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Does your stairlift need an MOT?

3rd October 2017

To maintain accessibility in the home, stairlifts are essential. Allowing easy access between floors, they allow people to remain independent for longer. But there are tell-tale signs that a stairlift may need a little R&R. If problems are caught early, they are easily remedied however if left for longer periods of time, they can develop into more serious difficulties.


Knowing what to look for can make a big difference as well as understanding if it is a problem that needs the attention of an engineer. So instead of ignoring the awkward whirring noise or hoping the flashing light will sort itself out, read this guide and check if your stairlift needs an MOT.


If it happens that an engineer does need to be called, being able to inform them about what is the suspected problem will also ease the process. Telling the professional what areas you have investigated and anything you have noticed in the area will be helpful. 

Areas for concern

The Seat


Some stairlifts have swivel seats for the ease of the user. These often return to the upright position once they have been vacated. If this is not the case, it may be due to broken springs. If this is the case, an engineer should be called to assess the problem.




Some stairlifts are from a fused spur, which is often located at the top of the stairs, but could also be at the middle or bottom of that staircase, depending on installation. Occasionally these fuses blow. If your stairlift has no power and the circuit breaker has not tripped, it is likely a blown fuse. For those who feel competent at changing a fuse, it is an easy task, however if it is outside of your comfort zone, seek expert help. If you are intending to change the fuse yourself, ensure it is the correct ampage and size for the fuse you are replacing.


Rack Hinge Rail


If the ride is less than comfortable or is halting altogether, it is often the rack hinge rail that is to blame. The rack hinge rail can easily be obstructed by new flooring, trailing wires or small objects so it is important to keep this clear at all times and regularly check for obstructions.


Worn Rollers


If the stairlift is making a grinding noise, it is a cause for concern and could be indicative of worn rollers. This should be managed by an expert. Another indication of worn rollers is if your stailift is suddenly running much slower. Rollers are not something the customer can replace and should be looked at by a technician.


Error Codes


Most stairlifts have Digital Diagnostic displays that show when a part is failing or is about to fail. These can differ between models and makes and should be explained in the manual. Some codes indicate when a stairlift is working normally and should not be troubling, however, others display a fault. If you see a code you do not recognise or it is accompanied by a beep, you should check your manual or look up the code with the model and the make of the stairlift online.


Some warnings are easily averted. It could be the fact that the lift has not been parked at the charge point and is not receiving charge, and this can be easily remedied. If you are concerned, being able to tell the professional the error code that is showing will help them fix the problem.


Maintaining a stairlift

Careful maintenance can help ensure equipment is running smoothly for longer. Regular cleaning and thoroughly understanding the instructions in the manual are the best way to stay on top of this. If you are ensure about how to take care of the equipment, you should first consult the manual to ensure you are following best practices and will not do anything to damage the parts or mechanism.


Clean regularly


Dusting stairlifts is important to avoid a build-up of dust. Though wiping the equipment down with a wet cloth is the best way to remove dust, this should be followed by wiping the areas with a dry cloth for safety purposes. This should be done on a weekly basis. Pay special attention to cleaning the seat and track. Never use solvents and detergents as these can be abrasive and cause problems if used frequently.


Lubricate the track


For the smoothest and quietest ride, the track must be in good working order and lubricating it will help this. Firstly turn off the stairlift for safety reasons. Once the track is clean, you should apply a small amount of Vaseline or another lubricant on the track and other moving parts. This does not have to be done too often, every three months should be sufficient unless you notice your ride is less than smooth.  This can often be difficult for those with limited mobility and seeking help from a friend or family member may be the best way to ensure the job is completed.




An annual service is recommended to make sure the stairlift is in top working condition and adjust any minor faults that happen over a year’s use. Keeping on top of these annual visits will ensure any problems will be caught early and should therefore be more easily resolved. This will help home stailifts last longer and in better condition so people can remain independent in their own home.



This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.