that goes into their port. Using another type of battery charge could cause their batteries lithium-ion or gel problems.

Most mobility devices like wheelchairs use deep discharge lead-acid batteries (1). These batteries need specific chargers because they have a critical chemical balance. This keeps the performance up.

That’s why you can’t use a car charger on a wheelchair without irreversible damage to its battery and maximum performance.

The wrong charger on the wheelchair battery could make it last less than the usual 12 to 24 months typical of wheelchair batteries (2). The charging current just won’t be the same anymore.

But it may depend on what type of wheelchair you’re using. Some higher-end models of wheelchairs have power supplies that can power up with a car charger like the one in the video below.

It is up to you to know if your power wheelchair batteries can handle a car charger rather than their standard charger.

After all, a wheelchair battery isn’t like a scooter battery that could have you charge it with a car charger.

Charge mobility products, such as wheelchairs or mobility scooters, with their proper charger.

And if you have to use a car charger, be sure of what you’re doing.

READ MORE: How Long Does an Electric Wheelchair Battery Last?

How To Charge A Wheelchair Battery Without a Charger?

The charging process for a wheelchair battery can be easy if you have the proper charger.

But you won’t always have access to the power wheelchair charger. And you can’t jumpstart a wheelchair with jumper cables.

If you see your electric wheelchair not charging, learn how to charge it outside the normal mode.

What can you do in this situation?

Get a Replacement Charger

It is impossible to charge a wheelchair battery if you don’t have the actual wheelchair battery charger.

First, get a replacement charger. If you look for it, you won’t struggle to get a charger with the same power as the original wheelchair charger.

There are many kinds of 12V chargers, but they won’t all stop battery shutdown on a wheelchair. Higher-end models use specific battery chargers you can’t substitute with other options.

That’s why your only option will be to get an appropriate replacement charger for your wheelchair. It’s a good thing you don’t need a sophisticated battery charger to do that.

Charging wheelchair batteries with a car charger is impracticable if you want to preserve the wheelchair’s battery capacity.

CHECK: Wheelchair That Can Go Up Stairs

FAQs

Can you use any charger for a wheelchair?

You can’t use any charger for a wheelchair. Most electric models of wheelchairs need a specific charger with a particular amperage rating.

Should I leave a wheelchair in charge all the time?

Even if you are using a heavy-duty model, you shouldn’t always charge it. Only charge the wheelchair for specific periods of time depending on how often you use it.

What makes car batteries different from wheelchair batteries?

Car batteries can’t handle longer and deeper discharge hours. That makes them different from wheelchair batteries despite their resemblance.

Conclusion

Can you charge a wheelchair battery with a car charger? Yes, you can. But you can’t do that for extended time periods.

Wheelchairs have 12-volt batteries that need a special charger. You can’t interchange the chargers and get the same results.

Some people say smart chargers can charge cars and wheelchairs, but that isn’t the case.

charging cars

Have you tried charging your wheelchair with a car charger? How did it go? Please share it with us in the comments.

References

  • 1. Aylor JH, Thieme A, Johnso BW. A battery state-of-charge indicator for electric wheelchairs. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. 1992;39:398–409.
  • 2. How long do electric power wheel chair batteries last? [Internet]. Northeast Battery. 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 19]. Available from: https://northeastbattery.com/electric-power-wheel-chair-batteries/

About Author

Haley Burress
Haley has been working with seniors and their caregivers for more than 17 years. She has held local and national leadership roles in a variety of senior services and senior care agencies. Today, she is a sought after writer specializing in topics for older adults, their family members, and professional caregivers. When she isn't at her computer sipping coffee, you can find her hiking with her husband, son, and dog or trying a new cookie recipe in the kitchen. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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