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Wheelchair Bearings and Tools: What do I need?

Wheelchair manufacturers recommend that you service your wheelchair’s bearings once per year. Routine maintenance would be cleaning hair or other debris from around your front caster axle, cleaning, and lubricating bearings and if needed replacing any damaged bearings. For a service technician, this would be easy, they have all the right tools and they do it all the time. For the everyday wheelchair user, well ….

Stop Laughing!. I know, I have seen wheelchair that has not had any maintenance done since the owner received it new more than 5 years ago. The problem is water is not your wheelchairs’ friend. It will get into even the best bearings and start to affect how much effort you need to put in to push the chair. This can happen within months and once it goes it reduces the lifespan of the bearing quickly. Over time this extra effort for pushing unmaintained bearings will have a lasting effect on your mobility and can cause additional damage to your body.


wheelchair in simulated water highlighting where the wheelchair bearings are in relationship to the water

One solution is to take your wheelchair into your dealer. It is a great solution for those who can. For everyone else, we created wheelchairbearings.com. Here you can find the right tools and bearings to maintain your wheelchair.

Backstory: The genius was that while trying to maintain my son’s wheelchair and I completely ruined a pair of Spinergy SPOX wheelchair wheels because there were no tools made for everyday wheelchair users to maintain their own wheelchairs. 

What Bearings Should I Replace or Service?

In some cases this is a very easy question, Replace any bearing that is squeaking and service any bearing area that needs a haircut. You know your wheelchair needs some TLC when you should go to a barber before coming to this site!

If you are not in immediate need of a barber, and I hope you are not, most wheelchairs given normally daily use will need to replace their front caster bearings yearly. It is very easy to do. You will need the right replacement bearings for your wheelchair and corresponding bearing removal and installation tools. Under the toolkit section on our website are front caster tools kits and under the bearings section, you will find the right bearings.

Forks and rear wheels do not need to be serviced as often as they are farther from water exposure. For a lot of wheelchair users, going into there local medical equipment supplier can be a good solution. They will clean and re-lubricate the bearings, replacing any as needed. For those who are not able to do this, or who are more aggressive users, or who say saltwater fish (you know who you are), then servicing your forks and rear wheelchair can also be easy with the right tools. Toolkits can be found under our toot kit section and bearings under our bearings section.

If you are the kind of person who needs or wants a full set of bearing tools for their wheelchair then what I suggest is being a full toolkit for the rear wheels, then buying a mini toolkit for the front wheels. Most forks use the same bearings as the rear wheels but some do not.

Tip: If you have multiple wheelchairs that use which different front caster bearing sizes or different fork bearings then buy 1 full kit and add mini kits as needed.

What tools do I need to Service or Replace my wheelchair bearings?

You will need a few tools, some everyday tools, some specialty tools.

Everyday tools:

icon of a hammer  Hammer
icon of an allen key Allen Key

 
Specialty Tools:

icon of a wheelchair blind bearing extractor/puller
Blind Bearing Extractor/Puller. This is to grab the bearing from the inside diameter.

Individuals Tools Here

or 

ToolKits Here

icon of a wheelchair pin punch
Pin Punch. This looks like a screwdriver with a flat head to drive the bearing extractor/puller and along with it the bearing.

Individuals Tools Here

or 

ToolKits Here

 

icon of wheelchair bearing press

or

icon of a wheelchair front caster installer

To reinstall a bearing you will need a Bearing Press in the case of the Rear Wheel and Forks or a Bearing Installer for the casters. These tools ensure that you install the bearings perpendicular to the whole and do not deform the wheel or fork.

Individuals Tools Here

or 

ToolKits Here

 

Note: For some forks, for example, the TiLite Mono Fork you will need:

icon of a socket wrench
Socket Wrench and Socket Set
icon of ring retainer pliers / snap ring pliers
Retaining Ring Pliers or Snap Ring Pliers

 

What Bearings sizes to I need?

The good news is that there are 5 main bearing sizes used on most manual wheelchairs in the United States. (2 in most other countries who use metric only bearings).

Disclaimer: The list below is NOT inclusive of all wheelchairs and wheelchair manufacturers. If you have any questions or want to confirm any bearing sizes before you buy tools or bearings, please contact us we would be happy to answer any questions you have or contact manufactures directly to get answers.

Front Casters:

icon of a wheelchair bearing
608 Bearing are found Ki Mobility, Light up Rollerblade type wheels, Pr1me Wheels, and most aftermarket and sports wheelchair front casters. This is used any front caster with an 8mm axle. This bearing is used in skateboards but they use oil instead of grease in some cases. Oil is not a good barrier to water.
Wheelchair Bearings Here
icon of a wheelchair bearing
R6 Bearing are found in mainly TiLite Lightspeed Casters. This is used in any front caster with a 3/8” axle.
Wheelchair Bearings Here

 

icon of a wheelchair bearing

 

1603 Bearings are found in Quickie Casters by Sunrise Medical. This is used Quickie branded front casters with a 5/16” axle. (Be careful 5/16” is very close to 8mm and are often mixed up. So contact us if you are unsure)

 icon of a wheelchair bearing

Frog Leg Casters use both 608 or R6 depending on what wheelchair they come with. Contact us.

Wheelchair Bearings Here

 

Forks:

icon of a wheelchair bearing
R8 Bearings are used in TiLite and Ki Mobility wheelchairs.

Wheelchair Bearings Here

icon of a wheelchair bearing
6001 Bearings are used in Quickie wheelchairs.
Wheelchair Bearings Here

 

Rear Wheels:

icon of a wheelchair bearing
R8 Bearings are used in TiLite, Quickie, and Ki Mobility wheelchair and is considered standard in US wheelchair with a removable rear wheel.

Wheelchair Bearings Here

icon of a wheelchair bearing
6001 Bearings are used in metric (not the United States) wheelchairs that use a 12mm removable axle
Wheelchair Bearings Here
icon of a wheelchair bearing
R10 Bearings are used in some rugby sports wheelchairs in the USA.
Wheelchair Bearings Here

 

If we can help in any manner or answer any questions you have please contact us.