Seniors Mobility Aids

How to Replace Wheelchair Tires? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Written by Liliane
Last Updated :
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Do you know how to replace wheelchair tires?

I’ve had my fair share of wheelchair tire replacements as a long-term caregiver. So I know how crucial good wheels are for a seamless ride.

While the tires on a wheelchair are designed to be tough and reliable, there comes a time when wheelchair tires need to be replaced. 

So whether you’re a first-time wheelchair user or just need a refresher on tire replacement, keep reading!

Check: Best Wheelchair Brand Review

When Do You Need To Replace Wheelchair Tires?

Wheelchair tires typically need to be replaced every few months, depending on how often they are used.

manual wheelchair

A suitable wheelchair comes with cute wheelchair accessories, such as a footrest and a seat cushion. However, the tires are vital for stability and are a source of mobility and safety. Wheelchair tires can wear out over time and may need to be replaced. 

You must know how to check when your outdated wheels and tires are worn out to replace them promptly.

Here are ways in which you can tell when your wheelchair needs new tires:

  1. The treads have worn down to the point that they no longer provide adequate traction and support for your wheelchair. This can happen in as little as two weeks, depending on how much use your wheelchair gets.
  2. The tire has a hole in it or is leaking. This means your wheelchair won’t go very far without repairs or replacement. It also presents a risk of punctures. 
  3. When you start noticing a lot of debris sticking to the bottom of your chair (usually mud or sand), you probably have holes in your tire treads that allow dirt particles inside them and onto your floor mats or carpeting. This is something you’ll want to fix before it becomes a problem.

How Long Do Wheelchair Tires Last?

If you use your wheelchair daily, you can expect to replace your tires every few months. However, if you only use your wheelchair occasionally, you may be able to get away with replacing your tires once a year. 

men on a slanted wheelchair, why are wheelchair wheels slanted

Wheelchair tires are made up of two main components, the wheel and the tire, which are the determinants of quality wheelchairs. These parts play an essential role in determining how long your wheelchair will last. [1]

Therefore, how long the wheelchair tires last depends on your individual use. The average lifespan of a wheelchair tire is somewhere between six and nine months.

However, how often you use your wheelchair and the type of surfaces you cruise over can affect how long your tires will last.

What If I Don’t Replace Wheelchair Wheels?

Wheelchairs can be expensive. If you have a suitable quality wheelchair, consider replacing its wheels when they wear out or get damaged. If you don’t replace wheelchair wheels when needed, these are the potential consequences:

man in his wheelchair using the best wheelchair backpacks

  • The chair may be unsafe to use and, in turn, decrease performance.
  • You could fall and get injured.
  • The chair could tip over and cause injury if the bearings aren’t working correctly or if the tires are worn out or damaged.
  • The chair may lose its ability to maneuver easily on different surfaces (such as sand and gravel). This can make it difficult for you to move about if your condition requires you to use a wheelchair full-time or part-time for mobility purposes.
  • You could spend more money than necessary on repairs or replacement parts if you don’t take care of your wheelchair now by replacing wheelchair wheels when needed.

How to Change a Wheelchair Tire?

Wheelchairs are one of the most critical devices for people with limited mobility. However, some parts of wheelchairs will not last, and you will need to replace them periodically.

Replacing a wheelchair tire is not complicated, and anyone with patience and know-how can do so.

Wheelchair Front Wheel Replacement

The wheelchair’s front wheel provides most of its mobility. In case of damage, you need to replace it as soon as possible.

You can easily do the replacement with the right tools and supplies. Have everything at hand before you start working. Follow the procedure below:

  1. Remove the wheel by pulling off the front-wheel cover.
  2. Remove the axle nut using a wrench or socket wrench.
  3. Unscrew and remove the wheel from its axle with a screwdriver, then replace it with a new one. 
  4. Reattach the wheel to its axle and tighten the nut securely with the wrench or socket wrench. Don’t tighten too much so that it doesn’t break.
  5. Replace the front wheel cover, then tighten it securely.

