DIY Wheelchair Snow Tires

wheelchair tires with zip ties

wheelchair tires with zip ties

Here’s something that may help wheelchair users deal with the slippery winter issue of poor traction. Originally meant for use on bicycles, but it should work just as well on wheelchairs.

Snowy winter days are easy on the eyes and something many of us look forward to seeing, at least “once” each winter season. For wheelchair users these winter wonderland days can present some real issues with getting around and getting the not so wonderland things done.

Here is an inexpensive do-it-yourself solution that can increase your wheelchair’s tire traction by simulating tire chains and studs. The upfront on this process- This won’t get you to the top of Kilimanjaro but it will help in light snow or on paths that have not been plowed or shoveled down to the bone. It should work on almost all manual wheelchairs. The wheels on powered wheelchairs may limit the number of bands that can be applied but some is certainly better than none.

How to do-it-yourself:

  1. Get your hands on some sturdy plastic/nylon wire ties (zip ties) that are long enough to go around the thickness of your wheelchair’s tire and wheel. Too long is OK since you can cut the ends off.
  2. Tie 25 to 30 ties evenly around each wheel and tire of a manual wheelchair. Powered wheelchairs and smaller tires will require less or may be limited by the wheel style so use your judgment on those.
  3. Make sure the tie heads (buckle) point slightly outward as in the image above and not downward under the tire. This will help dig snow while making for a smoother ride.
  4. Cut the excess on each tie away and you’re set.

A winter tip for manual wheelchair users: If you have a manual wheelchair with quick release wheels and some extra money or cool friends, get hold of an extra set of wheels and tires. Mount a set of knobby wheelchair tires with traction ties attached and keep around for a quick change as needed.

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