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Buying used wheelchair vans rather than purchasing new equipment can save you a tremendous amount of money. The trick is to keep an eye out for the model of wheelchair van that would suit your needs. One place you can look for used wheelchair vans is with your local MS Society chapter. You'll find new listings of everything from a used mobility scooter to different types of used wheelchair adaptive vehicles on their newsletters and Web pages. The MS Society also recommends you try other possibilities to find your used wheelchair van, such as the classified sections for disability magazines.
You'll find a range of van lifts out on the market to choose from: platform van lifts, under vehicle van lifts, rotary van lifts, and hoist type van lifts. Each type of van lift has advantages and disadvantages. Read on to find out more.
Platform Van Lift – The platform van lift rests in an upright position on the inside or outside of the door. When in use, it unfolds from its frame and lowers your wheelchair to the ground. The main disadvantage of this type of van lift is that it blocks the doorway when it isn't in use. However, you can find some models which will split or fold, allowing other passengers access through the van door.
Under Vehicle Van Lift – The under vehicle van lift attaches underneath the van. When in use, it emerges out from the van at the vehicle floor level. You can lower the platform to the ground via controls once you're secure. This type of van lift works well because it's out of sight, protected, and doesn't block doorway access.
Rotary Van Lift – This type of van lift rests on the van floor when not in use. When activated, the rotary van lift swings out from a supportive pole out of the van and onto the ground. Though easy to use, the rotary van lift does take up quite a bit of space in the van.
A Hoist Van lift – Rather than using a platform, a hoist van lift has an arm which swings out from the side door and lowers the wheelchair to the ground. You or someone else will have to attach the wheelchair frame to the arm of the hoist.
Purchasing used adaptive vehicles means cost savings to your pocketbook. However, you also need to be extra diligent to cover your bases with any adaptive vehicle you're considering. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind.
When shopping for your wheelchair lift for your vehicle, there are specific features you should examine to determine suitability. Take a look at our wheelchair lift checklist for some pointers.
Deciding between wheelchair van lifts is an involved process. When making your decision on which wheelchair van lifts to choose, you should pay attention to several things.
Before you decide to start shopping for your wheelchair accessible vehicle, go see a driving specialist and get a driving assessment. A driving specialist is a physical therapist or occupational therapist who has experience and wheelchair accessible vehicle knowledge. You can try contacting the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) to find someone to assist you (800-290-2344).
To get an assessment of what wheelchair accessible vehicle adaptations will best suit your needs, it's also important to get a driving assessment. You'll get tested for physical and cognitive skills, perform an on the road driving assessment, and get a written prescription tailored just for you. You can find out more about what is involved through the ADED Website at www.infinitec.org/live/driving/driveassess.htm.
Shopping for an adaptive vehicle can involve exhaustive research. Learning about which car, van, or truck to choose for your adaptive vehicle and what accessories and options to choose means you'll be sifting through a great deal of information. In order to make your decision making process on an adaptive vehicle easier, we've listed some resources for you to do your vehicle research.
Mini Vans as wheelchair vans are a popular adaptive vehicle choice because they can accommodate the wheelchair user, often without any need for vehicle alterations. They are also compact enough for easy transportation. Mini van wheelchair vans need at least 58 inches clear within its interior to accommodate the wheelchair user without having to undergo modifications. If you do decide to go with a mini van that needs converting, you can do so through a dealer specializing in mini van conversions. When choosing between mini van models, also consider the size of your immediate family or whoever will be using the adaptive vehicle, the type of wheelchair you'll be using, and whether you'll use the vehicle to drive or as a passenger.
There is a lot to consider when purchasing wheelchair accessible vehicles. Not only do you have to arm yourself with information about buying a new vehicle, you also have to be prepared to learn about the adaptive equipment that goes along with it. We've put together some hints to help you sort out the information on wheelchair accessible vehicles.