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Wheelchairs

Tips on How to Extend the Life of Your Power Wheelchair Battery

Written by Dayna C
Last Updated :
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Looking for some tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery?

I totally understand why; those babies aren’t cheap!

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to save a lot of money in the long run (and, more importantly, make sure you’re never caught away from home with a drained power supply). 

Just keep reading to see what they are!

Check: Power Wheelchair vs Manual Wheelchair

Tips on How to Extend the Life of Your Power Wheelchair Battery

A power wheelchair battery should be well maintained to save you for a long time. Proper. By taking care of your battery, you ensure that your battery’s capacity is not drained that way, increasing its life expectancy.

The following tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery will enable you to understand how to take care of your battery competently. This is to ensure that the battery gives power to your power wheelchair for outdoor use for excellent service.

1. Charging

Even the best wheelchair battery can fail without proper charging, so that should always be your first step.

Even if you do not end up draining your battery during the day,  put it on the battery charger every night. Let it remain plugged in by giving it ample time to be fully charged to ensure it remains healthy. 

This will also improve the battery cycle by ensuring that it does not get unplugged before it fully charges.

At the same time, though, don’t overcharge it. Like most rechargeable batteries, yours most likely has a “memory.”

Taking it off and putting it on the charger too soon can mess with the memory, slowly causing your battery to lose effectiveness.

So, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, follow them to the “t,” and always use an approved charger. 

2. Do Not Over Drain Your Battery

You should never drain your batteries beyond 80 percent (in other words, leaving just 20% power) at any given time.

If this happens, you will kill your battery and not perform as it should. Think of ways to add to your budget for a new backup wheelchair battery to prevent a case of an empty battery.

Focus on draining your battery up to percent not daily but within ten days of usage. Strange as it may seem, this is a remarkable way of improving and saving your battery life.

3. Temperature

The temperature at which you charge your wheelchair battery is very important. Extreme temperatures can significantly damage the battery’s health and, in time, shorten its life expectancy. 

Unless the manufacturer’s instructions say otherwise, the ideal recommended temperature for charging your battery is 64 to 77˚F  (18˚C to 25˚C).

Avoid temperatures below 50˚F (10˚C) or that exceed  86˚F (30˚C). Both extreme heat and cold can ruin your battery. 

4. Driving Patterns

This might come as a surprise, but it is a fact that your driving pattern can deeply affect electric wheelchair batteries. 

You must ensure that you drive at a constant speed without having irregular driving patterns, as this will affect your battery life.

Learn to maintain a consistent speed when driving your power chair because that is the only way to extend the life of your battery.

5. Battery Installation

Seek the services of a certified and trained wheelchair technician when installing your battery.

This way, you will be assured that they will do a perfect job using the proper tools and following the procedure to install the battery.

Do not install the battery yourself because you can miss essential specifications that affect your battery.

READ MORE: Electric Wheelchair Accessories

6. Bear in Mind the Hazards

Batteries are powerful in that they ensure your wheelchair works perfectly; however, they can also be quite hazardous.

To maintain the life of your wheelchair battery, you need to keep it in dangerous conditions. I am sure you wouldn’t like your battery exploding because of being exposed to dangerous situations.

Extreme care should be taken when using wheelchair batteries, especially when handling the terminals. If proper care is not taken, you may be exposed to electrical shock.

7. Read the Manual to Keep Your Battery Healthy

Every power wheelchair battery has a manual outlining how to care for and maintain it. 

Yes, even if you’ve had dozens of others before this one and think you know exactly what to do, it’s important to read that manual. 

Different types of batteries have different needs, specifications, quirks, and so on.

Just because you’ve used, say, lead-acid batteries your entire life doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do with lithium-ion or deep-cycle batteries.

You do not want a battery without power because, needless to say, your wheelchair can’t perform properly without it. 

Make it your mission to gather all battery care and maintenance information to extend your battery’s lifespan.

Now that we’ve covered why you came here in the first place, I just want to share some additional information that will help you, starting with understanding what your battery is made up of.

Check out this video to learn the best wheelchair batteries.

Components of power chair batteries

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To fully understand how your wheelchair batteries work, you should know three components of every battery: capacity, current rating, and cell type.

  • Capacity

This is the part that will probably interest you the most.

Wheelchair capacity tells you how long your power chair battery can last.

Wheelchair batteries’ capacity is always expressed in Ampere-hours.

For example, if your power wheelchair runs at 10 Amperes while the battery has 30 to 90 Ampere-hours, this means that your wheelchair has the capacity to run continuously for three to nine hours.

However, you surely won’t use the wheelchair continuously, so your power chair batteries will last for more than 9 hours.

  • Current rating

The current rating explains the rate of electron flow, and it is also expressed in Amperes.

Higher Amperes affect the better performance of your wheelchair while it runs over uneven terrains.

  • Cell type

The two main types of battery cells are wet and gel cells.

Both types are compatible with power wheelchairs, while gel cells are more recommended due to their easier maintenance and environmental protection.

Check:

How long does it really take to charge my power chair batteries fully?

As we mentioned above, it will take around 8 hours, or in other words – one night.
Still, if you recently acquired your wheelchair batteries, charge them for ten or more hours at first.
Specially designed chargers prevent the risk of overcharging, so leaving your batteries on charge for a bit longer will not harm them.

When I fully charge the batteries, how long will the charge last?

Well, it depends on the battery. Still, you can expect a time range of at least several hours and a distance range of ten to twenty miles.
If you want your power chair batteries to last longer, it would be great to purchase lead-acid batteries, as this type proves itself the most durable.
Your weight as a rider might also affect the battery’s endurance.

How can I know when my battery charge is running low?

Each power wheelchair has battery gauge lights located on the joystick controller. Indicator lights show the battery strength, so you will always know when your battery is fully charged or running low.

When is the right time to replace my power chair batteries?

Your batteries should last at least six months. However, the usual lifespan is one year or longer.
On the other side, if you notice that your power chair batteries are losing power quickly and you experience a decrease in their range, then it is the right time for a replacement.
If you find this option too expensive due to battery replacement, it would also be great to consider purchasing a portable wheelchair. This is an option for low budgets, but it still does the job—it provides you with all-day mobility.

What is the range of my power chair battery?

Battery health is the most important factor when we talk about ranges. Newer batteries have a distance range of up to 20 miles, while the older ones might serve you for around 10 miles daily.

For example, batteries older than a year and a half shorten their range significantly compared to batteries that have been in use for six months in most cases.


On the other hand, as different people use their wheelchairs for different purposes and different terrains, older batteries might serve better than almost new ones. Still, we are talking about some usual cases.


Lead-acid batteries are generally more recommendable, but even these must be replaced.


Do the replacement after a year and a half of use, as you will for sure notice the shortage of distance and time range.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re using a folding power wheelchair or a standard one, the battery is a considerable component. It needs to be well-maintained to extend its lifespan.

The tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery outlined above should help you know what to avoid.

Remember, for a battery to serve you for a long time, you need to ensure it remains in top-notch condition.

No specific time is given to indicate the duration at which a battery should serve you. It all depends on how you properly care for your battery.

So, when operating a power wheelchair for outdoor use, remember the tips we have discussed so that your battery lasts longer.

In short, the life of your power wheelchair battery is in your hands; if you do not follow the right procedures, it will cost you big time.

About Author

Dayna C
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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