Strollers are a lot like cars. They can come with features like cup holders and reclining seats, and there’s a wide range of baby wheel styles, colors and price tags that you can pick from.
However, there’s another way that strollers resemble cars that you may not be aware of. Just like cars, strollers need regular maintenance too, a tip that is today’s hint.
In the past, cars traditionally needed a tune-up after a certain number of years or miles driven (think two years or 30,000 miles). While today the recommended maintenance schedule varies by model and car part and the phrase “car tune-up” is quickly becoming a thing of the past, getting your car (and especially its fuel, ignition and emissions systems) checked out periodically is still a best practice.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to tune up, i.e. check and maintain, your stroller parts (like wheels and brakes) regularly too. Exactly how often you’ll want to do this will vary depending on how much you use your stroller and where you live.
“I like to say that just like how you tune up a bike or a car after a certain number of miles or time used if you want it to last, you’ll want to tune up your stroller every three to six months,” says Sam Osborne, retail sales manager and “customer service guru” for UPPAbaby. “We also compare it to an oil change every 3,000 miles.”
She recommends performing (or getting) stroller tune-ups every three months if you’re a heavy stroller user or if you live in areas with rough winters and lots of sand. Otherwise, she says every six months to year or so is fine.
So, you’re probably wondering: What does a stroller tune-up consist of?
Ms. Osborne, who regularly offers free tune-ups for UPPAbaby models at stroller retailers around the country, performs three key steps during her stroller checks, as she showed me recently at a tune up event at baby gear store Baby World in Oakland, Calif.
-She takes off the stroller wheels and wipes the wheel shafts down using a rag a cleaner (she uses a cleaning brand called BuggyLove, but says any cleaner will do).
-Then, she lubricates the wheel shafts with a BuggyLove WheelLove lubricator (Vaseline also works, she says). Sand, dirt and crud in and around the wheels are often to blame for squeaky and sticky wheels, Ms. Osborne says, and a good cleaning and lube job can get the wheel function back to normal.
-Finally, she also cleans the brake pin (she uses WD-40 and says compressed air could also work great for this job).
In addition, according to Ms. Osborne, it’s also a good idea to wash the removable stroller fabric parts in a front-load washing machine, and spot clean any marks (like sun block). She recommends using BuggyLove cleaner, Dawn dishwashing liquid or even a mild laundry detergent for the spot cleaning. Finally, she says, make sure to dry your stroller after you’ve performed these various tune-up tasks, making sure not to store the stroller wet so rust and mold don’t build up.
Of course, depending on the stroller brand and model you have, exactly what maintenance can, and should, be done will vary. You can call your stroller brand’s customer service number and often, they’ll be able to walk you through any recommended tune-up steps over the phone, or they’ll be able to direct you to a tune-up event at a local retailer.
“Cleaning and maintaining your stroller is always a good idea no matter what brand stroller you have,” Ms. Osborne says.
What are your tips for maintaining and tuning up strollers?