The selection and condition of each wheel chair tire is pivotal to your riding comfort and ease of movement. Expect tires to require regular attention and occasional replacement, as part of your wheelchair's ongoing maintenance needs.
Things to consider when choosing tires include manufacturer requirements, body weight, ease of installation, replacement availability, style and size. Typical types of wheel chair tires include the following.
Pneumatic tires are the most popular type of wheelchair tire because they are light weight and provide good traction.
This results in a a more comfortable ride and better shock absorption than other tires. They feature an inner tube that is filled to a designated amount of air pressure, based on the specific chair and user weight. These tires have a shorter lifespan and require more frequent maintenance than other types of tires.
Flat-free tires, also called foam-filled or airless tires, last longer but do not have the traction of a pneumatic tire. Some model tires offer shock absorption similar to that of a pneumatic tire.
These tires are filled with poly-foam, use an inner tube and require a two-piece wheel. These types of tires can be difficult to install alone and require the proper tools.
Solid tires, sometimes called snap-on tires, can be difficult to install without assistance and require the proper tools. These tires are smaller in diameter than the wheel and in effect stretch over the wheel frame.
An extra wheelchair tire is prudent to have on hand in the event of an emergency.
If you need to order a wheelchair tire replacement, look for the size and style numbers that are located on your existing/old tire. They will look something similar to these numbers: 24 x 1-3/8", 37-540, 300-8, 410/350-4, 260 x 85, 300-4.
Write down all numbers found on any tire you are replacing so that the manufacturer can properly assist you.
Some wheelchair companies provide a tire changing or maintenance service. Be sure to inquire about this, as well as other wheelchair maintenance services, at the time of purchase. In some instances, a chair user or caregiver can remove and install a new tire with relative ease.
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