FAQs by TGA
Everything you need to know about taking control of your A-to-B with TGA, so that you can get around easier – and feel moved.
Buying a mobility scooter isn’t an everyday experience, and if you’re just starting to investigate it, we know it can feel overwhelming. We’re here to help along the way so that when you decide the time is right, you can do so confidently.
Many people make the choice to buy a mobility scooter for themselves or a loved one because it allows them to remain independent, enjoy their favourite places and live life on the go with ease.
We’ve put together some answers to frequently asked questions to help you decide if a mobility scooter is right for you or a family member and find the ideal mobility tool for your needs.
Here’s our FAQ on mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, from what to look for when buying your first one to more technical stuff like charging times and battery life.
DECIDING TO USE A MOBILITY PRODUCT
What is a mobility scooter for?
A scooter is a great option when you have limited mobility, but want to visit family, go shopping, and travel around without relying on others.
Mobility scooters are often helpful for people with chronic joint pain, breathing difficulties, or with generally limited movement. You just need to have enough control and balance to manoeuvre the scooter safely, as they’re operated with both hands.
If you have some mobility but can’t walk for long distances anyd find it hard to use a walking stick, frame, or crutches, a mobility scooter might be right for you.
What’s the difference between a mobility scooter and an electric-powered wheelchair?
While there are many differences between the two, the giveaway is the steering: mobility scooters are designed with tillers, whereas an electric-powered wheelchair manoeuvres by joystick.
Electric-powered wheelchairs are more compact than mobility scooters, which gives them an adaptable, on-the-go advantage. The joystick-like controls make electric-powered wheelchairs particularly well suited for individuals with restricted mobility in their upper body.
Mobility scooters come in a range of sizes and formats, from small and transportable to larger and more powerful, and can typically go further afield – and handle much more varied terrain. Scooters are particularly helpful for people with a long-term injury, bone diseases, or chronic pain, but who also have reasonable balance, coordination, and strength in the upper body.
When deciding between the two, you should choose the option that best fits your lifestyle, budget, and abilities.
How can I help a family member decide it’s the right time to buy a mobility scooter?
Are you concerned about someone who has difficulty walking even short distances? If so, then it might be time to think about mobility scooters. Below are a few questions to ask yourself before researching further:
– Are they short of breath when walking?
– Do they experience pain after walking?
– Are they susceptible to falling?
– Do they spend a lot of time by themselves?
– Do they have a long-term injury or chronic pain?
If any of the above apply, then it might be a good time to have an honest conversation with your family member about their mobility.
How do I choose a mobility scooter for a loved one?
When deciding on what mobility scooter to buy, think about the needs and personality of your family member. Also consider what did they do before their mobility was limited. Did they have a big social life? Did they enjoy spending time in nature or shopping in town? These questions will help you choose the right mobility scooter and decide if you need to consider off-road mobility scooter options.
How much does a mobility scooter cost?
The price of a mobility scooter will vary based on the features you choose and the specifications of size, range, and capability.
Do I qualify for Motability funding?
Motability is a government grant scheme that uses Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, or Veterans UK War Pensions Scheme. To qualify for the Motability Scheme, you’ll need to be awarded the higher rate mobility component of your allowance. If you want more information on funding and Motability, our advisors can offer guidance and advice.
FINDING A MOBILITY PRODUCT
How do I know which mobility scooter is best for me?
There are many types of scooters, each with different features that can be tailored to your needs, the environment you live in, and the terrain you mostly travel on.
So, it’s essential you choose one that fits your requirements – or you may end up with a scooter that isn’t compatible with your condition or lifestyle. Check out our guide to scooters – here.
Which mobility scooter has the longest range?
The range a scooter can go often increases with their size and can depend on the terrain it is designed to travel on.
Scoozy, a modern take on the powered wheelchair, provides the longest range with a dual lithium-ion battery capable of up to 100km, allowing you total freedom to roam.
Which mobility scooter is lightest?
The Minimo mobility scooter weighs 28kg and is designed to fold in a single movement.
Some products, like the Zest, are designed to be transportable in sections so that the section parts are lighter and easier to handle.
Which mobility scooter is the fastest?
All scooters are speed restricted depending on their certified class. Class 2 scooters can travel up to 4mph, and Class 3 up to 8mph and their specification under the MDR (Medical Devices Regulation). Scooters advertised as being able to travel over 8mph are illegal, dangerous, and not protected by insurance.
The speed a scooter goes is in your hands, so you can go at your own comfortable pace. Depending on their specifications, scooter speeds range from 4mph to 8mph.
Which mobility scooter has the best suspension?
It depends on what the purpose is. Small transportable scooters tend to have less suspension due to being designed to be used on pavements and around town.
Vita X has the best suspension for off-road terrain, while Breeze S3 and S4 have the best suspension for a comfortable and smooth quality ride.
Do you carry out home demonstrations?
At TGA, we carry out free, no-obligation home demonstrations.
We understand that testing the product in an environment you wish to use is important. We carry out full product demonstrations nationwide with qualified regional advisors.
Trying a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair in a showroom is very different from trying them in your home and local area, which is why we’re always happy to bring the products to you rather than you come to us.
Are you allowed on motorways or dual carriageways with a mobility scooter?
