New Tires and Bearings

Owning and using a motorized wheelchair is a lot like owning and using an automobile. From time to time you have to get stuff repaired or replaced. My wonderful husband Norm drove me to Southwest Medical in Phoenix this morning for an 11:00 appointment to have new tires installed on my wheelchair. It’s been over a year since I have been there and they have new people working in the repair shop. I didn’t know any of the new people and they didn’t know me, so the first thing they said was I had to get out of my wheelchair since they don’t want to have customers in the repair shop because they have been sued over injuries. I have been to this place for wheelchair repair needs dozens of times and never have they asked me to get out of my wheelchair.

This may not seem like a big deal, but you have to understand that I cannot walk at all so getting in and out of my wheelchair is no easy task. More importantly my wheelchair is customized for my ultimate seating comfort since I use the wheelchair from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. Sitting in another wheelchair or some other type of chair can be extremely uncomfortable for me, so I avoid it when ever possible. The repair man, Jack, assured me that it would only be a few minutes, but I would not give in and I even suggested I would sign a waiver if necessary because he kept bringing up the lawsuit situation. He relented and said I could stay in my chair, but never did give me anything to sign.

So another guy starts working on my wheelchair and right away there is a problem. The nuts and bolts are so tight on one of the wheels that it takes two of them to loosen them up. They even tried one of those pneumatic things and it didn’t work. It was the beginning of our troubles. After about an hour, both wheels were removed and the new tires were put on. The wheels were put back on my chair and I was asked to drive around the shop. Jack noticed something wasn’t quite right with the way one of the tires was installed so they decided to remove it again. That’s when the bearing inside the wheel broke. Okay, no problem, just install a new bearing. Nope, not so fast. The old bearing had broken parts that would not come out of the wheel hub. It took another hour and a half, hammering, pounding, sawing, sparks flying everywhere, and a blow torch before they could remove the last two broken pieces. This is not an exaggeration! I’m happy to say that everything went okay after that.

My wheelchair is going on 12 years old and that’s pretty old for a motorized wheelchair. I came home with brochures on some new power chairs so hopefully I can convince my medical insurance provider that I need a new wheelchair.


  1. NormB
    May 5, 2006

    Hey, why not collect a Dollar from each of your readers and forget waiting for medical insurance. Maybe this time you can get Air Conditioning.

  2. Vanda
    May 5, 2006

    I’d donate a doller or two with pleasure.

    You know what Karen? I’ve never given a thought to how much upkeep a motorized wheel chair would have. I learn something new everyday. Thanks.

  3. pb
    May 5, 2006

    The Kid in a Rascal?! I’m just surprised you haven’t been there yet! Go for it, Blogsis.

  4. Fordee
    May 5, 2006

    Hope you can get a new chair soon. I was told yesterday that a great project for kids to do (i teach) is to go to retirement homes and clean wheelchairs and repair them. Amazing that I read about yours today – seems like I might have to put a project together like that next year for my kids.

  5. PJ
    May 6, 2006

    Sounds like a plan to me, Should only take about 8-10,000 readers at a dollar a pop.

    You can count me as a hundred readers, if this thing gets off the ground. Tell me where to send my investment in a great lady.