Wheelchair Accessible Cars: Buying the right one for you

One of the most important things to think about when buying wheelchair accessible cars (WAVs), above all else, is making sure that you can get in and out of your vehicle comfortably, and with ease. There are various access options available when selecting a WAV, but, to make sure that you are happy with your choice, it’s important to give your car a full test drive before you buy. Drive it around your local area if you can, and try parking and exiting the vehicle.

Meanwhile, here are some of the things to consider when buying a used WAV to make sure it is right for you.

Shall I Choose a Ramp or a Lift?

A ramp is a cheaper option than a lift, but each has its pros and cons. Lifts take up less space than  ramps, and are always powered, whereas ramps can be operated manually or powered. Some people prefer ramps over lifts as they don’t feel secure on a lift. However, ramps can be tricky to use, as you will need to get into your vehicle by negotiating up the slope and, in most cases, exit the vehicle backwards down the ramp (unless the vehicle is big enough to turn round in).

It is possible to travel up and down the ramp in a manually operated wheelchair, but you may have to count on someone else to assist you. Another downside of ramps is that manual versions can be hard to manoeuvre because of their weight– and, if you choose a folding ramp, it must be safely secured in place before use.

Do I Want a Pull Up/Out or Slide Door?

The types of doors on the different makes and models of wheelchair accessible cars vary and you will find some doors easier to use than others. Again, this is down to personal choice and you should try out the various options before buying. Test out how easily the doors open and close (some slide doors are hard to open), whether you can enter and exit the vehicle comfortably, and whether the entrance is wide enough for your wheelchair (some doors are narrower than others).

Whichever vehicle entry system you use, make sure it also allows for enough headroom to get in and out easily.

Which is Better – a Back or Side Entry Car?

Whether back or side entry wheelchair accessible cars are right for you depends not only on ease of use, but practical issues too. Think about where you are going to park your vehicle. If you are most likely to use your car in town and park down a side or main street parallel to the kerb, you may find a side entry car easier to access. However, this can be difficult to exit out of in a car park when there is not enough space between cars. Instead, a rear entry car may be more suitable, as this will allow you to exit the vehicle comfortably. However, with rear entry cars, you will have to make sure you leave sufficient room when you park, so you have ample space to enter and exit the vehicle. Again, test drive your favoured vehicle – ideally taking it to the places where you frequently park –  to see which type of entry you feel is the most practical.

Manual Secure Belts or Automatic Docking Systems?

At Ransome Mobility Solutions, we make sure that we make the safety and security of your wheelchair accessible car a priority and all WAVs are available with either manual or automatic wheelchair tie downs as standard. Just as with a seat belt, the tie downs ensure you are strapped comfortably in place during your journey. Manual clip in versions are easy to use and can be fixed to your wheelchair, but there are also automatic docking systems that lock to a fixed plate to secure your wheelchair in place.

About Ransome Mobility Solutions

Ransome Mobility Solutions offer a full range of high quality wheelchair accessible cars, to suit drivers or passengers with disabilities. In addition to this, we also offer a full range of insurance packages and finance packages, and provide a complete after sales service – so you know you are in good hands!

Used Wavs – Click here to find out more about our nearly new and used wheelchair access vehicles for sale >