How to Easily Unlock a Power Wheelchair

how to unlock a power wheelchair

If you’re reading this article, you probably just got a power wheelchair or are on the verge of getting it.

Learning to walk with a motorized wheelchair is like driving a car. You need to master its features and controls, lock and unlock, and how to assemble and disassemble it.

This article will show you how to unlock a power wheelchair without sweating it out.

Unlocking a power wheelchair is as simple as ABC, only if you know what to do and how to do it.

But hang on a minute. It makes sense to talk about the features of a power wheelchair to understand how it works. So, here we go.

Table of Contents

What are the Exceptional Features of a Power Wheelchair?

A typical power wheelchair has 2 large rear wheels and 2 small front wheels. They typically differ from manual wheelchairs in their power source, either an electric motor or a battery.

As its name implies, a power wheelchair is propelled by power drawn from a power source. This type of wheelchair is best used by people who don’t have enough stamina and energy to propel a manual wheelchair.

how to unlock a wheelchair

Check out the major components of a power wheelchair.

Related: Best Places to Sell Your Wheelchair


The wheels are a major part of a motorized wheelchair. They could be molded wheels or wire wheels, depending on the manufacturers. A power wheelchair comes with wheels ranging from 12-26 inches in diameter. The sizes could be higher, depending on the specific needs of the disabled person.

Note that a power wheelchair with wired wheels is lighter and more responsive than those with molded wheels.


Depending on your preference, there are power wheelchairs with adjustable armrests as well as fixed armrests. This component serves as hand support for the disabled person. It also allows weight shifting to avoid pains and discomfort when propelling the wheelchair.

Leg Rests

Just like the armrest, the leg rest can be elevating, swinging away, or fixed. Each of the different leg rests has its unique function. For example, the swings way leg rest allows detaching from the frame for easy movement in and out of the wheelchair.

Often, the type of disability determines the type of leg rest most suitable for the disabled person. It is important to consider your physiological need before choosing the type of leg rest for your power wheelchair.


These are available in dry or wet options, and there’s room for an onboard charger that allows you to plug into a standard wall outlet.

The batteries in a motorized wheelchair are usually 12V rechargeable deep-cycle batteries. They power a motorized wheelchair with 12-80 amps per hour.

Axles and Caster

The axles of a wheelchair can be quick-release or fixed, while the caster can range from 3 to 9 inches in diameter.


This component is responsible for tailoring sensitivity and accessing multiple control modes. It is usually an armrest-mounted joystick with a swing-away option. Its capacity ranges from propelling the power wheelchair forward to unlocking and locking it.

You will always need the controller/joystick to unlock your power wheelchair.

Related: How to Choose a Reliable Transport Wheelchair (Complete Guide)

How to Unlock a Power Wheelchair

how to unlock a power wheelchair

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic components of the power wheelchair, particularly the controller/joystick, which is needed for unlocking a power wheelchair, read this section to learn how to unlock your wheelchair easily.

Method 1

The first step is to turn your wheelchair on. It should currently be in the off mode since it is locked and needs to be unlocked. So, turn it on and proceed to move the controller/joystick forward till you hear a beep.

Move the controller/joystick backward also till there’s another beep. Hurray! You’ve successfully unlocked your power wheelchair without stress. It sounds simple, and sure it is.

Some brands are easier to unlock than others. For example, the Invacare power wheelchair can be unlocked by simply pressing the horn button on the joystick twice in 2 seconds. It is pretty easy compared to other brands.

Note that you cannot use a power wheelchair in its locked state. You have to unlock it if it’s locked before use. Just follow the steps given above to unlock your wheelchair successfully.

Method 2

Power on your motorized wheelchair and press forward the controller. Hold the joystick for a few seconds until a chirp is made. Then, proceed to press the reverse on the joystick.

Hold again for another few seconds until another chirp is made. Remove your hand from the gimbal and allow the joystick to the center. Once you get a flashing light on the joystick, your power wheelchair has been unlocked successfully.

Why Should You Lock Your Power Wheelchair?

If you’re wondering why you should lock your power wheelchair when not in use, you should read this. One of the easiest ways to safeguard your power wheelchair is via locking when not in use. It helps to avoid unnecessary counterbalancing and uncomfortable positions.

But that’s not all. Locking your wheelchair when not in use helps to keep it stationary. But make sure to unlock it when you are ready to use it.

How to Maintain Your Power Wheelchair

Like everything else, the power wheelchair needs regular maintenance to perform at its best. Here’s how to maintain your wheelchair to last a lifetime.

Lock when not in use

Locking when not in use does not only prevent bumping into the mobility device but also prevents draining of the batteries. It will also prevent many malfunctions and accidents. It is necessary that you lock your motorized wheelchair before getting in and out of it. Remember to unlock it when you’re back and ready to use.

I have provided detailed information on how to unlock your power wheelchair above. It’s not as difficult as it seems.

Track the charge level

Ensure that you keep track of the battery charge if your power wheelchair draws power from a battery source. Be careful not to overcharge the batteries. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s guide for specific charging instructions.

The general rule of thumb is to plug your charger when the gauge indicates half a charge.

Keep all electrical connections in place and out of the way. Also, avoid disconnecting the wires because faulty wire connections can damage your power wheelchair. 

How to Easily Unlock a Power Wheelchair


My love for the disabled community started when I helped a blind man cross the road at around age 6. Fast forward to decades later, I became the caregiver of my grandma, who lost her ability to speak in her 90s. This blog helps me to produce helpful content that aligns with my passion.

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