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Climbing Ability vs. Your Expectations

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Question: Which unit is designed to climb this road?

Answer: None of them! They all have the same 6 degree maximum*

This is what 6 degrees looks like:

Mobility scooters and power chairs are designed to give you back your independence to move about your home, go shopping, get to doctor’s appointments, travel and attend outdoor events. They do however have limitations about where and how they can be used. Here’s some common situations you need to be aware of:

  • Avoid continued use beyond a units’ stated capabilities, which will cause parts like batteries and motors to fail which are NOT covered by the warranty
  • Be alert that surfaces like grass, gravel and dirt can cause the loss of traction and can cause you to get stuck, especially combined with steep grades
  • Avoid surfaces that are wet, uneven or slick. You can lose control easily and cause injury to yourself or your equipment
  • Stay out of rain and snow and never go on the beach (google “ Red Jeep/ Dorian Hurricane” for an clear example why)
  • The combination of any of above will amplify the likelihood of getting stuck, injured or causing damages to your equipment.
  • Scooters and power chairs are not ATV’s. They are NOT designed to handle rough off-road terrain or surfaces that are very uneven or steep.
  • Lastly: Be aware that some manufacturers artificially inflate the climbing ability numbers on their specification sheets* Call us for examples


Driving on areas beyond 6 degrees can cause your scooter or power chair to temporarily stop working or it can slow down to a crawl. These are not defects: they are signs of too much strain on the unit.

Beware of continual use on hilly areas that “seem a little steeper”: they can actually be 10-15 degrees or even greater. Continued use over the intended grade maximum will cause strain to motors and batteries, shortening their life and can also permanently damage parts causing them to fail. This is not covered by manufacturer warranties and would be your responsibility for repair costs.

Surfaces like grass or loose gravel can also strain your unit by creating additional drag or tire spinning (from loss of traction) that can cause you to slow down or even get stuck. Soft ground combined with dampness can cause the drive tires to dig down into the soil and cause a muddy mess, which can lead to rust and other motor issues not covered by the warranty.

Don’t make assumptions. Before buying, make sure to ask the right questions in order to find the best solution for your needs. Don’t assume that just because a unit looks “strong and rugged”, that it can handle the places you intend to go.

Scott Dannenberg


Southern Mobility and Medical

Want more information, call us at 1-800-681-8831 for guidance or click below to see all scooters.