What To Consider When Shopping For A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
If you have a disAbility and don’t yet have an accessible vehicle, it’s difficult to know where to start. You’ve worked with your doctor and therapist, maybe even a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS), but they don’t know your budget, your preferred car or van, or where the nearest mobility dealer is.
Your medical team will help, of course, but you have homework to do:
1. Set a budget
How much can you afford to pay for a new or used wheelchair van? Figure in the down payment, monthly payment, insurance, gas and an estimate for yearly maintenance. Look for rebates, grants, loans, etc. to help reduce the price tag.
2. Research, research, research
Your doctor or therapist may recommend necessary adaptive equipment, but there may be other equipment you’d like. Check out the many options available now.
3. Testing, testing
If you can, test drive different vehicles at the mobility dealership to get the feel of spaciousness, ease or difficulty of loading, driving and parking, etc.
As you narrow the choices down, you might want to rent your top choice for a weekend or week-long trip. Time on the road will determine if the make and model are right for you.
4. Ask yourself these questions
- Does it fit lengthwise and width-wide in my driveway or garage?
- Is there space enough for the ramp or lift to deploy?
- Can I easily reach and work all the controls?
- If you plan to use a transfer seat- Is the seat comfortable? (Like your favorite chair at home—can you sit in it for hours and still be comfortable?)
There are many factors to consider that you may not have thought about until you test drive several candidates.
5. Find a mobility dealer
You will need to find an expert on wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. There are some things to consider when searching for the perfect mobility dealer to assist you.
- Where are they located?
- How experienced are they?
- Do they offer a full-service shop?
- How many vehicle options do they have available?