If you’ve lost your keys and are wondering if it’s possible to start your mobility scooter without them, you’re in luck. In this article we’ll look at a few different options you have to get back on the road again.
There’s no doubt a mobility scooter is a wonderful aid for the elderly after walking becomes a little difficult, or when we can’t trust our balance anymore. Some are quite small so we can easily take them in the car. Others are more luxurious, for driving around the neighbourhood or cruising shopping malls. There are even mobility scooters designed for outdoor use.
However, they all have one thing in common, and that’s if we can’t start them they are not much use at all. Manufacturers fit them with starter keys for safety and convenience. But what do you do if you lose them? How do you start a mobility scooter without a key? Read on to learn what to do…
What To Do When You’ve Lost Your Mobility Scooter Keys?
Forgetting where we put things is part of the new normal as we age. We have so many things on our minds we can’t possibly remember them all. One workaround is putting keys in the same place at home every time. But that’s not much use if we need to use the scooter, and we lost the keys.
- Stay calm. Searching frantically does not help. We need to focus.
- First, look where the keys should be within a metre from that spot
- Go through rooms and open spaces thoroughly one by one
- Concentrate on cluttered areas where keys are harder to spot
- Divide cluttered areas into sections with your eyes. Do one at a time
- Re-create the last time you had the keys, in your mind. Where was that?
It is pointless returning to the same place time-after-time if you already looked carefully. If we left a spare set with a neighbour, then it’s time to call them. However, if we are far from home we need another solution, because we are away from support systems.
Can You Hot-Wire a Mobility Scooter So It Starts?
The key opens the flow of electricity from the battery to the motor so it can turn. This energy goes via the speed control, so you can decide how fast you want to go. If you like, you can imagine the key ‘making’ and ‘breaking’ the connection.
You can bypass the key switch with a ‘hot-wire’ that ‘makes’ the connection instead. When you remove it, you break the connection it’s a simple as that. Thieves call stolen goods ‘hot property’ because they can burn their fingers if they get caught. The hot-wire must be the right thickness or it may get warm too.
So should you attempt this yourself if you lose your mobility scooter key?
We would prefer to answer with a resounding ‘no’ because you could damage the scooter electrics if you connect the wires wrong. This could cause expensive damage compounding your problem. It’s wiser to ask for expert help.
Call the rental company if you hired the scooter. They should have a spare key and be able to help. If you own the mobility scooter here’s what you do:
- Call the people who maintain your scooter. They will know what to do and should be able to hot-wire your scooter
- Ask the technician who hot-wired your scooter to follow you home, and remove the hot-wire after you park safely
- Make a nice cup of tea to relax. Then call the scooter supply company and ask them to order two sets of new keys
Can You Start a Scooter with a Screwdriver if You Have To?
We might be able to hot-start a mobility scooter with a pair of screwdrivers touching, if they were insulated ones. However, the motor would stop turning the moment we broke the connection so that one’s not a runner.
There is one trick you could try if you were really, really desperate although we honestly don’t recommend going down that route. We have heard of some car thieves starting motors this way and we mention it in case you’re interested.
How ignition locks work
Ignition locks are electric switches that turn inside a cylinder to create electrical contacts so current can flow. However, they have a number of sliding tumblers inside them that normally prevent them from turning without the right key.
An old-style key for a particular ignition lock has a profile corresponding to those tumblers. It also has grooves running along the length making it harder to duplicate. Modern cars back this system up with electronics.
If your mobility scooter has anti-theft technology, then please skip the rest of this section as what follows is irrelevant. If you decide to follow our advice, then the method we describe will ruin the lock. Therefore, think carefully before you try this.
How to start a scooter with a screwdriver and hammer
Lay your hands on a flat screwdriver or other suitable object that fits neatly but not tightly into the part of the lock the key goes into. Firmly tap the hammer on the screwdriver handle until the blade is all the way into the lock.
This should free the tumblers, so rotating the screwdriver switches the electricity on. You’re not going to do that? That’s great, and we hoped you’d say so. Imagine the looks you get in the shopping mall!
Besides, you would have caused irreversible damage to the lock, and you will need a locksmith to sort it out whether or not this trick worked. We’d much prefer you loaded your mobility scooter on a utility vehicle, and ordered two sets of replacement keys.
How to Get Mobility Scooter Replacement Keys
This is by far the most sensible alternative to all the ones we discussed. In fact, we think it’s the way to go assuming the scooter manufacturer is still in business. However, you need to convince them you are not a crook. To do so you will need the following information:
- The unique serial number of the scooter, they’ll tell you where it is
- Any identifying marks on the lock face unless you smashed it up
- Proof you own the scooter in the form of a receipt or licence disk
- Some money, but possibly less than a lock smith call out-charge
We’ve come to end our journey on this topic. We now know how to start a mobility scooter after we lose the key. We could have avoided this if we stopped misplacing keys and other small things. But that would be wishful thinking, would it not?