Size.

Do you want to just use your scooter in or around the house, just to the corner dairy, or will you regularly use it for long trips around town? These points will determine what type and size of scooter will best suit your needs.


If you haven't ridden a scooter before, see if you can borrow, rent or trial one for a few days. This will give you some experience and also help you decide what features you will need, when you buy your own scooter.


Size is an important factor when choosing a scooter, too small or too large, and it will be uncomfortable. Larger scooters have more leg room, plus they can carry more weight and have a bigger motor, they can handle hills better. It is important that the scooter can fit into the storage space you have available. There also needs to be access to a power point for ease of recharging the batteries.


Lights.

Most scooters have lights, and using these or your hazard lights, when crossing roads will make you easier to be seen by other road users. Remember that having your lights on all the time will limit the distance you can travel on a single charge.


Seating.

A fully adjustable seat is a must. The seating is probably the most important aspect to look at when buying a scooter. If the driver does not feel comfortable and secure then they will probably hesitate to use the scooter. This will mean that they will not get the full benefit of their purchase. The driver should feel comfortable on the machine during the time that they are travelling.


Distance Capacity.

Most scooter pamphlets will give claims of 30 - 50 kms running distance. To get reasonable life out of the batteries, you should probably halve these figures. Ideally batteries should not be discharged during a trip, by more than 30 to 40%. If the scooter will be used on grassed areas or if you live in a hilly area, then this will also make a difference to the distance you can travel. If you need to do regular long distance trips, then you should look at a scooter that can take larger batteries. Remember that the batteries should be put on charge when you get home, should be left on charge until the following morning.


Suspension.

Some scooters have springs for suspension and some don't. Spring suspension on small scooters is largely ineffective. Larger model scooters weigh more and thus have more effective suspension. The quality of the seat and the tyre pressure also affect the comfort of the machine.


Batteries.

There are three main types of batteries, Gell, Sealed lead acid and Wet batteries.

       * Gell batteries are the best performers, with some lasting 6 to 7 years. These are the most expensive.

          If the scooter happens to tip, the batteries won't spill any acid.

       * Sealed Lead Acid batteries also won't spill, but some manufacturers don't recommend them for use

          in mobility scooters. Some of these batteries last very well, if only used for short trips and are

          charged correctly.

       * Wet Lead Acid batteries are the cheapest option, but will need an occasional top up with distilled water

          These batteries can leak acid if tipped over or over charged. This can damage the machine.

Batteries are measured in Amp/Hours, higher Amp/Hours mean the more distance can be travelled.


Batteries will last:

       * If they are not discharged by more than 50% while in use.

       * Charged after each use.

       * Charged overnight or for a 12 hour period.


Some chargers can be left on for weeks at a time, and some others are for overnight charge only. Most chargers have a green LED that shows when the battery is charged. This LED only shows that the batteries are nearly charged. The still need a few more hours charging.


Check with your dealer or send us an email asking about the best way to charge your batteries.


Canopies.

We can manufacture canopies for most brands of mobility scooters. The canopies keep you dry, and also keep the cold wind off you. The canopies are made in different colours to match your machine. Select canopies on the menu list for pictures of these.


Transportation.

Most larger don't disassemble for transport. You can fold down the tiller (handle-bars), and fold down the seat back, to transport the scooter in a van or some station wagons. Some smaller scooters will disassemble for ease of transport. Motorised lifts are available for station wagons and vans, if transporting is a regular occurrence.

Most new machines now have tie down brackets to allow the machines to be tied down for safe transportation.


Wheels/Tyres.

Some models of scooters have solid tubeless tyres, these will never develop punctures, but give a harder ride.


Larger wheels give a smoother ride. Keeping the tyre pressure right will help maintain the comfort. If the tyre pressure is too low, it will increase the work the motor has to do, and this will shorten the distance you will be able to travel.


All mobility scooters we sell, get free "puncture proofing" installed. This will automatically repair 70% to 90% of punctures. This treatment will last the life of the tube and tyre.


Accessories.

Does the scooter come with front and rear baskets. Are the baskets included in the price or are they extras, and if so how much. Does the scooter have a secure mount for a flag.

Brackets are available to carry walker frames on scooters, as well are holders for oxygen bottles, etc. Most scooter retailers will have a list of accessories that are available.

The speed lever (throttle) can be reversed, from left to right, if the driver only has the use of one hand. It is a simple matter to adjust the throttle lever to suit.

If you have any specialised needs or questions about accessories, just ask your dealer.


Trailers.

Some tow light trolleys behind their scooter and hitches for these can be fitted to most scooters. Ideally the scooter should have motor of at least 800 watts, to handle towing the trolley. Using some space in trolley for two extra batteries, cables, and a connection to the scooter, could possibly double the distance, the scooter could travel on a charge.


Safety.

Most scooters come with a safety guideline in the owners manual. You really do need to read it!

If you have any concerns about the seating and/or comfort with regards to any health issues you may have, it would be advisable to employ the service of an occupational therapist.

If you have any concerns about the condition of a piece of broken pavement, slow down and drive carefully. Report the hazard to your local district council.

Having a flag is a just. It will make you more visible, and help to make your trip safer.


Happy motoring.


Neil Wood.