What is Service and Refurbishment

The modularity and strength of the Greencare wheelchair frame allows recycling to be selective and controlled. Recycling of the wheelchair is based upon ongoing worn or damaged part replacement, not complete strip down and repainting as is the common practice with welded steel frame wheelchairs. This makes the recycling process cost effective.

Wheelchairs may be recycled using suitably equipped  “in house” resources, or they can be recycled in our UK Greencare factory. The Greencare recycle process includes automatic upgrade of some functional components that have been improved since chairs were first introduced into the UK in 2006. Greencare will normally recycle chairs to a standard build configuration, but it is also possible to recycle and reconfigure chairs to a revised build specification if required.

Wheelchairs that are returned from the field need to be assessed for their suitability for recycling by an authorised Rehabilitation Engineer. Wheelchairs returned to Greencare for recycling should be complete, and individually packaged and sealed to avoid damage and loss of component parts. Greencare will not accept wheelchairs for recycling that are known to be contaminated.

Before the actual build and checking process of service recycling starts, all wheelchairs should be thoroughly washed and cleaned to remove all residue and evidence of previous use.

The functionality and appearance of a recycled chair should be of the same quality as a new build.

Following trials with different customers, we have established two basic levels of recycling.

Level 1

Wheelchairs that do not have worn or damaged parts.

Level 2

Wheelchairs that require worn component part replacement.

Wheelchairs that have been specially configured for the previous user.

The worn components requiring replacement would typically be:

  • Upholstery.
  • Arm pads.
  • Handgrips.
  • Tyres.
  • Brakes.
  • Footplates.

The refurbishment process.

Wheelchairs should normally be recycled to a standard build.

Greencare can recycle and also reconfigure to suit the assessed need of the next user. When this is done the reconfiguring process is done according to standard build procedures.

All recycled chairs retain their original serial number identification.

Following the cleaning process, handling the chair for operators is simpler, and access for a more detailed examination is possible. The cleaned chair shall be subjected to a first quick check, to expose any major structural defect or strain that may require component part replacement. If this check finds that major component replacement is required, this will be advised to the wheelchair service prior to further work being carried out.

First check as follows.  

a)         Visual check of welded joints for cracks or any sign of structural failure.

b)         Look for any sign of deformity in frame tubes.

c)         Check that the seat tubes locate correctly into all seat locations.

d)         Close the chair and stand back 2 metres (8 to10 feet away), visually compare the side nearest with that furthest away to detect differences between the side frames.

If OK after this first check, continue with full recycle.

The checking process is the same for both levels of recycling. The recycled chairs from both process levels should be to the same completed standard.

Level 1 recycling will require service checks, adjustment, and selective component upgrade.

Level 2 recycling will require the above and additionally replacement of worn component parts as listed.

This covers procedures that should be carried out by both “in house” service recycling and by Greencare factory recycling. The recycling process of bringing the chair back to a standard build may be varied depending on local or specifically advised requirements.

Modularity and strength of the Greencare wheelchair frame allows servicing to be selective and controlled. Ongoing service is based upon preventive maintenance and worn or damaged part replacement, not a complete strip down and repainting.

Greencare DB1 Scoring Chart gcqa 017 provides an objective assessment method for planned preventive maintenance. High scores will require more frequent detailed attention and component part replacement than those with low scores.  Wheelchairs which have been used in the field and returned will require checking for suitability to be recycled to another user. Service Record gcqa 019 has a checklist for going through the chair.

Component replacement should be carried out as per the DB1 Technical Service Manual. Items such as replacement wheels, castors and arm pads can be fitted from spares carried in a mobile service vehicle. DB1 component modularity provides an opportunity for such chairs to be reconfigured to meet a more specific assessment of the next user need. Frame component replacement operations are best carried out in a workshop where tools and equipment are available.

Service staff should wear necessary protective clothing when handling a wheelchair that has been in use. Users requiring a technical service visit should understand that it is their responsibility to make the chair available in a clean condition, chairs returned to the centre should be similarly cleaned before staff work on them.

On a service check, wheelchairs should first be subjected to a quick damage inspection, to expose obvious defect or strain that may require major component part replacement. If this is OK then proceed to full check.

DAMAGE CHECK – for damage requiring replacement of major parts 

a)          Close the chair and stand back 2 metres (8 to10 feet away), visually compare the side nearest with that furthest away to detect differences between the side frames. This will highlight any area of strain.

b)          Check components for impact or surface damage and scuffing.

c)          Visual check of welded joints for cracks or any sign of structural failure.

d)          Look for any sign of deformity in frame tubes.

e)          Open the chair and check that seat tubes locate into position.

f)           Check upholstery for obvious tears and severe wear damage.

g)         Review and document result.

FULL SERVICE CHECK IN SEQUENCE  from front of wheelchair

1) Go through maintenance check list as gcqa 019 and in User Guide

More technical detail for inspection and service of specific areas of the wheelchair are covered in 2) to 16) of this document.

