Are you looking for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV)? Choosing such a car or van can be time-consuming and challenging, as it’s supposed to fit your disability in the long term.
The ideal model would be accessible, comfortable, and highly reliable. There are multiple factors for buyers to take into consideration during the buying process, such as the size, style, seating configuration, adaptations, and budget. Each factor is worthy of your attention and requires careful consideration.The following tips will help you choose the best WAV for your needs.
Choose the right size
The initial aspect to factor when shopping for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle in the UK is the size. Not all mobility devices are of the same size, meaning yours is supposed to fit inside the vehicle while ensuring there is enough room for maneuvering. The last thing you need in investing your budget is a vehicle whose size constrains your movement.Therefore, buyers are recommended to take certain measurements before making a purchase. These measurements include the width of the ramp, the height of the ramp, and the space inside the car/van. Probably, you’ll need to consider purchasing a minivan or a van to accommodate your wheelchair without worrying about space. The best way to make sure you are purchasing the right fit is by trying out the vehicle personally. Click here for some useful tips on measuring a wheelchair.
Consider the style
The following thing to consider when searching for a WAV in the UK is the style. This decision depends on whether you’ll be the driver or a backseat passenger. Individuals planning to do the driving should purchase a model with a side entry system, whereas those leaving the driving to someone else should look at models with a rear entry system.Both entry systems impose different conditions regarding parking. For instance, side-entry ramps require additional parking room on the side, which makes parking impossible if parked next to other vehicles. Curb-side use, however, is much easier. In contrast, rear-entry ramps pose no challenges when using parking lots and driveways. Anyhow, curbside use is unquestionably more challenging.
Consider the seating configuration
Another factor to have in mind is the number of seats inside the WAV. You need to consider whether you will be traveling by yourself or with a company. Most wheelchair users need a caretaker to accompany them on car journeys, meaning this person must have access to the wheelchair passenger. Keep in mind that most car models come with three seats in the back, but two of them usually must be folded if you are a backseat passenger, meaning there is one seat left.
In contrast, minivans have between seven and eight seats, allowing space for more passengers. If you wish to accommodate more people besides your caregiver, make sure to choose a minivan or a van. There is a wide range of WAVs, such as the wheelchair accessible vehicles from Southern Mobility Vehicles, which are well-designed and carefully sourced. The number of seats is also affected by the type of ramp, whether it’s an in-floor or fold-out ramp.For example, an in-floor ramp provides a seating configuration of a maximum of six seats. Conversely, a fold-out ramp usually provides one extra seat.
Consider the need for adaptations
The next aspect to bear in mind is the need for adaptations. Individuals who plan to drive from their wheelchairs usually need hand controls to facilitate the task. Additionally, one has to decide on the method used for driving the mobility device inside the car/van.Buyers need to make a decision between a lift and a ramp, given each of them has a different function and advantages. Ramps are mainly operated manually or with a winch. In contrast, lifts are known for their electronic operation. Lifts are generally preferred for larger vehicles, such as vans.
Don’t forget your budget
The budget is a crucial aspect when making a large purchase, like shopping for a WAV in the UK. There are several options to factor in during your search, such as choosing between a new car and a used car. If you aren’t facing any budget constraints, the best alternative would be buying a brand new WAV with multiple advanced features. You’ll know that every feature will work ideally and avoid unexpected problems.If looking to save money, the most reasonable option would be buying a used car whose mileage is low and whose conversion systems are new. There is an extensive assortment of used WAVs with new modifications, which save a great deal of money while providing quality.Moreover, if interested in making an even cheaper purchase, you should search for used cars with used conversions. Since WAVs are constantly subjected to upgrades and the addition of new features, it’s no wonder many WAV owners decide to upgrade to new models and sell the old ones. The price of these wheelchair-accessible vehicles depends on the mileage, age of the car, and age of the modification.
Motability vs. private purchases
Last but not least, buyers should choose the best method for purchasing a WAV, either through the Motability scheme or a private purchase. The Motability scheme allows individuals to lease a WAV by exchanging their disability benefits. This scheme provides security, insurance, servicing, and repairs. After covering the advance payments, you’ll only have to cover the fuel costs.
Additionally, the lease can be renewed every five years, and you can be provided with a new WAV. As long as you are willing to exchange your disability benefit for a new car, you won’t have to spend a large budget portion. Conversely, private purchases are costlier for most individuals. Nevertheless, this option is more suitable for people looking to make an urgent purchase or receive no disability benefits.
A final note People with disabilities need a WAV to get around. Look for a high-quality, accessible model to meet your needs and preferences. The selection is extensive!