Mobility vans and adaptive equipment can be overwhelming to first-time buyers.
Even those who have been using handicap equipment and need to transition to something new due to a changing condition find all of the information staggering. Factors such as budget, needs and lifestyle all need to be considered when thinking about your mobility van purchase.
Here we have comprised a list of key considerations in order to help you with your search. Finding a mobility van that encompasses all your needs isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Today’s technology has allowed for great advancements in mobility equipment and providing those with disabilities freedom like never before.
Important Mobility Van Questions & Considerations
Mobility vans can be adapted in many different ways. Picking a van based on how the wheelchair user plans to use the vehicle on a day-to-day basis is a good place to start.
Here are seven questions you should answer before you start working with a mobility van dealer:
- Will the wheelchair user a caregiver be the primary driver?
- Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
- Who needs to be transported in the van and where will it be parked/garaged?
- What are the wheelchair user’s dimensions?
- Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?
- What type of budget do you have?
- Are there additional features you will be wanting in the van?
Will the wheelchair user or a caregiver be the primary driver?
All mobility vans have the ability to transport wheelchair passengers. Depending on who is planning on driving the van, some will be adapted to allow a wheelchair user the ability to drive and some will not. Working with a professional driver rehabilitation specialist will give the driver in a wheelchair the guidance and skills to easily drive the vehicle. A driving rehabilitation specialist may advise you to install driving aids. Hand controls, for instance, allow drivers with limited leg function to be able to drive their vehicle from the steering column.
Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
Transfer seats will turn 180 degrees to allow the wheelchair users the ability to transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle seat. These can be installed in either the front driver or passenger seats.
Who needs to be transported in the van and where will it be parked/garaged?
The number of people you plan on transporting in your van will greatly determine the type of van you purchase. If it’s only a few, including the wheelchair user, a minivan may best suit you. If you have a family or additional passengers, a full-sized conversion van may be a better option.
Also, where you plan on parking or garaging your van is something to consider. If you have a narrow garage, you may not be able to deploy a side-entry ramp.
What are the wheelchair user’s dimensions?
The weight and height of the wheelchair user and their adaptive equipment will need to be calculated. The ability to enter, exit and maneuver in and out of the van will determine the type of van you should purchase. Height and weight of the wheelchair user and their equipment also factors into where they should be positioned in the vehicle.
Here are the key dimensions to take note of prior to meeting with a wheelchair van dealer:
- Width of the wheelchair is at its widest point
- Width of the wheels on the wheelchair
- Height (measured from the floor to the top of the person’s head while seated in the wheelchair)
- Combined weight of the passenger and the wheelchair
- Length of the passenger while seated in the wheelchair (including leg extensions and/or any equipment mounted on the back of the chair)
Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?
If the wheelchair is positioned at an extended height, you will need to purchase a van with a lowered floor. Depending on just how extended the height of the chair or passenger is, a full-sized, high top conversion van may be the best option.
If you have a wider wheelchair than usual, a full-sized conversion van may be a better option. Another solution would be to allocate the whole rear of a mobility minivan for the passenger in the wheelchair.
What type of budget do you have?
Mobility vans can be pricey. Used wheelchair accessible minivans will be significantly less expensive than full-priced ones. Think about the maximum amount you would like to spend. What type of monthly payment would you be able to afford?
Have you looked into alternative funding sources? Read: Purchasing a Handicap Accessible Van with Assistance, Grants and Subsidies
Are there additional features you will be wanting for your van?
Wheelchair vans, both full-sized and minivans can come as basic or “fully loaded” as you desire. Available options include a sunroof, rear back-up cameras, navigational systems, TV, removable seats, satellite radio and DVD players.
Find Your Perfect Mobility Van
Purchasing a wheelchair accessible van doesn’t have to be stressful! Working with the right mobility van dealer can make the process a breeze. When it comes to finding a vehicle that fits your or your loved one’s needs, wants and budget, take comfort in knowing that it is possible with help from professionals.
For 30 years, Classic Vans has been specializing in mobility and wheelchair accessible vans. We are the nation’s number one dealer in new and used conversion vans. Whether you’re considering purchasing a new, custom-built mini wheelchair accessible vehicle or a quality used full-size mobility van, let our experts help you locate the perfect van.
Call (866) 370-8222 or browse our site. Ask about low-cost nationwide van delivery!