Monthly Archives: March 2014

How to replace handgrips on a 4 wheeled walker

Handgrips are meant to be tight and not slip. To loosen just put a flat head screwdriver between the handlebar and the handgrip and slowly push between handlebar and handgrip up to 1 1/2 inches. Pry up to separate gently and squirt Windex in the space created. Do this in three or more locations than twist left and right to break the seal. The handgrip should slide right off. To replace with a new handgrip lubricate the handlebar surface with Windex (or hairspray if you need to tighten them up) than while twisting left and right slide the new handgrip onto the handlebar quickly. If replacing the old handgrip than just make sure it is dry and than follow the instructions for the new handgrip. Get it on all the way than let it dry (10 minutes or so) and the handgrip will firm up. If the handgrip is stubborn and fits tight you can soak the handgrips in hot water to soften the rubber than use Windex to lubricate and follow the same instructions. We have replaced handgrips that go on almost all the way and become very difficult. The last inch and a half could be pounded on with a rubber mallet or rawhide mallet. Do not use a steel hammer as any metal to metal like the back end of the handlebar and a hammer that can cut right through the rubber. If the original handgrips are just loose you might try the hairspray to tighten them up.

Walker brake replacement notes

To identify what part needs replacement, understanding the parts is important. The black line running from the hand brake to the brake pad on the wheel is a “cable cover”. The actual brake cable runs inside this cover. If the cover needs to be replaced the ends will usually fray exposing little steel wires that will prick your fingers. At the wheel the brake pad is only half of the process as the wheel must have rubber to meet the brake pad. If a back wheel is worn to the point that the pad and the wheel do not meet you might try to switch the front wheels to the back if the front wheels have more rubber. On the backside of the brake handle is a round little knob about ½” in diameter and ½” sticking out. This looks to be part of the brake but is actually where the brake cable feeds from. Grab this with a pair of pliers and it will come right off. After the new cable is fed through the cable cover make sure the cable adjustment screws at both ends are returned back to a “no adjustment” position. (If the adjustment screw is screwed out this lengthens the cable and tightens the brake. The little nut is finger tight only!) It helps to have a second set of hands when setting the brake for the first time actually keeping the brake pads closed against the wheel or down on the wheel, depending on the type of brake pad. This takes the slack out of the cable so the brake has tension to the wheel. Rule of thumb is not to have the brake locking mechanism too tight so it would be difficult to set. The brake locking mechanism is achieved by pressing down on the brake handle and it should click into the lock position and not be too hard to press down. If it does not hold this is an indication of the need for a new brake.

How to adjust brakes on the 4 wheeled walker with brakes and seat

At each end of the brake line is a silver adjustment screw. The one closest to the brake handle is for fine tuning and the one closest to the wheel is to adjust the most slack. If the brake handle is adjusted out try adjusting the one at the wheel and backing off the one at the handle. If this doesn’t work adjust them both back and pull the brake cable tighter at the wheel before adjustment.

Wheel bearings and replacement

Most walkers have two wheel bearings per wheel and they can be replaced. You will hear a clicking sound or rubbing sound if the bearings are failing. Sometimes the bearing actually gives out. Before the wheel is ruined these can be replaced. Take off the wheel and put a screwdriver in the bearing opening and pop them out. They will pop back in by finger strength or a slight tap with a hammer. If you replace 1 side it is good to replace both. Things like sand and grit can ruin the bearings so if 1 is ruined they both probably need to be replaced to get the grit out of the wheel. Nova has a 5 pack for their Wheel bearing replacement.

Things to look out for on “Free Shipping”

We offer pure “Free Shipping” for a purchase of $50 or more. This means that the item will ship the same but will not cost the customer an additional fee. (We drop ship anywhere in the USA in 3 or 4 working days) The volume price or dollar amount allows a little wiggle room but shipping is still a cost to the business. Some free shipping is meant to be 10 to 20 days and to get the 3 day you will pay a hefty penalty that is $80 to $100 to expedite the delivery. For a shipper “Next Day” can be as much as a $100 so be sure that 3 days won’t do for your purchased item and be sure that 3 days is the customary “Free Shipping”. Many times Next Day turns out to be at least 2 days and many times the 3 day for us is 2 days. All shipping is done through a calculator provided by the shipper, so if your freight amount is a little high you might want to inquire about it. Actual costs for most items less than 3 lbs is $12 and more than 3 lbs is around $20. This would represent competitive shipping and handling.  The product is processed by the internet store and sent on to the manufacturer to process and send an order down to the warehouse for picking, packing and shipping. The carrier picks it up and may process this through as many as a ½ dozen warehouses en route to the customer. The fantasy that this is done for “free” is just incorrect. The exception is a large inventory of a specialty item that can be sent parcel post in a priority box. The shipping cost now is $4 to $9 but handling is still a real cost.

