July 16, 2024



How to Select a Wheelchair Vehicle

Once you have made the decision on what spray on bedliner is right for you, the next step is to decide how are you going to get you and your new wheelchair from point A to point B. For many wheelchair users being able to stay mobile is not just about getting around the house, but getting to and from work, running errands, visiting friends and relatives, etc and having your wheelchair with them the whole time. Standard vehicles are not designed to safely transport a wheelchair bound individual and their chair. As such it is usually necessary to buy or have made a mobility modified vehicle.

Like power wheelchairs, mobility modified vehicles have many options. It is important that you get the right vehicle for your needs. Here are some common questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a vehicle:

The first thing to consider when looking at used converted vehicles is that the average lifespan for the vehicle is 10 years, with the mobility adaption equipment sometimes even having fewer years before a breakdown. A used vehicle more than a few years old is a bad investment unless you get an amazing deal on it as it will breakdown soon. Also, if you are planning to convert a used vehicle the vehicle cannot be more than a few years old as most conversion companies no longer carry the necessary parts to convert older vehicles.

Work with a mobility conversion shop to evaluate your options. Break out all of the specific mobility conversion items you need for your vehicle and understand the pricing. Compare getting a new vehicle with those options vs. a used vehicle with existing options along with expected lifespan and make your decision.

The big difference between mobility converted Full Size and Mini Vans is that Full Size Vans require a wheelchair lift, while a Mini Van uses a wheelchair ramp. Most wheelchair users feel more secure on a wheelchair ramp and there is always the very small chance that a wheelchair lift will fail leaving you stuck on your lift.

Everyone’s needs are different in this area and are dependent on vehicle size, wheelchair size, user size and personal preference. Almost everyone who will drive the vehicle from their wheelchair will need to lower the floor of their vehicle. When seated in a wheelchair you are almost higher than a standard vehicle chair, so in order to see out of the vehicle properly the floor will need to be lowered. 6 to 10 inch drops are common for converted vehicles. Raising the roof has the advantage of making the vehicle easier to enter for the user and passengers.

Remote Start – Remote start is a very important function for a disable person using a mobility converted vehicle from both a safety and a comfort standpoint. Vehicle access equipment such as lifts and ramps are automated and are powered by the vehicle. If the vehicle is turned off these features are powered by the vehicle battery. If your battery is weak or it is a cold day out, utilizing the access equipment off of the battery may completely drain the battery. This may cause the vehicle not to start or even worse trap the user inside the vehicle as the access equipment would no longer be working due to the battery being drained. The comfort advantage to a remote start feature is that the vehicle heater would be running before you entered the vehicle. If you live in a cold climate and have health issues, this could be the difference between a pleasant driving experience and a potentially unhealthy experience.

Remote Control Activation – Remote control activation allows the vehicle user to activate access equipment or other features of the vehicle from a distance. The access device to the vehicle generally takes 30 to 60 seconds to fully extend and be ready for vehicle access. For comfort and safety reasons a remote activation is a great addition. If you live in a cold or unsafe environment being able to instantly enter your vehicle and not loiter outside can be very helpful.