Unlike a hired, borrowed or service industry "rescue" wheelchair, it will be correctly configured and a known quantity which is always available and no panic at that railway station at 2am.
There can be other benefits too. Your spare powerchair can be "different" to your daily powerchair. For e.g. if your normal powerchair is a relatively slow, small powerchair intended mainly for "indoor" such as the majority of powerchairs are, then maybe your cheap old used spare one can be a bigger "off road" capable, full speed/range one designed primarily outdoor use. That way you have some choice in which chair you want to use depending on what your plans are. Flexibility is always a good thing.
Or for some (myself included) it makes more sense to use two (or three in my case) powerchairs that are the "same" or extremely similar for parts/spares interchange capability of components and batteries and seating etc. That's all up to you! E.g. The other day a control pod failed. So I just had a friend fetch me another complete arm with the pod from home to the pub! That's the advantage of interchange-ability. Never even missed a beer. Plug and play.
Where do you get a "cheap" spare Powerchair? Again that's up to you. Craigslist, eBay, newspapers, friends and relatives, the corner shops "for sale" lists, forums like my own & mobility magazines (there are many) and many other places.
Amazingly its quite possible to pick up some very good used hi-end powerchairs very cheaply! Just don't be in a hurry. Another good place is online wheelchair shops or dealers with older chairs.
Online sellers. These mostly push new powerchairs, (because there's a 50% mark-up at least on most) but email or call because they generally have a bricks and mortar business too. Meaning they take old wheelchairs in part exchange. And don't know what to do with them! These often go for very little money. It seems nobody wants a used power wheelchair.
HAVING 3 POWER WHEELCHAIR HAS ANOTHER BENEFIT!
I personally have three. I use them in a three year cycle. I have a "new" freshly rebuilt one to use every April as the dirty winter weather ends. That way at any one time I have one "fresh" rebuilt powerchair in use.
And a second finished rebuilt one sat in my living room covered by a dust sheet "ready to go" as a "backup chair" also restored as/better than new) condition.
The third one is always under a slow yearly process of being rebuilt better to a than new condition. So in this way I always have 2 chairs in action, and one in bits! Every year the one I used as the "main" powerchair gets worn, dirty, and is stripped and rebuilt. I then change over and use the previous spare one as my new main chair.
After a redesign & total rebuild >>>
All three powerchairs together, rebuilt to this standard cost me less than one single new powerchair. And they are much better than any new powerchair! At £1500 to £1700 each.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO QUITE AS MAD AS I DID HERE
But it seems to me that its a no brainer! You MUST have a spare "just in case" Powerchair if you actually NEED a chair to get about. Its not just a good idea but an ESSENTIAL requirement. It IS your legs! What are they worth?Its no use calling your local engineer at 12pm on a Sunday night because your chair has broken down. Or the UK's Wheelchair Services (which are an absolute joke by the way) as they will not be available. Or interested.
Even if it just fails at home on a weekday it means you cant go out until "parts arrive" (weeks?) or someone takes it away to be repaired which can be days to months. Its simply not an option for any full time user with a life!
Any old but still serviceable powerchair can serve as a good backup. Just a quick check over is all that's really needed. After all its just an "in case" device for your peace of mind...
Go get yourself organised now, before its too late! You will be pleased you did one day soon.
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