2) Back support frame

Visually check that both push handles are correctly aligned front to rear. There are different back support options available for DB1. If backrest is strained, or if a different option is preferred for the next usage period, undo the screw fixings in the rear frame moulding and remove the original unit for replacement with a new spare. It is possible to reconfigure the backrest position also at this stage if required.

3) Push handle grips

Greencare handgrips should be strong, secure and undamaged. Grasp each handgrip in turn and try to rotate the grips around each push handle. Replacement grips are available if required. Removal of grips for upholstery replacement is possible if they are first heated up by immersion in hot water at 70 deg. centigrade for five minutes. Follow manual procedures for hand grip replacement operation.

4) Back comfort brace

Test the operation and security of the back comfort brace. Check for loosening of the M6 fixing screws. A modification was carried out to the screwed insert fitting of this on adaptable backrest height models in October 2007. This modification replaces the single tube wall insert by a removable fitting that is secured through both tube walls. This improves serviceability. If the single wall insert is loose drill it out, and replace with the new fitting available from Greencare. Follow manual procedures for replacement operation.

5) Upholstery

Lightly run fingertips around the upholstery, checking for signs of tearing or surface deterioration. Check security of Velcro connections. Check that seat tube end caps are all in position. For security against sliding, assembly, or re assembly, of the seat upholstery in the profiled frame tube involves the use of a small amount of flexible adhesive applied at each end.  It is recommended to replace upholstery if there are signs of wear, or staining or when a chair is being recycled to another user. The removal and replacement of the seat upholstery requires the removal of the moulded seat tube end caps, which may become damaged, spare caps are usually supplied together with replacement upholstery.

6) Rear wheels and tyres

Test the tyre pressure on pneumatic tyres to ensure correct inflation pressure if old fashioned air tyres are fitted..

For Greencare DB1 wheelchairs this is 3 bar ( 45 psi ). For effective service cost and user convenience we recommend that puncture free tyres made by Greentyre are used for all standard chairs, with pneumatics used only when there is a specific requirement. ( Special hand tools for fitting puncture free tyres are available from Greentyre )

To check wheel trueness, using the push handle to lift the R.H. rear wheel off the ground, gently spin the wheel backward checking  that:

                        a) The wheel rim is running “true” in both planes.

                        b) The tyre is running “true” in both planes.

                        c) On occupant propelled chairs also check that hand rims run true.

Repeat this operation on the LH side of the chair.

510mm, 565mm and 610mm wheels (20, 22 and 24 inch) wheels should not deviate from running true (side to side) by more than 3.0mm (.125 inch)

315 and 405mm wheels should not deviate by more than 2.0 mm (.080 inch).

Pushing the chair in a forwards direction on a level plane to check that it runs straight and true is a difficult operation to accurately control, but experience has shown that a chair that significantly deviates from a straight line has a problem.

With hand pressure, check that both rear wheel retaining nuts on the inside of the rear frame moulding are secure. In the case of QD wheels, check ease of QD spindle assembly and fit, adjust if necessary. Lubricate QD spindle as required.

7) Handrims

Check that hand rims are fixed firmly through holes to the wheel rim using four M6 screws and nyloc nuts. Access to fixings for hand rim removal, first requires tyre removal.

8) Brake setting 

This check to be done by a fit technician of approximately100Kg in a workshop environment. Move the chair to a forwards facing position at 300mm ( approx. 12inches) from a firm test wall. Sitting in the chair, apply both brakes. Extend the legs to contact the wall in front of the chair. Walk up the wall with the feet. The chair should tip backwards without wheel movement. If movement of the wheel is detected with the brake on, adjust brake shoe towards the tyre using the mounting rail clamp screws, until movement of the wheel is eliminated. Lubricate the brake mechanism. Brake setting in the user home environment should ensure that operation applies sufficient pressure on tyre to eliminate wheel turning on a concrete surface ( making tyres skid ) when an unoccupied chair is pushed.

9) Anti tippers

From the rear of the chair check the tipping area for wear or damage. If anti tippers have been fitted, check the free running and security of the small anti tipper wheel, and check tubing for deformation in use. Anti tippers are not normally fitted to attendant propelling chairs. Correct position for anti tipper fixing knob is the outside of the frame, behind the wheel, where it is less obtrusive in use.  

10) Rear tie down and belt points

Tip chair forward and visually check underneath, look for missing or loose, fixings or damage. If the wheelchair has been used as a vehicle seat when the occupant has been transported, check security and shape of the rear belt guide and tie down point. Check labelling of tie down points and general batch identification.

Check security of seat belt if this is fitted.

11) Front frame bottom connection

Move to the front of the chair. Check security of the castor connector moulding. Check that the front tie down label is secure. Take the cap off the top of the connector moulding and check the internal ribs for first signs of stress cracks. Check connection security by gripping tubes and feeling for movement in frame to check security of fixing screws.

