If you or a loved one use a wheelchair, having a wheelchair van is essential for making transportation easier. Purchasing a new van is always a big decision, but wheelchair vans typically cost more than a regular van due to specialized equipment, so it is very important to be prepared before you make an investment. Choosing the right wheelchair van will ensure that you have reliable transportation that can easily accommodate a wheelchair for years to come. If you are planning on purchasing a new wheelchair van, use the following tips:
Work with a Reputable Dealer
You don't purchase wheelchair vans at a regular auto dealership-- you need to visit a dealer who specializes in wheelchair vans and other vehicles that provide assistive technology for people who have limited mobility. There are many companies that sell wheelchair vans online, but it is highly recommended that you work with a dealer in person when investing in a wheelchair van. Look for a dealership that has been open for years and has knowledgeable mobility consultants who can help you find the best wheelchair van for your needs.
Decide on Rear-Entry or Side-Entry
Wheelchair vans are available with either rear-entry or side-entry options. Side-entry tends to be more popular than rear-entry vans. A side-entry wheelchair van allows access to the middle area of the van, as well as the driver and passenger seat; if a person who uses a wheelchair is planning to drive, a side-entry van will be needed. With a rear-entry van, the ramp or lift gives the wheelchair user access to the back of the van. Weigh the pros and cons to decide which option is the best choice for your unique situation.
Select a Van that Is a Good Fit
There are several things that must be considered when searching for the right wheelchair van, such as the size of the wheelchair, the size of the person who uses the wheelchair, and the number of people who will regularly be riding in the van. Always see a wheelchair van in person and test it out before making a purchase. It is very important for the wheelchair user to easily get in and out of the van without any major issues.
Consider the Warranty
Since a wheelchair van is a big investment, a good warranty is needed to protect you from expensive repairs. Always consider the warranty offered on a new wheelchair van, and make sure that you completely understand the terms and conditions stated in the warranty paperwork. A good warranty should protect both the mechanical aspects of the van itself and the equipment that makes the van wheelchair accessible.