How to save to “My Favorites” or “Bookmarks” so you can get back to the web site

On your search engine toolbar is either a “Favorites” word or a “Bookmark” word somewhere at the top of the page. If it is “Favorites” you can put your cursor on the word and left click. This opens a drop down menu to “Save to Favorites” or to “Add to your Favorites Bar”. If you add to the bar than you will see that web location on the bar or if you have several saved the little arrows to the right side of the bar will reveal additional favorites you may have saved. If you just save to favorites the location will always be listed under “Favorites” when you left click on the word to reveal them. Either way all you have to do now is click on the saved favorite to return to that web site. For the “Bookmark” feature just left click on the “Bookmark” and save or add to the navigation bar as with the favorites bar. Sometimes you need to search for the “Bookmark” so look for a symbol that when you hover your cursor over the symbol allows for the “Bookmark”. Follow the prompts as ion the saving favorites.

Where you can take your walker for repairs

Some people are not able to repair their walkers and need to have them repaired. We recommend that you contact your local friendly bicycle repair store. These folks are not only qualified they also are usually the most reasonable, especially if you have the parts you need. Durable Medical Supply stores will occasionally repair but have a hefty repair charge  that they will add on to the over all cost. Many DME stores only want to sell new items. Make a few calls to get an idea of the repair costs. The biggest deterrent is many of the items are made over seas and metric tools are needed to make the repairs. Most people have some tools in this country but most of those are standard sizes not metric. All bicycle repair shops have metric tools.

How the “Drop Ship” works

Many businesses on the internet represent “drop ship programs” through manufacturers of the products they represent on their web sites. This works by reducing the inventory kept on hand and allowing for a decrease in price for the item. Most manufactures do not sell directly to the public (consumer) but sell in bulk to retailers or stores. The manufacture has the ability to pick pack and ship any item but not to detail a direct service to hundreds and thousands of individual customers through individual sales. Their standard accounting represents a pre approved net 30 day account based on a pre approved credit rating. In order to receive the item in a short turn around time this “drop ship” is essential to have access to for the e business and for the customer. Shipping is a very real cost to e business and the “Free” is usually attached to a long shipping time with shorter times available for greatly increased cost to the customer. Book rates and bulk rates can be less but medical supplies usually have a greater cost/time associated with them when purchased through the internet. The customer usually needs it now! The difference between the 3 day rate and the overnight rate (which usually takes 2 business days) can be $50 to $100. The control on shipping also allows for returns on merchandise should that be needed. When ordering off the internet one should try to make sure the product being ordered is what they want/need. Most returns are now marked up if the “drop ship” has to be returned as the carrier is charging more for a pick up than for a delivery. You can also expect 20% to 25% re-stocking fees on return merchandise charged by the manufacturer. There is also a need to identify the item by a “return merchandise authorization #” RMA so the credit can be identified to the merchant.

Returned Merchandise Authorization RMA

When returning an item purchased on the internet the return merchandise authorization is important to obtain. A business may ship out dozens or even hundreds of a given product and the ability to credit the customer as well as the merchant on a Drop Ship Program is a real challenge if we can not pin point the purchaser and the product as well as the credit back to an account. Since the ability to Drop Ship is tied to a “Net 30 Day Account” which means the payment is due every 30 days and the billing is sometimes also delayed and batched. The identification of which item to which customer can be potentially very confusing and even challenging without a number to identify the return. Make sure communication happens with the merchant prior to returning anything on an internet order and make sure you have a RMA # pre approved.

Pulling on compression stockings

The conventional method for putting on or “Dawning” a stocking is different than the way a compression stocking would be “Dawned”. Think of 1 rubber band slipping over your hand than think of 20 rubber bands together and the difference of the stretch ability of the 1 compared to 20 rubber bands together. Gathering the compression stocking is very similar to this so that is not the advised method for pulling this stocking onto your foot and over your heal and up your leg.  Think in terms of a little bit at a time and three separate goals. The first is over the toes of the foot and the second is eased over the heel of the foot with the third is eased up the leg and over the calf. Rubber gloves like dishwashing gloves are very handy to enhance the grip of the stocking material. At this point I will point out the stronger the compression the more difficult it is to pull them on. If the 30-40 compression is just not manageable don’t give up but try at least the 20-30 compression level. It may not be optimum but it still supplies therapy and helps with the blood flow returning to the heart. If the leg is sensitive to the top band consider a stocking with a beaded silicone band above the calf. To remove the stockings, turn them inside out starting at the top to slide off your leg with the fabric to fabric reducing the grip or tension. I get the end past my toes and step on it with my other foot and pull my foot out of the stocking.