Wheelchair Rear Wheel Replacement

Wheelchairs are durable. However, they still need maintenance. Wheelchair users usually encounter flat tires. Whether on a road trip or just walking around your neighborhood, knowing how to change a manual wheelchair tire is essential.

The following list outlines the steps involved in replacing a wheelchair’s rear wheel:

  1. Remove the pneumatic tire from the wheel by pulling the rear-wheel cover.
  2. Using pliers, remove the axle nut and washer by turning it counterclockwise.
  3. Pull off the old tire and discard it safely in a trash bin.
  4. Place the new tire on the wheel hub to correctly align with the rim.
  5. Insert one end of the axle through the hub hole and push it through until you see it on the other side (through another hole). 
  6. Place the washer over the axle and thread on the nut until it’s tight enough to hold the wheel securely but not so tight as to strip threads or break off the nut.

READ MORE: How Wide is a Wheelchair?

Where Can I Buy Wheelchair Replacement Wheels?

There are a few places you can buy a wheelchair replacement wheel. One option is to buy them from the company that manufactured your wheelchair. Another option is to buy them from a medical supply store.

Finally, you can also purchase the best wheelchair parts from an online retailer. Each of these options has its own set of pros and cons.

For example, buying from the manufacturer may be more expensive, but you can be sure that the wheels will perfectly fit your chair.

Buying from a medical supply store may be less expensive, but you may have to sacrifice quality for the price.

And buying online gives you a wider selection, but it can be challenging to find the right size or style of wheel. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and budget where you buy your wheelchair replacement wheels.


Which Type of Wheelchair Wheels Do I Need?

If you use a wheelchair indoors, non-marking wheelchair wheels will be best for you. It would be best to consider purchasing wheelchair wheels made from a material resistant to UV rays for outdoor use.
Read our guide about the different types of wheelchair wheels.

Are Bigger Wheels Better on a Wheelchair? 

No, larger wheels do not necessarily mean better. The wheel size is only one aspect that influences how well the wheel rolls over different types of terrain.
An important consideration in choosing your wheelchair tires is the lightweight wheel type and height of the user and their ability level.

How Do You Maintain Wheelchair Tires?

Wheelchair wheels should be checked regularly for any damage and oiled to protect against the elements. If your wheelchair is used outdoors, it is crucial to keep an eye on the treads for wear and tear.

Can a Wheelchair Get Flat Tires?

Yes! While it is unlikely that your wheelchair will get a flat tire, it can happen from time to time if you are not careful with where you park or drive your chair.


Wheelchair tires are an essential component of every wheelchair. Examine wheelchair tires regularly to guarantee that they are always in excellent operating condition.

This involves ensuring that the tread is not worn and that there are no bald areas on the tire. Routinely inspect your wheelchair tires for damage or wear.

If you notice any cracks, bulges, or punctures in the tire, it should be replaced immediately.

close up of wheelchair tires

How do you replace your wheelchair tires? Please share your tips below!


  • 1. Developing product quality standards for wheelchairs used in less-resourced environments [Internet]. 2017. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319594386_Developing_product_quality_standards_for_wheelchairs_used_in_less-resourced_environments
  • 2. Mhatre A, Martin D, McCambridge M, Reese N, Sullivan M, Schoendorfer D, et al. Developing product quality standards for wheelchairs used in less-resourced environments. African Journal of Disability. 2017;6.

About Author

Lilian Wamaitha is a passionate writer and avid cyclist with over 4 years of experience in blogging. As a lifelong learner, she is driven by her curiosity to discover and learn new things. This curiosity and passion eventually sparked a love for the senior writing niche. She has written countless articles to help seniors find their footing in this world through healthy and holistic living. She’s passionate about seeing the seniors in society live a more fulfilling life to the end. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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