If you're wheelchair bound, you know how frustrating it is having to rent a wheelchair accessible vehicles every time you need to travel a great distance. But there are many makes and models of wheelchair friendly cars out there, and finding what's best for you can be daunting.
Here's your four most important considerations when purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
1. Ramp Versus Lift
Your most important choice is deciding between cars with metal ramps and hydraulic lifts. While lifts are quick to activate and convenient to use, they're much more expensive than ramps and will require more sacrifices in internal space to make room for the required machinery.
On the other hand, the main problem with ramps is that you'll need someone's constant assistance in order to put it in place. With ramps, it's also harder to configure the car in such a way where you'll have a view out a window.
2. Size And Type Of Car
While it's possible to find normal sized cars that are wheelchair accessible, they're rarely the best choice. The marginal amount of money you'll save comes at a great cost in the form of reduced passenger capacity.
Therefore, your main choice here will often be deciding between wheelchair accessible vans, SUVs, or minivans. While it doesn't have the most passenger capacity, minivans are generally the best choice for most people because of their low cost and relatively high fuel efficiency.
3. Vertical Clearing Space
You'll require a certain amount of clearing space to fit in your vehicle depending on how tall you and your wheelchair are. It's important to keep in mind that clearing space usually comes with a lowered floor and reduced space for other car components.
Ask the seller what's been sacrificed in order to make room for the lowered floor. Usually less room means a smaller fuel tank, though sometimes other components are streamlined and moved around.
4. Factory-Made Versus Converted
Factory-made wheelchair accessible vehicles are just starting to come on the market. This means that your cheapest options will still be converted cars with lots of miles on them.
But if you have a lot of money to spare, factory-made vans are a great option over newer converted vehicles. Since factory made vehicles are specially designed around wheelchair accessibility, they'll be both cheaper to buy and cheaper in the long run.
There's no reason to panic when it comes to purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. With the right expertise and enough due diligence, you'll definitely find the make and model that best suits your needs. If you want more help, try contacting a company like Alaska Mobility with your questions.