12) Armrest pad

Move to the armrests. Check arm pad for tears and scuffs. Replace if necessary. Firmly grasp each arm pad in turn and attempt to rock them side-to-side on the arm frame tube. If movement is detected this will indicate that the screws on the underside of the arm frame need further tightening

13) Armrest frame location

Check that the arm lock lever is in the “engaged” position, grasp each arm in turn at the front on the bend in the angled tube, and pull upwards to check that the arm lock plunger is properly engaged. Carers and attendants should understand that armrests should not be used to grasp a chair when it is being handled with a  seated occupant, but security against such misuse is a safety recommendation.

Check security of the armrest front housing moulding to the frame, this also functions as the front seat tube location. Check for wear or damage. Stand in front of the chair with both hands on the arm pads and press outwards with normal arm pressure to check for armrest frame security. Disengage both forward arm locks and swivel both arms upwards to the rear. Check for excess movement, and swivel clearance in the rear arm pivot. Check that side panel is undamaged. Return the arm rests to their original position and check engagement of both front arm locks. Lubricate the sprung loaded lock pin action from the inside of the locating socket.

14) Castors

Tip the chair onto its back until it rests independently on its push handles. Test both castors for any sign of head bearing rock. Some castors may have slight resistance to free swivel, but this resistance should be less than natural gravity, and the castor should swivel down under its own weight. Check the fork and wheel assembly for signs of damage, and the tyres for wear. Replace if necessary.

On chairs used by heavy occupants it is recommended to replace castors after two years use. Castors for heavy occupants over 135Kg have M16 spindles )identified by the spigot nut being black and not silver as used on M14 spigots). These may also be fitted as a preventive measure, where the occupant has a history of castor damage through severe use. Assemble new castors torque to 40NM – 45NM with Loctite 243 threadlock.

If the existing castor appears OK, spin each castor wheel in turn and first listen to the sound of the bearings in the wheels for signs of dryness or grating. Whilst the castor wheel is spinning, look for excess out of true running of both the periphery of the tyre (0.060” – 1,5mm total) and side-to-side run out of the tyre (0.030” – 0,75mm total). Next, grasp each wheel firmly and twist side-to-side looking for excess movement of the wheel on its bearings and also excess lateral movement.

Visually check that the wheel centre bush and fork inside faces are in contact. If there is a gap between the two, this indicates that the wheel centre bolt is insufficiently tightened. On the Greencare modular castor, access to the centre bolt requires removal of the protective cap, this can be loosened from the inside using a flat blade screwdriver on the central location peg. Always replace castor hub cap, as this has a safety back up function. If cap is damaged fit a replacement spare.

15) Foot support plates 

Move attention to the footrests. The modular footplates and brackets should be latched in the forward operating position. Fold down both footplates and first test each footplate is securely clamped into the hangers by grasping each footplate in turn and with hand pressure attempt to rotate it forwards and rearwards. Looking vertically down at the footplates, ensure that they are in line at the front. Test operation of the folding up and down of the footplates by raising each one in turn to near vertical. Finger tap the top of the plate several times there should be resistance to free downward movement, lubricate swivel action if required.

Look for signs of damage to the footplate. Check that the side angle jacking screw has an end cap. Check the footrest position, and height, adjust if required, by repositioning fixing screws.

16) Footrest bracket and options

Disengage the footrest from the chair and check the latch. Whilst it is disengaged, “flick” the latch several times to see if the return spring operates the locking plunger. Lubricate this action. Check that the upper footrest pivot moulding is secure, the internal pivot screw fixing is accessed down inside the moulded spigot diameter using a long pozidrive screwdriver.

Now re assemble the footrest bracket to the chair frame with the hanger to the front position and press down the bracket to engage the locking plunger or swing to lock dependent on mechanism type. Check for engagement and security of the footrest bracket in its working position. Check security of the dovetail shaped locking stud which is secured to rear of the front frame tube, only tighten if required, use loctite 270 studlock to secure if replacing the screw. Ensure that the footplate adjuster jacking screw has been locked tight with the footrests slightly, three to five degrees upwards when there is no load applied, the heavier the occupant, the greater the angle. Check that the end trim cap that retains the footplate onto the stem is secure

During 2007, Greencare introduced several new footrest options including foot bar and dynamic footrest to meet specific user need. These can be used as an option to the swing away brackets, so that the user can have more functionality. If part of the kit being used then these items should also be checked according to the procedures in the Technical Service Manual.


In general, replace damaged or badly worn parts using Greencare DB1 spares. If there is a need for another type of component to be fitted, please check with Greencare as any warranty may be at risk.  Please read the Technical Service Information in our Greencare manual. We have a service team available to help. Please do not hesitate to call on the resources of our company if you need help with refurbishment where such help extends to on-site training and quality assessment.

Checkout out our latest videos