You are not allowed to drive your mobility scooter on motorways. You may drive your mobility scooter when using a dual carriageway, but you must have a flashing orange beacon. Class 3 scooters are equipped with indicators, lights, mirrors, and a horn for use on the road. It is important that users stay in line with the rules of the road and only drive their scooters where they feel confident and safe.
USING A MOBILITY PRODUCT
Can I take my mobility scooter on a plane?
Most airlines let you take a mobility scooter on a plane. There are different rules depending on what kind of batteries your scooter uses.
A recent change in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations limits the size of lithium-ion batteries that can be carried on planes.
A 24v 11.5ah battery that complies with CAA regulations can be taken on board. A 24v 14.5ah battery is not CAA compliant and can’t be taken on a plane. (If you purchase a Minimo or Minimo Plus with the larger 14.5ah batteries, TGA will loan you a smaller 11.5ah battery pack for the duration of your holiday, so that you can take your scooter on the plane and be fully compliant.)
Make sure you double-check with your tour operator or airline before booking your flight and inform the airline that you will be bringing your scooter before travelling. We can provide free scooter passports, which is a tear-proof label to attach to your scooter or wheelchair with all your details on it. This isn’t an official document, but rather ensures airline staff knows as much about you scooter as possible – like that it’s yours.
Before travelling with your scooter remember the following:
– Remove all loose items from the scooter’s storage baskets and lockable boxes.
– If the scooter can be dismantled, it’s best to keep it assembled for the flight.
– The keys to your scooter will be removed for the flight. Add a label to your keys so that they can easily be identified and attached to your scooter during transit.
– Some airlines disengage mobility scooter batteries during flights. Upon arrival at your destination, ensure that the battery is connected. If your scooter is not working when you arrive, check the battery cables are attached.
How long do mobility scooter batteries last?
Battery life is measured in distance. The range your scooter can go varies from approximately 10 miles per charge for small transportable scooters and up to 60 milers for bigger models. Weight, temperature, and terrain can also have a huge impact on the range achieved on a full charge. Every scooter comes with a battery indicator to show the remaining range.
How long do mobility scooter batteries last before they need changing?
Battery care is very important. A full charge will usually be about 8 hours but can be less or more depending on a variety of factors, such as your past usage and the current level of charge remaining, among others.
Your battery charger will indicate when the batteries are fully charged; repeated partial charging will reduce the lifespan of your batteries. If well maintained, a battery should last for years.
How long do I need to charge my battery for?
All products, regardless of whether they are lithium or lead-acid batteries, need to be charged for a long time to maintain good range and battery health. This typically takes 8 hours but can be less if the batteries are lithium-based. (It could also take longer if the batteries are exceptionally drained of juice.) To maximise your battery’s life, we recommend charging the battery after every use.
How fast am I allowed to go on pavements on my mobility scooter?
Regardless of what type of mobility scooter you have, you should always limit the speed to 4mph or slower when on the pavement.
It’s illegal to travel at more than 4mph on the pavement. You must always remain alert, as you are below the eye line of most pedestrians and pedestrians have the right of way.
Do I need to register a mobility scooter with the DVLA?
Class 3 mobility scooters must be registered with the DVLA. At TGA, we register your mobility scooter for you.
Should I insure my mobility product?
We recommend that you insure your mobility scooter or powerchair for peace of mind, which we can advise you on.
Do you repair and service mobility scooters?
We have fully trained and experienced engineers nationwide to carry out repairs and servicing for scooters and powerchairs.
We aim to carry out the service work onsite so there is minimal inconvenience and disruption for our customers.
How often should I get my mobility scooter/powered wheelchair serviced?
We recommend having your mobility scooter serviced annually to ensure it stays in safe working condition. While the scooter is under warranty, you must get this serviced annually to validate the following year’s warranty.
I’m going to London. Can my scooter go in a black cab?
Yes. Every licensed black cab in London is wheelchair accessible and equipped with ramps. Larger scooters, however, are not likely to fit in a taxi.
So it is only really Class 2 scooters and wheelchairs that are reasonably transportable by black cab
Can I take my scooter on public transport?
Yes. Many transport networks are becoming more accessible. Before starting your journey, check with operators to see if your scooter meets the requirements for the bus, tram, or train.
How do I transport my mobility scooter or electric powered wheelchair?
Mobility scooter and powerchair users usually have no problem travelling by public transportation, but it is important to follow these points when travelling:
• Look into the operator’s policies on how to travel safely with your scooter or wheelchair before travelling.
• Check your chair fits the right requirements and isn’t too large (taking up more than 700mm wide or 1200mm long when you aren’t sitting in it).
• Take care when boarding and disembarking, and make sure your chair’s kerb climbers are set so that they don’t catch on the ramp.
You must ensure that your scooter or wheelchair is in a safe condition to travel. The chair must be correctly maintained, have properly inflated tyres, and not be overloaded with bags on the back (which could cause it to tip over backwards on a ramp). A powered chair must also have a secure battery.
Transport operators may refuse to allow you to travel if they believe that your wheelchair is not in a safe condition.
What scooters can I take with me in my car?
The Minimo is lightweight and designed to fold in a single movement, so it’s perfect to take with you wherever you are going. Its lightweight design means that lifting it in and out of the boot is strain-free, and with a revolutionary lightweight battery that you can pick up with one finger, it makes the whole process of getting the scooter in and out of the car hassle-free. The Zest and Whill can be dismantled into pieces to reduce the weight that needs to be lifted.